So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. – Romans 7:21 – 25 (English Standard Version)
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:1, 2 (New American Standard Bible)
When we become Christians, we bring with us all of our personality, experiences, history, values, attitudes, past joys and heartaches, habits, relationships, ways of thinking, ways of relating to people and our unique needs (that is, emotional, psychological, social needs). Homosexual attractions, feelings and behaviors are intertwined in your life experience (it is a part of your identity up to this point of your life). And yet holistically and conceptually, homosexuality is not an isolated problem of mere sexual preference, orientation or disposition. It is not one problem or sin. It is symptomatic of many complex issues.
With the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, a Christian can cooperate with God to transform any part of his or her life that does not glorify Him. Sin’s power over us is broken at the moment we are baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sin, but learning to depend on the Holy Spirit, to say “no” to ourselves and to say “yes” to godliness takes time and hard work.
Homosexual desires may continue even when homosexual activities have stopped. God never promised He would take away the temptation (2 Corinthians 12:7 – 10) but . . .
- He wants and expects us to let Him help with whatever problem is troubling us
- He expects us to recognize the temptation (in whatever form it takes) and look for the escape route He provides
- Sin comes when we fail to use the God-given escape route and allow the temptation to lead us into disobedience
- More Scripture references (1 Corinthians 10:13; Philippians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 5: 22; Hebrews 4:15)
Real, sustaining change is slow. Transformation and renewal are processes, not an event. The process of God healing your emotions, your spirit and your relationships takes time. And real change does not mean you won’t ever have same-sex attractions, desires or urges again.
This is important – let me say it again: God never promised He would take away the temptations or the attractions. Real change (growth) does not mean you won’t ever have same-sex attractions, desires or urges again.
- Attitudes and thought processes take time to change.
- Habits and behaviors take time to change.
- Willingness to learn, adapt and risk takes time.
- Learning to wait on the Lord takes time.
- Developing new relationships and a new self-concept takes time.
- How you interact and respond to people (and how they respond and interact with you) will take time to change.
- Learning to resist temptation and learning to submit to God takes time.
If you are reading this and you are struggling, I believe you can do this with God’s help. I believe God, I believe in God and I believe in you.
At the same time, I will be honest with you. There will be times when you will experience real, agonizing pain and feel as if you could just “die” or go “crazy”. The roller coaster emotions, physical and psychological stress and anxiety will at times be exhausting. Sexual temptation, lust and energy will seem overwhelming and torturous at times. People and situations that can fulfill your desires and weaknesses will seem to be even more alluring.
Of course these all apply to any person experiencing any sexual temptation or conflict. Life in a sin-cursed world is a painful struggle for all people. It is not a pleasant thing to have two opposing natures at war within us (Romans 7:7-25)! And that is what it is – a war.
Obtaining (and continuing in) salvation is the only true beginning of spiritual, emotional and psychological health and wholeness. It allows us to experience human intimacy as God intended us to; to find healing for our damaged lives. God’s will and grace gives us everything we need to know to make wise choices and change our lives. Will we live out our faith?
There is no substitute for studying and living out God’s Word. As I noted earlier, God gives His people the power and knowledge to grow stronger, to overcome and to escape temptation and evil.
And as I stated in an earlier post, we can’t gain strength by being passive. We must be proactive and motivated. In 2 Peter 1:3 – 11, the highlighted the words emphasize our need to be proactive . . .
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (New International Version)
Voluntary action and behavior begin with our thoughts, attitude and will. Waiting in our lives as Christians is a part of God’s discipline and is for the betterment of our spiritual development. So I urge you to grow in your faith, in knowledge, in patience, in perspective, in character, in your determination and in compassion. Be active while you wait for God . . .
- Prepare yourself mentally, emotionally and spiritually for the future.
- Be wise. A waiting Christian should be a praying Christian.
- Reach out and do positive things for others. Serve.
- Spend quality time alone listening to God (studying and meditating on His Word).
- Develop an attitude of thankfulness and joy for what God has given you thus far and look for the positives of whatever situation you are in.
- Spend quality time deepening relationships with Christians and friends who are supporting (or want to support) you in your Christian walk.
- Keep obeying God and keep doing what is right.
It isn’t that faith in Christ isn’t enough. Faith in Christ is the beginning.
Here’s a link to a helpful and related article from a Catholic perspective (click to open in a new window): Homosexuality and the Resurrection of Disability (Chris Damian)
What is the connection between your emotional needs and your relationship with God? What is the connection between your physical needs and your relationship with God?
Your comments are welcomed below.
© Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com, 2012.
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