What About When Attractions Never Change?

I remember when I felt like things would never change. I was 18 when I first stirred up enough courage to say out loud to someone that I struggled with homosexual attractions. Up until then, I did all I knew to resist and plea with God daily to take them away. The pastor that I shared this with told me to pray and so I left believing that our agreement in prayer was all that was needed for this to be “fixed.” I quickly soon realized that nothing had seemingly changed after all. This predicament caused even more turmoil, confusion, anger, resentment, depression, unbelief, and pride in my heart. It looked as if things would never change.

Let’s stop here for a minute. You see, it would have been very easy at this moment to come to many false conclusions. We as humans tend to craft our theology based on our experiences. We are quick to change our theology on something when we experience anything contrary to what we originally believed. However, truth is a Man and His Word is what remains. I must put my belief and trust in that alone, whatever my recent experience is.

This has definitely been one heck of a journey in the knowledge of God when I think about where I was at 18 yrs old. Now, I stand on grace and on the Word even though my attractions haven’t changed. Some would tell me that it’s not possible for them to change. Others would say that I’m not saved since that is still my current experience. Still some will tell me to stop denying who I really am and just be happy with a guy. But what is most important is to listen to the Spirit of Truth and what He is saying on this situation. Because that conversation has been the only thing that I’ve found able to keep me. So what does He say?

First we recognize that change is instant and an on-going gradual process. When Jesus returns, we will instantly be changed, clothing ourselves with immortality and glory(1 Cor. 15:51). Until then, His Spirit is renewing us and making us more and more like Him when we agree with Him(2 Cor. 4:16, Rom. 12:2). Why is this the case? I believe it’s due to the different functions of sin. The power of the original sin by Adam distorts everything; some things effected by the Fall won’t be made right until Christ returns, yet He broke the power of sin so that I now live under the reign of grace(Rom. 6:14). What Christ fully accomplished in my spirit by making me new, my soul and body are working to display. This fullness will finally be known when all things are made new at His return- body and soul! So what does that mean now?

We were all born into sinful flesh and there’s no way to get out of this living condition now. But because of Christ, I’m no longer subjected to be enslaved by it in thought, deed, emotion, desires, passions, or attractions. Christ freed me from sin’s dominion and power. So even if I continue to experience same-sex attraction for the rest of my life, I have no excuse to allow it to cause me to lust(soul) or act out sexually(body). Grace abounds and empowers me to resist temptation and to choose holiness every time! So you ask, doesn’t this mean that you’re gay if you experience this on-going? No! Because my identity is no longer in my sin, but in Christ. That sinful identity died many years ago. Or some say I should feel ashamed since I still experience this…No! For even Jesus, the Son of God, was born into sinful flesh and experienced every temptation. And so I have no shame or condemnation for it either. For I know that in that coming Day, my flesh and soul will no longer house any sin at all. I look to that Day full of faith and hope. This gives me life and peace today, in my current state. All I need to do is remind myself that I am dead to sin so I need not obey it, it’s powerless. And that I’m alive in Christ because my life is hidden in Him. Maybe my soul and body will manifest this change before He returns(when it’s going to happen anyway), maybe not. Regardless, I’ve found that when I see in truth and clarity, God gives me grace to stand. His power makes this possible again and again, so I’ll keep standing. He makes the impossible, possible.

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”   Titus 2:11-13 

One thought on “What About When Attractions Never Change?

  1. Thanks for this, Kyle. As a man with same-sex sexual attraction who happens to be married to a woman, I am finding less and less compelling the need for sexual orientation essentialism. That is, the overarching need for gay or straight to be a category that each of us need place ourselves in in order to function most honestly in society.

    Do I have primarily homosexual attractions? I do. Yet I am very happily married and have been for 26 years. Would full heterosexual attraction to my wife make my life easier? Yes, it would. Would l like God to change me? Yes, but maybe not in the way most people would think.

    So then, what would my fulfillment in most people’s eyes look like? I should be “true to myself” and “follow my heart” and all that… Meaning, I should 1) evaluate my sexual desires, 2) define myself by them, and 3) live the gay narrative: seek to find happiness within the gay life.

    Rather, it is likely that you and I both would propose: 1) evaluate your sexual desires, 2) define yourself by who Christ called you to be, and 3) seek to find happiness within the Christian narrative: that Christ died for us to reconcile us to himself.

    It is not denial to completely recognize what your desires are and choose to live outside of them. Aren’t there other desires in life that we do that with, and actually respect people who do as well? Why then does even the possibility of denying the necessity of a “gay” sub-category of men cause heartburn and invite mockery? This is not some fundamentalistic tantrum where we are denying the existence of people with homosexual desires, most commonly referred to as “gay”. This is saying that though gay is a reasonable sociological descriptor of convenience, which works in the sense that most of us know what most of us mean by that term, it is not necessary and — I would posit, fundamentally constricting — to require landing there: that so-and-so IS gay.

    I am not my sexual desires. I HAVE them.

    Thanks again for your thoughts. My prayers are with you.

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