As I’ve alluded to elsewhere on this blog, I have never spent too much energy being preoccupied or concerned about what factors caused my experiences of SSA. As a teenager, I cannot recall praying to God even once to make me “straight”. However, I quickly realized that my ambivalent attitude was not a common reaction when compared to other same-gender attracted youths who were distressed about their developing sexual attractions and disposition.
I didn’t care what the other kids thought (or would think) about me. I was introverted, self-protective, self-isolating and detached from them. Apart from the academic tasks of the school day, they were not allowed into my world. All these new sexual thoughts, feelings and longings were just another part of my life that was nobody’s business except mine.
During and after the time I became a Christian, I began to see my life in the context of God’s redemptive and universal plan. I began to have an awareness that my everyday circumstances (with its challenges, questions and temptations) needed to be seen from (and gain meaning from) God’s rule over my life and all that He has created. What the Lord has done in the past, what He is doing now, what He will do in the future and His glorious victory of eternity – it all matters.
The central question I had to keep asking myself? Will I voluntarily and intentionally place my life in (and stay in) the context of God’s plan and process (especially when I don’t know or don’t understand where He would lead me)?
- Remember, sanctification refers to what it means to be made holy. It is the process of being “set apart” for God’s purposes. And like so much of the Lord’s activity in our lives, it’s an ongoing process.
- The entirety of our Christian lives (being made more like Christ) is referenced to eternity.
- In other words, our lives now is a part of what we will continue to experience (and enjoy) in its full realization in Heaven.
Furthermore, to be a fulfilled and complete Christian – as a single man with a homosexual orientation who affirms a traditional (or more precisely, a prophetic) Christian sexual ethic – can be a powerful witness to the complete sufficiency of Christ.
That is to say, I can celebrate, honor, glorify and please God as a single man who happens to be sexually and emotionally attracted to other men. I don’t (shouldn’t) have to act like or feel like a second-class misfit or less valuable than anyone else. This also mean I can’t use fear, self-pity, self-righteousness, an inferiority complex or a same-gender attraction as an excuse to hold myself back in a self-imposed prison.
I must grab the opportunities I am given and live my life with the grace, strength and love the Lord gifts to me. As Christians we are called to be faithful stewards. An active (proactive) faith, the support of fellow Christians, spiritual disciplines (service, prayer, worship, study of the Scripture, fasting, etc.) and the work/empowerment of the Holy Spirit are all essential to the journey.
Fidelity is the kind of faithfulness one has towards friends, God, a calling, one’s marriage, etc.
Like sanctification, it isn’t just a one-time event. It isn’t inactive or passive. Fidelity is an ongoing process and investment. What or whom we have fidelity towards requires nourishment, creativity and proactivity on our part.
For individuals struggling with same-gender attractions, achieving fidelity can be difficult. The purpose of the following exercise is to help you consider the practical implications of fidelity in your relationships and/or calling. In addition to answering the questions below, remember to record observations and insights into your journal. Share your thoughts with a trusted individual.
More Application Questions:
- How does thinking about your struggles in the context of your personal sanctification change how you view your experiences of SSA? Although you may not ever know for certain on this side of Heaven, what do you suppose God may be doing with you in light of these struggles?
- Do you delight in your relationship with God? What about your current struggles has made it difficult to delight in God? What are some of the things that you would want to have in place for you to delight more in your relationship with God?
- What can you teach your local church (and the broader Christian community) about what it means to live courageously and faithfully before God?
“Managing your same-sex attractions”?
When I use this phrase what I have in mind is this: although we may experience or contend with homosexual attractions, we can identify ourselves in ways that are in keeping with traditional Christian beliefs and values. We can take steps to structure and live our lives in the context of vocation, stewardship and Christlikeness. I believe God wants us to know that it is okay to struggle. He will help and advocate for us. He will still love us and accept us.
© Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com, 2015.
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