A person sent me an e-mail asking the following questions:
How am I supposed to live my life as a Christian if I am gay? And why would God make me gay since homosexuality is a sin?
When I read the e-mail, my heart was broken. You are not alone with this difficult battle. The overwhelming majority of people with same-sex attraction affirm they did not choose their homosexual desires (just as those with heterosexual desire did not wake up one day and decide to be attracted to the opposite sex).
So why would God allow people to experience same sex attraction when this is something that displeases Him.
Let’s look at six truths that God gives us in His Word, the Bible. These truths will help us answer your question.
1. God’s creation was originally good.
When God created the heavens and the earth in six days, everything that He created was good.
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31)
In God’s original creation in Genesis 1 and 2, same sex attraction did not exist. Adam and Eve were not gay. They only experienced sexual desires for each other as man and woman. This was God’s original design, and God called their heterosexual desires good.
2. We inherited our sin nature from Adam.
When Adam sinned in Genesis 3, he brought sin into the inner lives of all people. All of us are born into this world with sinful natures that trace back to the sin of Adam. We inherit the sin nature that Adam secured when he fell in Genesis 3.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psalm 51:5)
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)
We sin because we were born sinners in Adam. We come from Adam into this world as newborn sinners. Later when we know better, we act out that sin.
Before the fall, there were no sinful desires like envy, covetousness, homosexual attraction. Only after the fall, we inherited these desires in our sin nature.
3. God gives all Christians the capacity to escape and resist temptation.
As human beings, we routinely face temptation, but temptation never comes directly from God. God clearly states in the Bible that He does not tempt us to sin.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:13-15)
When we become Christians, God delivers us from both the penalty (spiritual death) and power of sin. hrough Christ, we have a new capacity to resist temptation and sin’s power. Jesus experienced many forms of temptation, and He was without sin. Even if it seems difficult to believe, our Lord Jesus can perfectly sympathize with our present state, including our same–sex attraction.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
Just as it is possible for a Christian man to be sexually attracted to a woman and not engage in sinful thoughts and actions, he can also experience the temptation of same-sex attraction and overcome the temptation and not sin. God promises His people that He will never allow any temptation to be beyond your ability to resist and escape.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
No Christian in this present world is perfect. All of us still sin daily. Our new capacity is not the ability to live perfectly. But when we are united with Christ, we are transformed. For the first time, we can say no to sin and resist our sin nature.
4. God may not take away your homosexual attraction.
God promises that He will give you everything you need to overcome the sin of homosexuality. But in His providence, God may allow certain temptations to remain in your life including homosexual desires. But God’s ultimate purpose in allowing temptations is not to stumble us to sin.
Christian faithfulness is not the eradication of homosexual desire but the consistent denial of such desire in service to a greater passion to honor Christ.
5. Our identity is in Christ, not our sexual desires.
We have bought into a sexual identity paradigm. Many of us categorize ourselves based on our sexual identity instead of our identity in Christ.
- “I am gay.”
- “She is a lesbian.”
- “He’s transexual.”
- “They are bisexual.”
We are more than our desires, whether sexual or otherwise. Personhood cannot be reduced to what we desire. What is more foundational than our “sexual identity”? Our identity in Christ is most foundational.
As believers, our identity is in Christ and not in ourselves. The apostle Paul uses the phrase “in Christ” over ninety times in the New Testament to stress the believer’s union with Christ.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Christians are no longer defined by our sinful behaviors but by the justifying and sanctifying work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
6. Our spiritual growth is continual and ongoing.
Our spiritual growth is the same for everyone in the sense that it can be difficult, slow, and incomplete in our lifetime.
Christian faithfulness might not look like the eradication of same-sex desire, but the consistent denial of such desire in service to a greater desire to honor Christ and his kingdom.
Same-sex attraction is a desire to be resisted. It is not a disease to be cured. Some people experience genuine change in the direction of their sexual desire. Their same–sex desires gradually diminish with time. It’s appropriate to pray for that and rejoice when this happens.
But many experience growth differently. For some, their same-sex attraction may not decrease; it may even intensify.
In the midst of faithfully battling persistent same-sex attraction, the Christian can resist temptation and sin less often. We can gradually experiences more success in overcoming this constant temptation. It’s appropriate to pray for grace and rejoice in this evidence of growth.
The goal of growth is neither marriage nor celibate singleness. It is conformity to the character of Christ. This is true whatever state you’re in, for however long you remain in it.
In God’s initial creation state, man was very good. Adam’s sin brought forth sin and our sin nature which may include desires like same-sex attraction. Same-sex attraction is a temptation that can lead to the sin of homosexuality.
The Christian’s identity is in Christ, not his/her sexual desire. God promises that He will never allow you to experience temptation beyond what you are able to handle and bear.
Be who God is calling you to be today. Live and face your present reality. Invest in the relationships that are before you now. You don’t know what the future will bring and how God’s transforming power will play out in your life over time.
Some who struggle with same-sex attraction will get married to a person of the opposite sex; others will remain single. In this lifetime, few will experience relief from their same–sex attraction. But God has determined that every Christian will bear the fruit of his indwelling Spirit.
I pray that God will give you the comfort and grace to endure this weighty burden. The groaning of gay Christians is great.
Let’s long for the day when our physical bodies will finally be perfected, and this groaning and suffering will be no more.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:18-25)