“Restoration comes when you realize the light at the end of the tunnel is NOT a train!”(Lessons learned from the pit. Ugh!)
Today, often caught in the middle of the emotional conflict regarding “change” is the person who struggles with unwanted same-sex attraction. To him, (and I use the pronoun generically for both men and women) the issue of change is more than just an issue of emotional debate. It strikes at the very core of his being, either bringing hope or despair.
The Oxford American Dictionary defines change as to make or become different; to pass from one form or phase into another. Certainly, for any individual the greatest change is to become a Christian and know that your ultimate eternal destination has been changed from hell to heaven; to become born-again.
Having been around the phenomenon of change for quite some time, I am convinced that much of the conflict regarding same-sex attraction and change comes from a misunderstanding of the meaning of change. Redemptive changes occur in all healing, restoration process, our past involvement in sinful behavior, and what it was that pushed us toward the particular sin in the first place. With same-sex attraction it is no different. The contributing factors to a person having an issue with same-sex attraction are numerous and complex. However, that does not minimize God’s power and sovereignty, nor does it change the undeniable biblical evidence that God can change the life of a person involved in homosexuality. Homosexuals have been experiencing change since the Bible was written. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
It occurred to me early on in my new life in Christ Jesus that the Gospel never once stated “come as you are and stay as you are” but rather “come as you are to be restored and transformed.”
Not unlike a multitude of others, I thought (at least to a degree), that a lot of my “stuff” would instantaneously just “poof” and disappear. It didn’t occur to me that I did not arrive at my broken place in life overnight, therefore not everything was going to be resolved overnight. I had programmed deep into my thinking a whole truckload of experiences, activities and beliefs that were anything but what God had intended. And, nobody pushed the “clear button” when I became a believer. All of that stuff (lies) was recorded in my mind and enabled the strongholds which directly affected how I say myself and others.
And, so, began a process of spiritual growth which continues to this day. I began facing and working through character faults, past hurts, immaturity’s and a list of insecurities. You know, stuff! Often taking life disappointments and broken dreams to Jesus. Only He truly knows the answers to your problems.
One of the biggest and highest hurdles I first had to face down was the admittance I needed to make changes. Frankly, having to admit I needed to change was pretty tough since I could recall having same-gender attraction for as long as I could remember, and those feelings and emotions ‘felt’ natural. Ultimately, the admittance change is needed and necessary translated to “there’s something wrong with the way I am and the way I live.” You know, that’s a huge blow to one’s ego especially when you come to realization that the changes needed cannot be accomplished alone.
I would definitely equate leaving homosexuality as comparable to submitting to major spiritual surgery. Bam! Instantaneously, your whole identity becomes in absolute turmoil. That should not be so surprising since anytime we make a change in our behavior, it is usually because the pain involved in that behavior far outweighs the pleasure. Maybe you noticed like I did many, many years ago – while we know intellectually we must make a change, our feelings do not necessarily follow – men and women that say goodbye to homosexuality or lesbianism, experience grief, disorientation, and confusion. This is because someone we have known, been well acquainted with for a long, long time, is now dying. It is perfectly understandable the loss impacts our life and we grieve.
How well I remember launching out into the very, very uncomfortable dimension of the restoration process by opening up and placing under the Holy Ghost microscope, old, unresolved wounds. Ugh! I hated “going there” but I also understood that to implement necessary changes in my life necessitated retracing certain steps that enabled me to arrive at such a desperate place in life. Identifying painful situations which enabled the brokenness of same-sex attraction and working through them is just part of the whole process.
I am often asked “Why do some make it out of homosexuality while others don’t?” I am convinced the common denominator among the men and women that have experienced significant change in their lives involved the consideration of total surrender and control in their lives. In other words, nothing short of total commitment to the will of God (despite feelings, emotions, hormones, temptations, etc.) holds the same-sex attracted individual to the discipline needed for change. Ultimately, it is the individuals decision and follow through of putting God on the throne of his or her life instead of self.
Freedom, change, healing, restoration only occurs when we look upward to Jesus and are purposed to enter more deeply into fellowship with Him. As our Creator, God is the only one who knows exactly how to restore us and bring about change.
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24-25 NIV)
Here’s a thought. When an individual who was once controlled by his or her sin is now free from that sin and engaged in a new kind of life pattern, hasn’t change occurred?
One day (I remember this so well), I had one of those “Ah-Ha!” moments. It finally hit me after a very, very long period of time that I was most definitely a “guy” that just happened to have different interests, gifts and talents that did not necessarily match the abilities, gifts and talents of others. No gender confusion, just gifts God had granted me and placed within me to ultimately honor and glorify Him. I have heard it said “Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed.” Boy, had I bought into a truckload of negatives about myself.
Thank you Jesus for leaving the light on for me to find my way out of the negatives and darkness.
Oswald Chambers states in My Utmost for His Highest, “A man is a slave for obeying unless behind his obedience there is recognition of a Holy God.” I find it remarkable that God never insists on our obedience, but when we truly know Him, we want to instantly obey Him, change, and live according to His perfect will from sunup to sundown.
To this day, I thank God I did not become a Christian to leave homosexuality. I became a Christian because Jesus just made sense. Heaven knows, where I came from and what I was doing made absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Today, I continue to find that God will take me as far as I am willing to go. The path of healing from same-sex attraction comes about only through a genuine and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. The addiction and bondage to homosexuality can be broken. I say “can be” because Jesus has given us free will. The essential first step is wanting Christ and all that He offers.
The only remedy for any lie you may have embraced or bought into about yourself or homosexuality is to confront it with truth. His truth.
Pastor Phillip Lee
His Way Out Ministries
Member of Restored Hope Network
“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, the I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is tested.” Martin Luther