“We told you plainly not to teach in the name of Jesus. But look what you have done! You have been teaching all over Jerusalem, and you are trying to blame us for his death.”
Peter and the apostles replied: We don’t obey people. We obey God. You killed Jesus by nailing him to a cross. But the God our ancestors worshiped raised him to life and made him our Leader and Savior. Then God gave him a place at his right side, so that the people of Israel would turn back to him and be forgiven.
We are here to tell you about all this, and so is the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to everyone who obeys God.
When the council members heard this, they became so angry that they wanted to kill the apostles.
Catholics in the United States are currently reliving this dilemma of the apostles. The United States government has ruled that by the end of 2012 every organization that provides medical insurance must include birth control and abortion coverage. The Catholic church has stood steadfastly against both of those. Churches are exempt from the ruling, but other Catholic organizations like universities and even Catholic hospitals would be required to violate their own consciences.
In a country where citizens have the right to protest and even vote to change the government, this has set up a struggle that is sure to escalate. This is not a small matter and one that may be a watershed of religious freedom in America!
It does take courage to disobey other men who are telling you to go against God. But there is another voice that calls us to disobey God and to obey its clear and constant call on our lives. That other voice is the voice of our own flesh! It continually tells us to ignore the voice of God and to fulfill the desires of our own bodies.
To ignore our own desires and obey God instead of fulfilling the lusts of the flesh is a daily battle. Sometimes men will demand that we disobey God and we must stand against them. But all the time our bodies demand that we disobey God and walk the way of our own desires!
It is a good thing to stand against those who would demand that we disobey God, but it is also essential that we stand against the unrighteous demands of our own flesh.