This is the fourth and final part of my transcript from my lesson on the Bible and Homosexuality – you can find the audio and other parts here.
Many of you may have never had to wrestle with this at all, some of you may have felt confusing feelings that you feel like you can’t really explain, and some of you may feel a strong attraction to the same sex. So, what should a Christian do if they experience same-sex attraction?
- Remember who you are. You are not your sexuality. You are not your mistakes. You are not your sin. The world says, “You are what you do” – Christianity says, “You are a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). In Christ, your guilt and shame was nailed to the cross, so that Jesus’ perfect reputation before the Father could be laid on you. Your sexual sin, homo or heterosexual, is not the truest thing about you – by faith you are now a child of God, nothing more, nothing less. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, right after he explains the damning effects of unrepentant homosexuality, among other sins, he says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).
- Talk to a Mature Christian. We are not made to go through this life alone, and we certainly were not made to fight our struggles alone. Galatians commands us to, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). Confession of sin and accountability is one of the main staples of our Christian life – the longer you keep a sinful struggle hidden, the more power it has over you. That being said, notice I say you should talk to a “mature” believer. Given the way the way that the church over the years has handled this sin, either in ignorant approval or hateful condemnation, it might do more damage if you share this struggle with someone who does not have the Christ-like character and wisdom to respond with grace and truth.
- Fight the Sin. Wrestling with homosexual sin should be handled very much the same way any Christian would wrestle with any other sin. If you are experiencing same-sex attraction or lustful homosexual desires, realize that you do not have to act upon them. Paul exhorts us to, “make no provision for the flesh” (Rom. 13:14) and to “take every though captive and bring to obedience under Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). The Christian life is a life of war against our sin. Now, this is important, same-sex attraction is not innately sinful – homosexual behavior is. We are not immediately guilty when we encounter temptation; we are guilty when we act on our temptation. Christ Himself was sinless, yet experienced all types of temptation (Heb. 4:15). Martin Luther, in regards to this subject, used to say that we are not responsible for birds flying over our head, but we are responsible if we let them make a nest in our hair. Being tempted and fighting lustful desires is not the same as embracing lustful desires, meditating upon them, and eventually acting them out. Imagine you have a young man who is in a serious relationship with a young girl, and they are struggling to remain sexually pure. What would you say to him? Why should he stop sleeping with his girlfriend? Because God has not designed sex to be practiced this way, he is violating the design – no matter how much he desires it, his desires are sinful, and are the product of him resisting God at a deeper level. The question comes down to, what does he love more? What does he treasure more? Christ, or this sin? This is the same question for those who are struggling with homosexuality, greed, gossip, anger, and laziness – what is more valuable to us? It is the question that all Christians press into as they fight their sin, and root out more and more weeds of sinfulness that are choking our hearts. And as with all sin, this should be done within the context of being connected with the Church, living life with fellow Christians and bearing one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2).
- Pray. Pray that God will change your heart and give you new desires. In my study for tonight I read two books: one by a man who is a pastor in England who struggled with same-sex attraction his whole life, but rather than indulging his sin, he has chosen to remain celibate for his whole life; another book I read was about a woman who was a radical feminist, atheist, liberal college professor who came to meet Christ, and in time, received new desires and is now married (to a pastor!) and has four children. We know that God can do all things, but we also know that God is not obligated to do anything. We trust His good, sovereign, and often mysterious plan. If you experience SSA, you should believe that God can give you new desires, but also accept that that may never happen and God may call you to live a life of singleness. And that may sound like the worst thing in the world to you, like you are being consigned to live some kind of sub-human life. But remember dear friends, the only perfect man who ever lived, our Lord and Savior, lived His entire life a single man – and would you call His life sub-human? The Apostle Paul lived his entire life a single man, and told us that he wished there were more Christians who would follow in his footsteps (1 Cor. 7:7). The New Testament actually promises unique blessings to those who live a life of singleness in service to the Lord (1 Cor. 7:25-40). We know that God can change our hearts, but we trust His good, wise and sovereign plan – regardless of whether or not that leads us to marriage or singleness. Lastly, whatever your future may hold, pray for God to give you the strength you need to face your temptations and remain obedient to Christ. You will not be able to endure temptation on your own, and you will be forced to lean into Christ and look to Him more than your sin. Pray for a fresh vision of Christ to come to you through His Word, and to shine forth brighter and more dazzling than our sexual temptations. Jesus will satisfy you far more than any sexual indulgence ever will; He promises that when we come to Him we find, “fullness of joy…and pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).