I was just a boy when I became a Christian, still building forts, climbing trees, and using my superpowers to conquer the world. It was simple faith in the beginning. I wasn’t aware of the demands Jesus would make on my life, much less the sexual ethic I’d committed to before I’d ever thought about sex, or even knew what it was. All I knew is that I loved Jesus and wanted to be with him forever — and that’s still true today.
But now I know about sex. I know it’s reserved for marriage between a man and a woman, and what that means for me as someone who’s attracted to the same sex. I admit this complicates things. In the years since I came to know Christ, there’s also been a cultural shift in support for gay marriage, so I’ve had to weigh the teachings of Christianity against worldviews that would permit me — even encourage me — to marry a man and pursue the kind of happiness many people think I can’t achieve if I remain single and celibate.
So yeah, things aren’t so simple anymore.
For me, maturing in my faith means acknowledging the complications that come with loving Jesus. Most of the time I want to glorify God and pursue holiness through singleness, but sometimes I still want to marry a man. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage last year, it was a hard day for Christians like me, because part of us wants that “gay American dream” and part of us wants to joyfully submit to God’s will for marriage and sexuality. This is a conflict of desires that I wouldn’t have if Jesus weren’t in my life (something my atheist friends are happy to note) and a tough decision I wouldn’t have to make.
But that’s the reality of being in a relationship with Jesus on this side of eternity. We make decisions we wouldn’t have made without him. We see and feel and experience life differently. We mourn over things we didn’t used to care about — both our own sins and other people’s. We grieve for the unrepentant, especially our loved ones. We notice what’s wrong with the world and begin to feel a bit alien. I’m surprised how many people still think Jesus came to make life easier. I think that’s due in part to televangelists and the rise of the “prosperity gospel” which, of course, is no gospel at all. If you didn’t know better, you’d think the only reason Jesus came to earth was to fix your marriage, heal your cancer, and make you a millionaire. (Or in my case, make me straight.) But nobody should be surprised that a man who died and came back to life three days later would actually COMPLICATE things. Christianity is no cushy religion; it comes with built-in conflict.
Our sexuality is no exception. There’s a lingering “sexual tension” between our spirits and our flesh. We may feel a sting of pain when we say no to porn or hookups or even a committed relationship with someone outside of God’s will. (OK, more than a sting for that last one, more like a chronic pain.) I think it’s important to acknowledge these conflicting desires because they’re so uniquely Christian — a direct result of being given a new heart. We simply would not experience them if we didn’t love Christ. He’s certainly not the “crutch” many people believe him to be.
Yes, Jesus will complicate your life.
The God-man, who himself is profoundly and beautifully complicated, came not to make things simpler in this life, but to reconcile us to God, take away our sins, and bring us into eternal fellowship with him and other believers. Knowing him is the best thing that ever happened to me. He’s worth every bit of burden, every second of complexity, every twinge of tension between the “already” and “not yet.” He’s the one I fell in love with in my childhood, and the one I continue to fall in love with every day. He’s the kind of complication I want in my life.
Simple as that.
True story; thanks for sharing!
love your writing and love you
My dear friend I love your love for the Lord! Through all HE brings in our life it is all to bring us closer to HIM. What a God we serve!
“We make decisions we wouldn’t have made without him.” Yes! Love that.
This is so inspiring to see someone actually live their faith according to God’s truth . May you continue to be blessed for your obedience to your creator !
Hey you’re writing really encourages me as someone in your same boat. Thanks.
Wow, wow, wow! If you were speaking, I would stand in ovation! This has to be one of the most beautiful and beautifully written testimonies I have ever read. Your love for Jesus pours out of every line, every paragraph, and leads my own heart to love Him more. The way of the cross is costly. It was for Christ, and, it is for those who want to follow Him. My husband, unfortunately, thought the cost too high. He gave in to same-sex attraction; leaving me and our four children behind and moving hundreds of miles away with the man he thought he needed more than he needed us–more than he needed Jesus. In a world that would validate, even celebrate, his devestating decision, it is so refreshing to find someone like you who has faced similar struggles yet has chosen to struggle well. I pray that God’s magnificent grace will continue to woo you all the days of your life, and that others will see and hear and fall in love with Jesus.
I love you my dear friend. You inspire me to continue to look to the cross even when life doesn’t work out the way we want it to..