In the dictionary, a vow is defined as “a solemn promise or declaration by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition.” In Scripture, over and over again we see references to vows and oaths.
“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord. But I tell you, Do not swear at all; either by heaven, for it is God’s throne, or by the earth, for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your Yes be Yes, and your No, No, anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:33-37)
How often have I heard, “I have had same-gender attraction for as long as I can remember and I guess I always will.” According to John and Paula Sanford in their book Transformation of The Inner Man, “An inner vow is a decision and resolve either to do or not to do a certain activity, event, or to have or not to have a certain attitude or relationship. It is a determination set by the mind and heart into all of one’s being usually set early in life, and often forgotten.” Personally speaking, I have often found that the attitude in which I face the mountains in life always has a direct and profound bearing on just how long “the mountain” may remain in my life.
While I would never dismiss the intense temptations, feelings, emotions, and, at times, overwhelming tsunami of same-gender attraction, if I, or anyone for that matter, continues to define their identity based on their sexuality (homosexual), it implies the possibility of one’s behavior or sexual orientation can never be minimized or changed. In other words, how we label ourselves reveals what is of prime importance in our life. There is finality about labeling oneself. It implies the subject is closed and that a decision has been reached. It is entirely possible for men and women to recover from any number of conditions but they may not recover from an inner vow or labeling of oneself.
How I remember to this day, when I was just a little guy, those that would constantly encourage me to play a variety of sports that I really didn’t want to play but did because “that is what little boys did.” That sense of reality coupled with the disappointment and down right hurt and shame of generally being the last to be picked for “the team,” caused me to make a decision (a vow) that I was never going to play “those stupid games” again. Now, I realize just how my attitude and decision (which really wasnt based in truth it was just a perception on my part), catapulted me down a path that led to years of struggling with self-worth and acceptance.
The incredible irony regarding sports activity was that I was pretty dog-gone good at a number of sports. Oh, the inner traps (vows) that cause such heartache, pain and sometimes years of disillusionment and despair. It took me a very long time to realize that I was most definitely a “guy” that just happened to have different interests, gifts and talents that didn’t match the abilities, gifts and talents of others. Duh? No gender confusion, just specific gifts God had granted me and placed within me to honor and glorify Him.
It is certainly true that inner vows are sometimes identified by compulsive behavior. At the very moment we became a Christian and knew we had given our heart to Jesus, the reality of a power struggle may have in many cases just begun. Frankly, losing one’s life to find it is no easy journey because our old way of doing things and the old way of seeing ourselves dies only with a great deal of pain and over time. The true battle becomes, which will survive, our will or God’s will? The resolution of that question often involves coming to terms and dealing with the inner vows of homosexuality that have been falsely embraced as truth and have placed a person under the bitter root of fear, hidden resentment, and self-judgment.
An inner vow embracement, belief and proclamation of “I am gay and will always be gay,” can most definitely set the shape of our entire being and character. It is entirely possible for the entire structure of a person’s personality to be built around one inner vow. Now hear this! There is always much, much more to a person that just their sexuality! However, the owning of one’s identity being based on, “I’m gay!” can and often does shape the individuals personality for life.
The inner vow of seeing oneself as “always homosexual” must be addressed and ultimately broken. If not broken, the strong possibility exists that the individual will fall to relying upon the power of their flesh to lead the Christian life, to be good, righteous and holy. Freedom, true freedom comes by faith as well recognizing that an inner vow just may have placed us in a position of defeat and not victory.
However, there is great news! Through the repentance of any sinful action that may have caused us to make a vow, we can exercise our authority in Christ and break each and every inner vow. Whether homosexuality or any other deeply ingrained habit or compulsive behavior, breaking the hold vows may have over us is entirely possible. Every Christian has been given the God-given right to cancel any vow made in the past or present.
How does one know if an inner vow is in some way impacting their life, possibly locking them in a battle with same-gender attraction? By asking. Connect with a prayer minister, a ministry, pastor or believer in the Authority of Christ and ask the Holy Spirit to come and search your heart. Anytime a believer in Christ invites the Holy Spirit to come – why wouldn’t He? Now, here’s a tip. If the Holy Spirit identifies, discloses an “inner vow,” know that a “root cause” of behavior (homosexuality, habitual adultery, alcoholism, etc.) has been identified and the Holy Spirit is enabling a key to freedom.
Personally, I have found that God will take me as far as I am willing to go. The path of healing from same-gender attraction comes about only through a genuine and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. The addiction and bondage to homosexuality can be totally broken. I say can be because Jesus has given us free will. The essential first step is wanting Christ and all that He offers. You know, the person that really experiences the most change is the person that has come to realize that he simply has no other place to go.
Pastor Phillip Lee
His Way Out Ministries
Member of Restored Hope Network
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