Same-sex Attraction and Fulfillment

I’ve read a lot of books from same-sex attracted Christians who are following Jesus, and I want to share what I’ve learned from them. Just like my friends who are gay, they also say that though research hasn’t found what causes someone to be gay, whether it’s by nature or by nurture, they knew they were same-sex attracted for as long as they can remember. And each of them follow Jesus. Their stories are different, just as our stories are different. For some, God changes our affections; He actually changes what we desire. But for many, we continue to live with the desires we have; those desires become opportunities to foster a greater dependence on Jesus because the love of Jesus is better than our other desires. I want to share a few lines from these books I have read.

David Bennett wrote A War of Loves. David calls himself a gay, celibate Christian. David came out as gay as a young man. Then, as a young adult he met Jesus, became a Christian, and Jesus did not change his attractions. He has the same attractions that he had before he became a Christian, but he’s decided that Jesus is greater than his attractions. Therefore, he’s going to hold what he believes that Scripture teaches, which is that sex should be between a man and a woman in marriage. David Bennett wrote, “Both celibacy and marriage are a calling to find our fulfillment in Christ.” David Bennett has encouraged me through his writing and challenged me much. He testifies that ultimate fulfillment comes through Christ.

Rebecca McLaughin wrote Confronting Christianity. Rebecca is married to a man, but she wrote that she chose to marry a man because of her commitment to Christ over emotional and sexual preferences.

She said, “God could change my instincts, but I have no promise that He will because blue-blooded heterosexuality is not the goal of the Christian life. Jesus is.” Jesus is the ultimate goal for all of us, no matter what our struggles are, no matter what our attractions are.

Beckett Cook lives in Los Angeles, and he wrote A Change of Affection. He lived through a series of gay relationships before he met Jesus. Though he still has same-sex attractions, he says that his same-sex attractions are now diminished. They haven’t fully gone away, but they are diminished. But I love this line he wrote in his book: “My identity is no longer in my sexuality, but in Christ.” That should be true for every Christian, no matter what our sexual attractions are; our ultimate identity is not in our sexual attractions. Our ultimate identity is in Jesus because Jesus is better and greater. Jesus is the one who fulfills us and who brings us life.

Jackie Hill Perry wrote, Gay Girl, Good God. Jackie lived a gay lifestyle, and then she met Jesus. She never expected she would be attracted to a man, but then she developed a friendship with her now-husband, Preston. God gave her attraction for her husband. This is what she wrote: “Only God could do something so strange. Like make something beautiful rise out of the ground. He did it before with His body, and now in mine, like a rose out of concrete, grew my love for a man. And not any man or every man but a man named Preston. At first, this budding attraction was more about him than it was about his gender.”

Jackie cautions against viewing her story as normative, saying that God may work that way, but He doesn’t always work that way. She believes that for some people, loving God will lead them down a path of God-honoring marriage. For others, He may lead them to a life of God-exalting singleness. The same-sex attracted Christian who is called to marriage is no more of an example of the power of God than the same-sex attracted Christian who is called to singleness. In both, God is glorified.

Sam Alberry wrote Is God Anti-Gay? Sam has helped me tremendously with his writing. Sam doesn’t use the term “Gay Christian.” He describes himself as one who struggles with same-sex attraction but whose ultimate identity is in Christ. Sam helped me understand the difference between attraction and acting on attraction. Additionally, he helped me understand that we ask God to forgive us for our actions, not our attractions. We don’t need forgiveness for our temptations but for acting on those temptations. He wrote this. “Ever since I’ve been open about my experiences of homosexuality, a number of Christians have said something like ‘The gospel must be harder for you than it is for me,’ as though I have more to give up than they do. But the fact is the gospel demands everything of all of us.”

The gospel demands everything from all of us who follow Jesus. Whether we are same-sex attracted or attracted to the opposite sex, the call of Jesus for all of us is to follow after Him, not our desires. Sam Alberry also gives us beautiful language when he wrote that “marriage shows the shape of the gospel, but singleness shows the sufficiency of the gospel.”

Rachel Gilson wrote Born Again This Way. She’s very raw and honest in her book, sharing that even after becoming a Christian, she wrestled so much with same-sex attraction and even fell in love with another woman after becoming a Christian. But, she knew that Christ was inviting her to follow after Him and painfully leave that relationship behind. She wrote, “When I left Anna, it was agony every day for months. Yet it was completely worth it, just as Jesus had promised that we would gain our lives only by losing them.” Rachel quoted Jesus because Jesus said in Mark 8:34-35, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it.” And this is for everybody – single, married, same-sex attracted opposite-sex attracted, all of us.

The way to find life is not down the path of self-expression and self-fulfillment. The way to find life is through self-denial and following Jesus. “Whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it.” According to Jesus, real life happens when we deny ourselves and follow Him. Jesus is the one who brings real life. 


This article is an excerpt from On the Table, a Bible study from Eric Geiger, Ed Stetzer, and Steve Bang Lee. Download a free sample of On the Table.

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