Surviving Same Sex Attraction as a Christian

18 October 2013

I am a Christian and I am attracted to people of the same sex. When I became a Christian in my late teenage years, I expected God to perform a miracle and remove my unwanted same–sex attraction. Instead, He led me on a journey of daily trust and reliance on Him for all things. In sharing what I have learned on surviving same–sex attraction as a Christian, my hope is that others who face the same struggle will find the strength to “lay aside every weight and sin that clings so closely and run the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfector of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1b–2a).

The Identity Question

Whatever our sexual orientation, our identity as Christians rests solely on how God views us— as a child of God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus and being transformed into the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit. It is not shaped by how others view us, by our works or even our past. We are born again, our old life has passed away, and we are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is for this reason a Christian who is same–sex attracted should not identify with being gay. Being gay would mean accepting a label based on sexual orientation and a lifestyle that is not consistent with being a Christian.

The Battle We Face

In the Bible, homosexuality is described as a sin when it refers not to the attraction itself but rather the lustful, sexual behaviour associated with homosexual activity. Lust is the catalyst that turns same–sex attraction into a sin. Lustful temptation begins when our flesh entices us to dwell on sexual thoughts or sensuous fantasies. This can lead to a decision to engage in homosexual activity.

Resisting Temptation

We are told in the Bible to resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7). Attempting to resist these temptations by our own strength, determination or will power will only exhaust and ultimately defeat us. Because Jesus has already won the victory over sin for us, we must walk in His strength and resist the enemy by the power of His name. How do we do that? By relying on Him alone to defeat the ruler of darkness. God has graciously given us His Holy Spirit to help us overcome sin and temptation. When Paul struggled with his own weakness, Jesus reminded him: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness". In response, Paul says: "I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The Sinner’s Daily Prayer

Every day I am reminded that the battle against same–sex attraction is first and foremost a spiritual battle against the enemy of our souls (Ephesians 6:12). Spiritual warfare is therefore essential to surviving same–sex temptations. God does not always remove the temptation, but by His Spirit He always enables us to overcome it and He provides a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). The Lord’s Prayer says: "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil". This is how we should be praying for God to lead us away from temptation and to deliver us.

Our Spiritual Family

This is not a journey we go through alone. We are encouraged by the ongoing love and support of our spiritual family (the body of Christ) to fight the good fight and battle on. If you struggle with same–sex attraction, it is vital to speak to a mature Christian whom you trust, so you can receive the support and accountability you will need in the long term to survive these temptations. It is also a good idea to seek a Christian counsellor, join a specialist Christian support group such as Exodus Asia Pacific, or enrol in an online discipleship course such as Door of Hope.

Advice to Young People

Finally, some advice to youth: curiosity is a dangerous thing! Sexual urges can be part of your emerging manhood/womanhood and they are quite common. However, they are not necessarily an indication of your ultimate sexuality. Though experimentation might seem harmless and even normal in our society, it can be detrimental to your understanding of sexuality. God has designed sex to be enjoyed within marriage between one man and one woman. If we believe in Him, we can trust that His design of sex was made purposefully out of love for our good and ultimately for His glory.

Counselling, support & online resources:

Exodus Asia Pacific (support group run by and for same–sex attracted Christians)
Door of Hope (online discipleship course for same–sex attracted Christians)
Christian Counselling for same–sex attracted Christians