Christian ministry to those with unwanted same-sex attraction has been made far too complicated by many. We, The Church, must consider and examine the bigger biblical picture of what God intended for all men and women. If we truly care for homosexuals and are genuinely concerned with regard to their struggle with same-sex attraction, the ministry we extend must be done so as presented to us in Matthew 28:19: “Therefore go and make disciples…”
The call of discipleship is extended to the entire Body of Christ and is no less relevant today than when it was first given. Ultimately, biblical discipleship is the act of one person intentionally impacting the life of some other person in the direction of Christlikeness (2 Timothy 2:2) and one person dealing with another person personally.
How well I remember surrendering my life to Christ on October 5, 1985, entering Church for the first time in my life and immediately began to be discipled. I am most definitely the product of true discipleship and I remain confident I would not be here today without my having been discipled. To be clear and at the risk of possibly being misunderstood, my discipleship was not fulfilled just by fellowship, accountability, bible study or listening to sermons. While these are most definitely good and godly elements to discipleship, they lack the individual attention that Jesus Himself modeled. Jesus made a practice of spending time with the disciples. This, I believe, was the essence of His training program. Throughout Scripture, Jesus shows how important relationship development is to growing and maturing a disciple. If this does not happen, the individual (disciple) may easily feel more like a project and not a person.
I clearly remember in my being discipled, the subject of homosexuality was virtually never discussed. Frankly, I was grateful. I didn’t need to talk about the problem. I knew what the problem was. I wanted to talk about the answer. Biblical discipleship is real and personal. It cannot be accomplished via books, DVD’s, TV or speakers in an auditorium. All of these things may be useful, but discipleship is being there. Thankfully and gratefully, truth was presented to me that led to moving beyond the obvious and launching out entirely by faith and embracing Jesus’ word to “lose ourselves for His sake.” (Matthew 10:39) and Ephesians 5:29)
Discipleship is the relationship between a teacher (discipler) and student (disciple). Within the relationship is commitment, authenticity, vulnerability, love and accountability. When all is said and done, discipleship is leading the disciple into a vital experience with God.
At the core of same-sex attraction brokenness is a spiritual problem. Any and all spiritual problems require a spiritual solution. Admittedly, sexual purity is a challenge and it is very easy to compromise. However, when a faithful follower of Jesus Christ fully surrenders and submits to His ways, putting their full trust in Him and purposed to grow in His likeness, the individual is taking purposed steps to flee sexual immorality, which greatly glorifies and honors God. It’s extremely important we remember that God cares about our heart and mind, not just our outward actions.
Many people I meet who have not personally struggled with same-sex attraction feel they could be of no help to anyone struggling with homosexuality or lesbianism. This could not be further from the truth. Yes, God does often use the experience of those who have walked a similar path to provide direction and encouragement to others, and this has certainly been true in my own life.
Actually, those whom God used most significantly in my own healing were men and women who never, ever struggled with same-sex attraction. I’ve heard this repeated so often by other former gays and lesbians that I’ve lost count. So, please, if you are a woman or man who has never even had a same-sex thought in your life, please be encouraged that God can significantly use you to help someone struggling with same-sex attraction. Again, it’s called “discipleship.” Discipleship involves laying down our lives for others (John 15:13). It is most definitely an act of love, expecting nothing in return. Ultimately, after we have extended ourselves to another, we must at some point take a step back and allow God to be God.
Ultimately, making disciples is much more than just transferring biblical knowledge. If biblical knowledge by itself were the key to Christian maturity, we should have the most spiritual generation of Christians in history. Clearly, the Apostle Paul recognized that each believer is unique and needs individual attention, “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, no that we may present every man complete (mature) in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works with me.” (Colossians 1:28-29)
I freely admit I do not have all the answers to the complexities of same-sex attraction. However, I am willing to go with the individual to the One that does. For the man or woman who has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, who has repented of their sexual sin, and who is seeking to yield their life to the Lordship of Christ, other believers must be willing to come along side, invite them into their homes, invite them into their families, invite them into their lives, and help them fulfill their destiny in Christ. A huge mistake is made when anyone imagines that the man or woman dealing with same-sex attraction needs to be approached with the claims of the Gospel in some totally unique way.
For the man or woman overcoming same-sex attraction, their journey must ultimately be their own. In that regard, their central focus and primary motivation must always be about pursuing a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is greatly accomplished through God’s practical application of being discipled. No matter how broken or sinful an individual’s past may be, he or she can become more that they ever dreamed or imagined. With God all things are possible.
Pastor Phillip Lee
His Way Out Ministries