I admit it. I’ve tried to “pray the gay away.” I’ve spent nights on my knees, asking God to take away my homosexual desires. Any Christian who struggles with same-sex attraction has probably done the same, and rightly so. Casting our cares on God should be the first thing we do (1 Peter 5:7). So yes, I’ve prayed for change. And if you read last week’s post, you know that change hasn’t come.
But what if it worked? What if one day I woke up and discovered I was completely, miraculously straight?
Well, the straight me wouldn’t be much different. I’d still be a sinner saved by grace, no more worthy of God’s love than I am today. I’d have some new thorn in the flesh, another cross to bear, different sins to kill. Yes, if tomorrow I woke up straight, I’d still be pretty much like everybody else.
For a long time I thought overcoming same-sex attraction would somehow make me a better Christian. Maybe it would speed up the sanctification process. Maybe then I could focus on some of my “smaller” sins. So I prayed for change. But rather than asking God to make me holy, I asked him to make me heterosexual. Jesus ended up taking a backseat to my morality. Heterosexuality became my hope, my goal, my god.
That’s straight idolatry.
As it turns out, I had a bigger problem than same-sex attraction. I’d become obsessed with my idol, the heterosexual me. My desire for change outweighed my love for Christ. Thankfully, God’s got a history of destroying idols. He reminded me that Christ alone must be my first and greatest desire. He can’t be a means to an end (however biblical that end may be). He is the end. What I needed most was not a change in my sexual orientation; I needed to reorient my worship.
Make no mistake, though. I’ve been changed. Maybe it’s not the change I asked for, but it’s the change I needed. Sure, being straight would be great. But knowing I’m a sinner saved by grace is even better (Ephesians 2:8-9). Knowing I’m not made righteous through moral success in my fight against same-sex attraction, but through the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross. Knowing that, for now, I still wrestle with the flesh, but someday Jesus will make all things new.
Bryan can be reached at The Happy Alternative