It is helpful and important to remember that our sexual drive is good, not evil. However, it is easy enough to fall into the error of seeing our sexual feelings as the enemy, an unfortunate part of our being that keeps us defeated in our Christian walk. Our sexual longings have become distorted, but they are, nevertheless, a marvelous creation and wonderful part of who we are as human beings.
So, how do men and women control their sexual behavior? Is it really possible to stop impure thoughts? How do we find purity in our sexual desires when we have indulged in homosexual fantasy or practice?
Renewing one’s mind and training ourselves is a cooperative effort between God and man. We see this principle throughout the Bible, when God calls a man to a purpose and says, in essence, “Here’s the goal.” This is what MY part is in achieving it; here’s your part. Of course, we’re not equals in our partnership with God, and He doesn’t need us to fulfill His purposes. But in His wisdom, He’s chosen to include us in them. And so, when fulfilling them, we trust Him to do what we cannot do, and He entrusts us to do what we can.
Question: Is it a sin to have homosexual feelings? Does God condemn you for being attracted to other members of your own sex? No, being tempted is not the same as sin. The Bible distinguishes carefully between such feelings and sin. Inappropriate feelings, in biblical terminology, fit into the category of temptation. Being sexually attracted to another person is not the same as committing adultery in your heart (see Matthew 5:28). For it to become sin, you have to act on the temptation, either in your mind or your body.
All Christians have to deal with inappropriate sexual feelings and attractions. Those of us overcoming homosexuality are not unique; we do not belong in a different subclass than the rest of the Church. Sexual struggles are a part of being human! For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way just as we are – yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
Every time we are tempted, it always begins with stimulation, which we choose to let in or not. If we let it in, we begin entertaining it, which often leads to indulgence. We are never going to avoid stimulation. To avoid or not embrace the truth that stimulation is unavoidable means our lives will remain in a constant state of frustration.
So, when do homosexual temptations become sin? The book of James sheds light on this important question: But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. (James 1:14-15) There is always a time gap between conception and birth. A homosexual thought occurring in our mind can be either killed or nurtured. If it grows, it gives birth to sin. That is where our ability to choose comes into effect. We can choose whether or not homosexual thoughts (temptations) will become sin. If we nurture them, they will grow into lust. Simply defined, lust is the desire to have what is not rightfully mine.
Lust can involve much more than just sex. We can lust for emotional intimacy and seek it by forming relationships that avoid sex but are riddled with deep and exclusive emotional bonds that are inappropriate. We can even lust for good things, like marriage and children. Such life experiences can be wonderful, but we won’t possess them unless God gives them to us.
Question: Should any man or woman just simply accept homosexual feelings as a thorn in the flesh and not seek to overcome them?
Many men and women find that their homosexual or lesbian desires decrease in intensity when their emotional needs are being satisfied through healthy relationships. The deeper and more emotionally satisfying these relationships are, the less we will be tempted to meet those emotional needs through inappropriate sexual acts or emotional dependency.
Never begin your day without prayer. A daily discipline for every Christian includes prayer and Scripture reading because they’re essential, and part of your prayer life includes putting on your armor:
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth. (Ephesians 6:14) The truth you take in keeps you from falling for the many lies you’re likely to encounter on any given day.
Put on the breastplate of righteousness. (v.14) It is through prayer you’re built up spiritually, strengthening your faith in the righteousness of Christ that’s been imparted to you.
Shod you feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. (V.15) This keeps you gospel aware, that is, aware that there’s a heaven and a hell, and that everyone you encounter is bound for one or the other.
Take the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (v.16) By exposing yourself daily to the Word of God, your faith grows and your protective shield is strengthened. Your enemy’s attacks, relentless as they are, can’t harm you.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (v.17) Knowing your position in Christ, being reminded of it daily, and getting into the habit of speaking the Word regularly, all three cover your thought life and arm you with what you need to deal with the aggressions of your opponent.
Every time we say no to lust, every time we refuse to entertain the dirty thought that just passed through our unruly brain, it’s an act of worship. So don’t resist sexual sin just for the sake of purity, make it an act of worship.
Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. (Romans 12:1)