What Really Makes the Difference…
By Wil Chausser
Great strides have been made in ministry to gays and ex-gays in recent years. Resources abound and active local ministries are reaching out to the hurting and disillusioned. Christian bookstores and on-line suppliers offer a wide range of books that give insight into the homosexual dilemma: Christian psychology and counseling manuals, self-help and ministry guides, testimonies, etc. This material is such a tremendous blessing, certainly after the drought years prior to the early 80s when there was literally nothing available in print that addressed the subject from a Christian perspective.
How times have changed! But in spite of a much deeper understanding of the causes of same-sex attractions and resulting homosexuality, one single element is still necessary in a person’s life if he or she is going to overcome this stronghold. That key element is repentance. Regardless of how well we may understand our predicament, nothing will ever change without genuine repentance.
To repent is to turn. That’s what distinguishes repentance from confession, which is a simple acknowledgment of sin as opposed to actively turning from it. The Lord forgives us when we confess our sin (1 John 1:9), but confession alone doesn’t necessarily change us. God not only calls us to acknowledge our sin, He also commands us to put it away. Without confession nothing is forgiven, but without repentance nothing is changed.'”
True repentance before God is not limited to a certain area of our life but involves our whole self. There have been many frustrated attempts made at convincing God to take away homosexual desires while keeping other areas of our hearts off limits. When we stop contending for our carnal desires and choose, rather, to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God at an altar of repentance, real changes occur. The Lord not only begins to appease the sinful compulsions that are in us, but He also begins to help us identify other areas of our life that hinder spiritual growth. In other words, God doesn’t want just a part of us, He wants all of us.
It’s important to understand that we are born in sin and shapen in iniquity (Psalm 51:5). That’s what David said in his psalm of repentance following his adultery with the next-door neighbor. His sin was adultery but he realized that the real problem was something much greater. It was his flesh. It was his fallen nature that tainted everything else in his life, including his sexual appetite. He went on to write, “Create in me a clean heart, 0 God, and renew a right spirit within me” (v.10). Herein is genuine repentance confession (v.3), coupled with humility and a deep desire to change. Like a magnet, the Spirit of God is drawn to such a prayer. Great things happen when we repent!
Working in online ex-gay counseling several years ago, I watched the spiritual progress of a certain young man after he opened himself up to God without reserve. The Lord did not miraculously extract Rick’s same-sex attractions overnight, but He DID begin revealing things to him that, once addressed, greatly diminished and eventually eliminated his desire for other men. As the Lord gave Rick insight into root causes of his problem, he surrendered, allowing God’s Spirit to lead him to victory.
He wrote: “It was a long time in coming before I could believe God for deliverance from my homosexual mindset, even though I was actively serving Him and completely abstaining from any questionable activity. I think it’s because I had seen homosexuality as such a part of me, so much bigger and stronger than I and so intricately woven into every fiber of my being. It was too big of a mountain; I just couldn’t imagine being free from it.
“Even though the battles were contained to my mind, I wanted them to stop. As I was considering to what extent homosexuality was interwoven into my whole thought process and self-image, and feeling quite overwhelmed by it all, the Lord brought me to Hebrews 4:12
‘For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.’
“This verse spoke to me in a way it never had before. If the Word (which is truth) is so powerful that it can separate soul from spirit and joints from marrow, it must also be powerful enough to separate me from my homosexual desires. I may have accepted the lie that homosexuality was so much a part of me that there could be no way to fully escape it, but the Lord seemed to use Hebrews 4:12 to assure me that there are no impossibilities with Him. He can help me be free from this mindset. ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,’ Jesus said in John 8:32. Pertinent scriptures, both in this step and in my own Bible reading this week, have shined light into the darker and hidden areas of my heart, and it’s been quite revealing. I’m finding that I’m not as innocent as I had reasoned. I’ve nurtured my sin, my pride, my selfishness, only to hold at bay the very One who I’ve needed the most-the Lord Himself.”2
“God does not negotiate!”
Rick testified that he had sought forgiveness many, many times for homo-erotic thoughts but had only recently realized he had never really served homosexuality an eviction notice. His earlier half-hearted attempts to overcome always resulted in defeat. It seems that those who have the hardest time overcoming sin, any sin, are those who try making excuses or negotiating with God. God does not negotiate! He knows our hearts and sees our motives, which is why He’s moved when He sees genuine repentance. Can you see the Lord at work in this young man’s life?
In the Alcoholics Anonymous volume known as “The Big Book,” there is a woman’s testimony that reveals the same power of sin and self-pity that is at work in the lives of many who are bound by mental strongholds. She wrote: “I’d grown physically at the customary rate of speed … but there had been no emotional maturity. I realize now that this phase of my development had been arrested by my obsession with self, and my egocentricity had reached such proportions that adjustment to anything outside my personal control was impossible for me. I was immersed in self-pity and resentment, and the only people who would support this attitude or who I felt understood me at all were the people I met in bars and the ones who drank as I did.” She went on to say that after facing her addiction, turning to God and working the program, she was now completely sober and no longer needed to escape reality. Regardless of the stronghold, when you yield yourself to God by faith and in true repentance, He begins to move in your life. This is what makes the difference.
“Not only will He forgive you, but He will fill you with His Spirit and begin transforming you in a very real and fulfilling way.”
The apostle Paul wrote to the believers who were in Rome saying,
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” Romans 12:1-2.
Are you looking for freedom from the strongholds of homosexuality? Why not offer yourself to God in true repentance as a living sacrifice? Not only will He forgive you, but He will fill you with His Spirit and begin transforming you in a very real and fulfilling way. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 tell us “Faithful is He who calls us, who also will do it.”
From, “The Beacon”/Volume 1, Issue 5/Page 1-2, by Wil Chausser
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