#’s 1-7: Sequential Steps to Victory Over Homosexuality
“I’ve never known anyone coming from a homosexual lifestyle that has ever been able to remain straight for more than two years!
“Sure I believe in victory over sin. But that kind can never change!
“You’d better keep your children away from him…!
“I’ve been a preacher for forty years, and I’ve never met a perfect person yet!
If you are a sin sick soul seeking deliverance from bondage in this life, how do remarks such as these affect you? Do they give you hope, or leave you despondent and in despair?
Statements such as these coming from the mouths of some Christians reveal their focus to be upon the ability and works of man, the sinner, the helpless victim, rather than upon the omnipotent ability and works of the Savior. They unwittingly portray God as impotent, rather than omnipotent. He it is who has promised to save you, dear reader, from sin. He it is who has promised to cleanse you, to work within you, to perform that good work He has begun in you until the day of Jesus Christ, to keep you from falling and to present you faultless. He it is that paid the infinite price for your redemption. He has a vested interest in you and will finish what He has started, if you will only stop resisting Him. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He is not a quitter! (Matt. 1:21; 1 John 1:9, Phil. 2:13; 1:6; Jude 24; John 3:16; Rev. 1:8; 22:13)
Without this understanding, what hope does the Christian have to offer any sin sick soul who wants deliverance in this life from the bondage of sin? Without this understanding, the best the Christian can portray to the world is a form of godliness, denying the power thereof. (2 Tim. 3:5) The call for repentance can be heard from every pulpit in the land, but when a homosexual repents, too many Christians reveal their lack of faith in the God of love Who is mighty to save, even to the uttermost, and express doubt in the ability of the victim to be saved by the all-powerful Savior.
As I by God’s grace was leaving behind my homosexual life, a gay friend of mine who himself had been a pastor for several years made the following statement. “Jesse, I’m going to be keeping my eye on you. If you last for two years in the straight world, then I’ll believe that just maybe I would be able to do the same.
I pray to God that this dear friend of the past will somehow find access to this testimony, for it has now been fifteen years of victorious living for me.
Friend, You, too, can be made whole!
May the following suggestions help you find restoration and victory at last, even as they have been so sustaining for me.
1) Realize God’s love. For, “God is love. (1 John 4:8) I discovered that I was intensely and unconditionally loved, not condemned, even in my fallen state, by God and by His true children as well. I recommend, first of all, that you know and believe that whoever you are, what ever you are, God loves you unconditionally, just as you are. For God the Father so loved you, the homosexual, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him, (“whosoever” means even the homosexual…), should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) He loved the world, as it was, and poured out His love upon the world in the gift of His son, demonstrating and revealing that incomprehensible love, while the world was still in rebellion. His love has been manifested toward you, the sinner, the homosexual, in that while you are yet at odds with Him and His will for you; yes, even while you see Him as the enemy, blaming Him for everything wrong in your life; even while in this attitude of enmity towards Him, He poured out His love for you in the gift of His Son.
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. [That is you!] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. …when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son… (Romans 5:6,8,10)
God the Father paid the redemptive price for you, which just happens to be the infinite cost of His own Son, knowing who and what you are before you were ever born. As with Jeremiah, He can say of you, “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee. (Jeremiah 1:5)
“Not only that, knowing that you would become homosexual, I paid the redemptive price for you, allowed you to be born, loving you anyway and wanting to spend eternity with you. Therefore, I have preserved you in life with a stay of execution provided by My only begotten Son, even though you have been totally out of sync with my plan for you up to this point. But, if you will slow down and look at Me, comprehend how much I love you, and allow Me the opportunity, I can and will save you personally from your lifestyle of sin. I can heal you, recreate you, wash you and make you clean. It is your choice. May I have you for my very own…?
Dear reader, God is love, and He loves you with an immeasurable love, regardless of whether you love Him back or not. In the end, the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10,13) will be the final resting place for billions of people whom God loves unconditionally. But they have rejected that love, refusing to respond by allowing Him to prepare them with a fitness to dwell in His presence for all eternity. Sin is consumed in His presence. If it is enthroned in the heart, the soul will be consumed with the sin.
2) Face yourself. I determined to honestly face myself, and my condition, for God had invited me, “Come now, and let us reason together.” So, I encourage you to also step up to the mirror and face yourself. Do not be afraid to take an honest look at who and what you really are. Eternal Reality is the real issue to consider. If you are truly OK, then it doesn’t hurt to examine yourself closely. Truth can bear scrutiny. So scrutinize your condition and your position.
Jesus invites you, as well, with great love, compassion, and sincere personal interest in you, whosoever you may be to come and reason together with Him. He pleads with you, “Though your sins be as scarlet, don’t be afraid to come to me; they shall be as white as snow, I promise; though they be red like crimson, don’t refuse me; they shall be as wool, I promise. If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land, I promise: But only if you refuse and rebel in determined stubbornness and self-deception, shall you be devoured… (Isaiah 1:18,19 paraphrased)
3) Acknowledge your sin. Continuing in honesty, I came to acknowledge my lifestyle to be a “sin” issue, according to the law of God and many specific texts of Scripture. In order to be made whole, it is important that you acknowledge who and what you really are. Face up to it; you are a sinner. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) Don’t deny it, for you will only be deceiving yourself to your own eternal ruin.
Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God… Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you… You have perverted your way and forgotten the Lord your God. Return, ye backsliding children. Come back to me, and I will heal your backslidings. (Jeremiah 3:13,14,21,22 paraphrased)
If you will but confess your sin, God is faithful and just to not only forgive you of your sin, but to also cleanse you from all unrighteousness; to change you; to recreate you into His image, into His character. (1 John 1:9)
4) Salvation is for you, too. By making a list of all the abominations in the Bible, I came to realize that my sin was just as reachable by the plan of salvation as anyone else’s sin. This listing was not done to make me feel better about my personal abomination, but rather to make me feel better about the possibility of overcoming.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
You, too, need to understand that the wages of your sin is no greater nor less than the wages of the sins of others who may have a particular disdain for your particular besetting sin. For the wages of any sin is death….
“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination (Lev. 20:13; & 18:22)
Other abominations: idolatry – (Deut. 13:14); an impure sacrifice – (Deut. 17:1); occultic practices – (Deut. 18:10-12); wearing that which pertaineth to the opposite sex – (Deut. 22:5); certain re-marriages to former spouses – (Deut. 24:4); dishonesty – (Deut. 25:13-16); perverse behavior – (Pro. 3:32); A proud look, a lying tongue, murder, wicked imaginations, mischief, false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brethren – (Pro. 6:16-19); justifying evil and condemning the just -(Pro. 17:15); adultery – (Eze. 22:11).
It should especially be noticed in this line up of abominations that adultery of any kind is included. The heterosexual sinner need not look down his nose with condescension upon the homosexual sinner, for any sexual behavior outside the marriage institution as designed and created by God is sin; abomination. In short, we all need a Savior, from sin, from abomination of one kind or another.
5) Cause of Homosexuality, irrelevant. Another important realization was that it really didn’t matter how I had become homosexual – born gay, conditioned by environment, my own bad choices, etc. The simple fact was that I, too, needed a Savior from sin, and One had been lovingly provided for even the likes of me. I learned that Jesus could and would save me personally from my sin. Eventually, I obeyed His call and came out from the world. I now continually endeavor to separate myself from every unclean thought and unholy practice. (Matthew 1:21; Titus 2:12-14)
If you are homosexual, it matters not how you became so. If you are in bondage to sin of any nature…, it matters not how you became so. Being born homosexual, choosing to be so, or being environmentally conditioned to be so is not the issue that should really be of concern. Rather, how can you as a homosexual be aroused to recognize your need, if there is one; and how can that need be answered, regardless of “how and “why you happen to be what you are? Are we to just accept homosexuality in ourselves or in others as an “acceptable alternative lifestyle”, or do we see a need for redirection, and a means to accomplish that end? Is the issue of homosexuality a salvation issue, or is it a non-issue? Is it an “eternal reality issue? Did Jesus come to save the homosexual in his homosexuality, or from his homosexuality…? (Matt. 1:21)
Perhaps a simplistic little allegory can illustrate this point: A person floundering helplessly in the stormy sea is happened upon by a lifeboat. As it draws up alongside the helpless victim, before throwing out the lifeline the lifeguard calls out to him over the din of the screaming wind and billowing waves the qualifying questions, “How did you get yourself into this predicament anyway? Did you fall off your boat, or did you jump in? Did someone playfully push you into the sea, or did someone maliciously throw you in? Is it my fault that you are drowning in this sea…? something I have done…? Are you in this plight against your will, of no fault of your own, or did you choose to swim out here of your own volition?
The spitting, sputtering victim weakly calls back, “No! I did not choose to be this way!
Having now qualified the drowning victim, the all-important questions being answered, the lifeguard skillfully throws out the lifeline, only to see the victim refuse to grab hold.
“Take hold! shouts the lifeguard.
“What’s the use? calls back the drowning victim. “I didn’t choose to be in this quandary!
And so the allegory ends, in tragedy.
In just such a light, many homosexuals and heterosexuals alike view their own state in life. More grievous than this, so do many people picture Jesus the Lifeguard and His plan of salvation, as qualifying the victim first, as if God cannot, or chooses not, to save to the uttermost…!
The good news, however, is: Unlike the allegory above, Jesus cares not how you became the homosexual, or sinner, that you may be! Whether you be in denial, latent, “in the closet, openly gay, “married, militant, or even a “flaming queen, the fact still remains: if you are a homosexual, you are a sinner. However, Jesus is mighty to save — you. He has come as the Lifeguard, asking no questions, except “Will you take my hand?
“Come unto me, he says, “and I will give you rest.
God’s re-creative plan of salvation and redemption is as much for the homosexual, sin sick and desperate for deliverance, as it is for any other element of society, all of whom were born with inherited tendencies to sin of one kind or another that were later cultivated.
Every baby ever born was born with a self-centered nature that must be overcome if he is to become fit for the kingdom of heaven and God. Every person on earth living in sin of any kind is only doing that which comes natural from a heart centered in self-gratification: the murderer, the liar, the thief, the drug addict, the whoremonger, the street walker, the alcoholic, the smoker, the overeater, the cheating spouse, the promiscuous teenager, the idolater seeking to avenge an angry god or working for reward, the Christian likewise obeying God in fear of punishment or hope of reward…; all are allowing “self to be their rule of faith and practice.
Homosexuality is but one of many fruits, or manifestations, of the innocuous root of self.” Self-gratification is paramount in this sexual orientation. Pride is also very rooted in the heart of the homosexual; as is covetousness, wanting that which God has forbidden us to have. Like the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, homosexual behavior is forbidden by the explicit word of God.
Three sins especially offensive to God are pride, selfishness, and covetousness. (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:17; 2 Peter 2:9,10; Psalms. 10:3) Why? They are not so easily detected, being as they are the hidden roots of all other sins. They are the sins of the heart that manifest themselves, perhaps, many years later in outward “fruit. They are the sins that festered in the heart of Lucifer in heaven that worked so successfully to deceive his own self and one third of all the angels of heaven who stood in the very presence of God Almighty. They are the sins that eventually made a devil out of Lucifer and broke the heart of God. Is it any wonder then that these sins are so offensive to Him?
Recognizing your need, dear reader, will be a major accomplishment, a major stepping-stone, on your road to restoration.
6) Learn to Forgive. To be made whole, I learned that I had to be forgiven, pardoned, justified. To be forgiven, I had to learn to forgive those who had wronged me, even as I wanted God to forgive me for wronging Him. In the Lord’s Prayer we pray, “And forgive us our debts (trespasses), as we forgive our debtors.” (Mathew 6:12) All resentments, bitterness, vindictiveness, and anger had to be let go. What blessed relief!!
I have come to realize that if I hang on to my resentments and bitterness against those who have violated me, or robbed me of my innocence, or abused me, or wronged me in various ways, then my living has been arrested. In other words, I stop growing emotionally. I become emotionally retarded. I cannot go forward with life in a normal, healthy way. If I cannot let go of something that happened in my childhood; if I cannot forgive the perpetrator of a wrong against me, then I tend to deal with the tests and trials of life in the same emotional dysfunctional way as that same child of many years ago.
In order for you to be made whole, dear reader, you, too, must be able to go forward. And in order for you to go forward with life in Christ, you must be able to let go of that which is holding you back.
Actually, it is quite often the case that that which one perceives to be holding him back is not really the problem at all. It is one’s inability to let go that is really holding him back, leaving him emotionally retarded and unable to cope with life as it comes from day to day.
Remember, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) According to one commentary, this simply means that the new birth consists in having new motives, new tastes, new tendencies; that a genuine conversion changes hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong.
This can only be accomplished as one is willing to forgive and to let go. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven…” (Matthew 5:44,45)
7) A matter of choice. It also became evident to me that God created every one of us with the power of choice. This is the only barrier He cannot and will not cross, the only obstacle He cannot surmount in your behalf. He must have your permission to wash you, to make you clean, to create within you a clean heart, and to renew a right spirit within you; to re-create you. Overcoming homosexuality truly is a matter of choice. (Joshua 24:15; Philippians 2:5; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) Ask, and you shall receive!
Never forget that you are in good Company. Jesus Himself had to die to self daily and choose to follow His Father’s will. The warfare against self is the greatest battle ever fought, and Jesus had to fight it, too.
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) If He asks you to follow Him in daily self-denial, then He also had to daily practice denial of self.
“I can of mine own self do nothing: He says, …I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30)
“O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39) “Not as I want, He said, “but as You want.” And this while in agony of soul, struggling against His own will in Gethsemane.
Jesus daily victory was based upon His daily choices, sustained by the power afforded Him from God, even as the same is promised to you and me through the working of the Holy Spirit in the life.