Who is your highest authority?

Acts 5:29 (New Living Translation) tells us that when Peter and the apostles were summoned to the High Priest to answer why they had continued to teach in the name of Jesus, despite being banned, they replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.

As I read today of the discussions within the Scottish parliament, and recognising that similar conversations are taking place in Wales and England around conversion therapy bans, I was reminded of this passage.

I wonder whether the governments around the world who have, or who are considering, banning the preaching of certain aspects of God’s word have ever read this passage.  I wonder whether if they did read it, they would recognise that there are many Christians today who are prepared to continue to speak God’s truth, despite their desperate attempts to silence us.

What they fail to recognise is that God is real, powerful and to his followers, God is to be honoured and revered.  In honouring Christ, I will continue to share my testimony of how my life was turned around as I met with Jesus.  My conversion was not as a result of man’s attempts to change me, it was not as a result of brain washing, it was not as a result of being shamed by Christians.  My conversion was as a result of my discovering the reality of the love of Jesus, and what that actually meant for my life. This was found through a series of personal encounters with God, the love and space given to me by my local church, and the work of the Holy Spirit as I allowed him permission to speak into my life.

Whilst some have thrown slurs at my testimony, and claimed that I am a victim of conversion therapy, they fail to point out who the perpetrator of this supposed act is.  And that’s simply because there was no perpetrator, there rarely is (although I am not denying the existence of some abhorrent practices that claim to change one’s orientation).  In the majority of cases, in fact every one of the 80 or more Christians I personally know who have chosen Christ over their same sex attraction, there has been no coercive or manipulative behaviour towards them.  Each of them came to God through their own choice and continue to follow him, because of the love they have for him.  This love is the same love Jesus talks about in John 14:15 – if you love me you will keep my commands.

In fact, what many fail to see is that no Christian would promote “conversion therapy” because it would be doomed to fail.  Without the love of Jesus and the love for Jesus, there is no permanent change.  We become a new creation when we freely accept Jesus into our lives, we are given the Holy Spirit and it’s the Holy Spirit who helps us as we develop the fruit of the Spirit. We are changed from the inside out by the power of almighty God.

I encourage you to pray that our rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression are upheld as governments consider legislation. But don’t be discouraged if our rights are not upheld, we will continue to serve God, the highest authority, and speak truth as the apostles did all those years age.  The world is in a mess over sexual and gender identity, the world is crying out for a Saviour and it’s our job to ensure we point them to him in whatever way we can, particularly through the sharing of our testimony which cannot be denied.

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