Earlier this week, my pastor and I met with a local guy in his 20’s who just turned away from homosexual behavior in pursuit of God. When chatting with him for a couple of hours, the thing I felt that I couldn’t emphasize enough is that the focus of the Christian life for the “gay” man is not about not acting out on homosexual feelings. It’s not about turning from the “gay lifestyle.”
A message I feel the Lord has been laying on my heart lately is that He is not to be used as a means to an end…. even if that end is a “good” thing. We don’t follow Jesus to become straight, or to get married, or to be content in celibacy. And we don’t follow Jesus with the intent of becoming free of the power of fallen sexual inclinations. I think that’s all a backwards (and joy-robbed) way of looking at the gospel. I think a more correct way to view the gospel is that we follow Jesus because He is Lord and He is worthy, and He sets us free from the power of sinful inclinations (including sinful sexual inclinations) so that we could and would garner all of our affections, passions, and energies and focus them in on Him in worship.
Turning from homosexual behavior is (a small part of) the means and God is the End, not the other way around. He enables us to turn from sin not so that we would just turn from sin, but so that we would turn from sin and turn to Him. I don’t believe (based on the Scriptures) that turning from sin just for the sake of delighting in a holy accomplishment is at all pleasing to God.
If you’re attracted to the same sex but you’ve chosen to follow Jesus in repentance and faith, don’t get all wrapped up in having “turned away from the gay lifestyle” or in having “left homosexuality” or in having “become an ex-gay” (I’m speaking as someone who made these mistakes). Jesus has reconciled you to God through His Cross not so you could be an ex-gay or whatever you choose to call it; He’s done it to make you a son of God. That is ultimately who and what you are. Because of His gracious work in your heart, you have taken up a life of putting your natural, sinful self to death—day by day— to walk in the benefits of the sonship that Jesus has purchased for you (like intimacy with God) and the purposes God has for you in this life (like proclaiming the gospel and making disciples).
Please don’t infer from my words that I’m dumbing down the importance and necessity of repentance, that definitely is not my goal. What I’m trying to do is to put repentance in it’s rightful place: as the means, not the end. We should turn from our sin with all our (grace-wrought) might—but not for the purpose of basing our identity and the focus of our lives on our disassociation from a particular sinful behavior. We should turn from our sin because of a deep love and thankfulness for Jesus, and to enjoy intimacy and fellowship with God through Him.
The Christian life of the gay man, just like the Christian life of the straight man, should have one main focus and one definite end: Jesus.