In the life of Stephen we see someone who the more he was attacked, the more he was pressed on every side, the more he reflected Jesus.
How do we become, grow into, people like that?
From the text we see there's a direct link to the fact Stephen was full of the Spirit; in Stephen we see a life surrendered to the Holy Spirit.
We also see he was a man steeped in the Scriptures - not merely head knowledge but he lived it, practiced it, worked it out in his own life.
And that in his life we see a cultivated life - and if you know anything about gardening, you know planting and growing things doesn't just happen without effort or thinking it through.
NT Wright says it this way in his book "After You Believe."
"The different virtues of fruit, like virtues, characteristics need to be chosen with an act of the mind and will, and implemented with determination even when emotions may be suggesting something different. This is how you acquire a skill or a taste. This is how you learn a language. This is how you are recreated as a fully human being, reflecting God's image."
We often talk about our relationship with Jesus isn't a religion, it's a relationship. But just like gardens, relationships need to be cultivated and tended to for them to become all they can be.
Dallas Willard says, "Grace isn't opposed to effort, it's opposed to earning. Earning in an attitude. Effort is an action."
So what does a cultivate life look like? And where might it lead?
That we too become a bunch of Winsome Radicals.