Why do we do the things we do? Who hasn't asked themselves that question at one time or another? Must we remain creatures of habit? Is there “No Way Out?" Even the apostle Paul wrestled with this problem, but he came to the happy conclusion that we can overcome all in Christ (Rom. 7:14-25; Philip. 4:13). But Christ Himself said it wouldn't be easy, and Paul basically admitted that we'd have to go through hell before Heaven would be established on earth (Acts 14:22). Yet as Thomas Paine declared: “The harder the conflict the more glorious the Triumph. " And indeed there is a war within, a dueling conflict of interests, a dual nature that demands constant attention (1 Pet. 2:11; Ga. 5:17). True Christians are even compared to soldiers that must learn how to effectively fight and become toughened in the process (2 Tim. 2:3; 1 Tim. 6:12). We're commanded to kill carnality, subdue sin, and force ourselves into line (Col. 3:5; Mat. 11:12). Of course, it's only through the power and Spirit of God that we're able to overcome, grow, and conquer all of those things that would love to tear us down (Ps. 60:12; Ephes. 6:10-17).
What is one man's strength is another man's weakness, but we must all struggle to attain God's Image through the process of conversion (Philip. 3:12). We're to become spiritually stronger by carrying our cross and bearing our burden; they're to make us and not break us. Although we're presently only too human, we're offered the opportunity to increasingly partake of the divine nature and holiness (2 Pet. 1:4), experiencing in advance the glory of the Kingdom of God (Heb. 6:5); all contingent upon our response to God's lead, submission to His Will, and the exercising of His Spirit (Rom. 8:14).
Considering how transcendent true spirituality can be, why do we allow ourselves to lower our sights and settle for less (Rom. 8:6)? How damnable are such distractions that would disrupt our clear concepts of Christ and His Kingdom! Satan attempts to short-circuit God's Spirit, cause static on our wavelength to Heaven, and overload our minds to jam God's message (Ephes. 2:2).
We're to keep life's purpose uppermost in mind, putting all things in perspective, enjoying the light of this Vision (2 Tim.1:7; Ephes.1:17-19). Yet the god of this present world's system has blinded his subjects to their glorious potential (2 Cor. 4:4), led them astray by tinsel temptations, and enslaved them through deceitful sin.
Adrenalin and Ego
The Bible reveals that two of men's biggest problems are LUST and PRIDE (1 John 2:16). They go hand in hand, and are like a dog chasing its tail: a vicious cycle. Why do we keep going out to the bars? Because it's an addiction. When you're all dressed up, and want to strut your stuff, where else is there to go? It's adrenalin and ego. They're partners for life - or death. They artificially energize us and bring us back for more.
Who doesn't like to cruise and be cruised? There's always that challenge of the chase, that anticipation of the evening. But what if the next time your catch includes some *** disease? Are you ready and willing to exchange the cool clothes and hot look for a hospital robe? Those boots that are made for walkin’ for slippers? That well-groomed hair for baldness? Go from Mr. Popular to poor pariah? It is a possibility. It is reality. But then we don't like to think about such disturbing thoughts, and besides, it always happens to someone else, “the other guy. " At least so far. Well? Another notch on the bedpost might be another foot in the grave. This is a serious subject and an uncomfortable one, but as far as promiscuity goes - you've got to stop it, before it stops you!
We're told that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life (Rom. 6:23). Ultimately, the penalty for every sin unrepented of is death (Rev. 21:8), but some sins exact their penalty quicker than others. Is AIDS a plague sent from some angry God? Could He be upset with our stubborn ways (Mark 3:5)? Is it possible God's simply taken away His protective shield (Isa.5:5), and left us at the mercy of cause and effect (Jer. 2:19; 4:18)? God reveals that same-sex practices are self-destructive and contrary to what's natural (Rom. 1:26-28). He also explodes the myth that it's harmless and declares both minds and bodies become abused (Ps. 107:17). Does this stark fact justify “gay-bashing?" NO! We need to pray for those entangled in sin's web.
Nothing's so hypocritical as a straight couple (living together with children out of wedlock) getting interviewed as they watch the spectacle of a “Gay Pride" parade. Shaking their heads, they say: “We just think it's disgusting. Besides, the Bible says it wrong. " Since when did they ever care about what the Bible has to say? It probably has a few things to say to them also! Everybody needs to get their act together and straighten up (Isa. 40:3). We could all use some “home-improvement" (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Whereas there are many sins - and sin is simply breaking God's code of conduct (1 John 3:4) - this booklet's specifically dealing with homosexuality, although the principles contained within these pages pertain to all.
What's so difficult for heterosexuals to comprehend is that being gay is as normal for homosexuals as being straight is for them. And that many homosexuals also can't understand the *** attraction of straights. Both “sexes" are a mystery to each other! Gays are quite capable of appreciating a woman's mind, beauty or charm - but are generally repulsed at the thought of having sex with one! Many women adore their unique relationships with homosexuals because they know they're accepted for who they are without any ulterior motives. It's refreshing to be free of *** harassment or pressure. Although there are other women who consider gay men a tremendous turn on, and are titillated by the challenge to be their first and “convert" them.
It's offensive to be thoughtlessly thrown in together, as if we all shared the same *** desires or fantasies, or to be stereotyped as drag-queens or pinko sissies! Homosexuals are individuals and as different from one another as heterosexuals are. We have our “Marlboro Men" as well as a “Minnie Mouse" or two, some who are promiscuous and others who remain monogamous or celebrate celibacy. And the idiotic idea that homosexuals will jump for anything that happens to be male is an insult. Don't flatter yourself. Homosexuals have their own tastes, preferences and standards (or lack of them) like everybody else. Should that be so surprising?
Homosexuals shouldn't be equated with rapists. Rarely would they force themselves upon anyone who wasn't a willing person or a consenting adult. However, as in the “straight" world, there are those ugly exceptions to the rule who don't know how to take no for an answer or keep their hands to themselves. This isn't an attempt to promote homosexuality (it doesn't need any) or enlist hungry recruits. It's an honest effort to dispel myths and help rid people of dangerous misconceptions. Only the truth can liberate us from lies and deliver us from deception. A new and improved understanding is essential for everybody's growth.
As for those who might forget that homosexuals are human - whom Christ also died for and seeks to save - they'd do well to remember that immature name-calling falls into the same category of those who could be held in contempt of court (Mat. 5:22).
Hate-words such as nigger, spic, kike or faggot aren't representative of God's Kingdom. But then again, neither is yelling bigot or such brand names as sexist, homophobe, and racist (1 John 2:9). Condemning all Christians because of the words or actions of a few is foolish.
Sometimes we need to forcibly remind ourselves that everyone is potentially in God's image. We must hate the sin, but never the sinner. And we should hate the sin - not just because it upsets up or disturbs us personally - but because it's harming the sinner (whom we should love). This goes against the flow and demands that we rise above ourselves and our petty prejudices, but it's prayerfully possible (Mat. 5:45). And again, there are degrees of homosexuality. Some are “gay all the way" or bisexual (double trouble!), while others only experiment with it and decide it's not for them. There are also those who wish to God they were straight and could marry and have a family (often due to unbearable pressure or religious convictions).
Few homosexuals are mass murderers or child-molesters, contrary to exaggerated fears and bizarre movies or twisted individuals. Any “sex-offender" will be denied entrance into God's Kingdom (Rev. 21:27). Perverts will find themselves prevented from spoiling Paradise. It's not just because of their physical acts, but because of their mind's spiritual miscarriage. It's their attitude, not just their selfish actions, that abort their royal birth.
Active homosexuals and practicing heterosexuals, must repent of their *** sins and become practicing - not just professing - Christians! It's something that will have to be kept under control daily, even though it can be frustrating and frightening to forego such a personal part of our lives, but it's for a good cause: God's Kingdom (Isa. 56:4-5).
Remember, as stated before, God forbids any premarital or extramarital sex. He hasn't made an exception for homosexuals. There's no preferential treatment. Even if God did allow homosexuality - which He doesn't - that wouldn't excuse continued careless sex, but would require of homosexuals the same as heterosexuals: no illicit sex, a strictly monogamous relationship, and a sure commitment. God doesn't have a double-standard.
We have to overcome lust or it will overcome us. Without a doubt, sex is one of the greatest physical sensations. No wonder it's so popular - but it comes and it goes. Since we're here today and gone tomorrow - is sex (or a relationship) really worth giving up eternal life for? If we could only begin to grasp how transcendent, pure and glorious our spiritual experiences are destined to be - the rotting flesh can't compare! The divine delights are so far superior, utterly indescribable to mortal man, that it's mind-boggling! God is the joyous Fountain of Life with flowing Rivers of endless Pleasures (Ps. 16:11; 36:8)!
The Fire Within
Everyone - gay or straight - has the “fire" within (1 Cor. 7:9). Some burn more than others, but it's still there. God understands proper *** desire and simply commands that we develop His character to control and channel it. He knows our human need to love and be loved, to touch and feel, to give of ourselves totally in a reciprocal relationship. However, God requires that we find such fulfillment within the safe and secure boundaries of marriage, lest we careen out of control with unwanted children, abortion, devastating disease, scarred minds and abused bodies (Heb. 13:4). But it can be traumatic if you're NOT straight and marriage isn't an option! It's heartbreaking and gut-wrenching, initially, to realize God might want you to remain single, without a significant other ( 1 Cor. 7:24; Matt. 11:6). Although just being straight doesn't guarantee you'll ever marry, there's always that hope. Everything must be kept in Biblical focus or you'll lose your mind and salvation! God PURPOSELY calls some who aren't attached (1 Cor. 12:18). Why? It's easier for them to be wedded to God's Work and married to Christ's Mission (1 Cor. 7:32,35; Matt. 19:12).
Therefore, if someone can see through the smokescreen of exploited emotions and desires, and decides to love and obey Christ through it all - rejecting sin's advances and turning down its many propositions - God will highly honor and respect their efforts. He promises to love and comfort them, and graciously grant them an even greater strength and peace of mind (John 14:15-16, 27).
Dare to be different. Don't just follow the crowd - especially when they don't even know where they're going! The sooner you recognize the seriousness of sin, and act accordingly, the better (Ecc. 12:1). Youth is transient and one-night stands are vain. Wake up and smell the coffee!
Sin must become unthinkable (Jas. 1:14-15)! We can't afford to entertain any thoughts that would drag us both down and under, sweeping us away again (Mat. 5:28). We shouldn't risk going past the point of rescue. We should've learned our lesson by now and feel enough is enough! Haven't we graduated from the school of hard knocks? Therefore, we're sufficiently educated to reject the trial and error approach (1 Pet. 4:3). We know which “school of thought" is worthwhile and offers any sort of a future.
Understanding that we're living on borrowed time, that we've been given a new lease on life, and that we had been on death row (and yet received an unbelievable pardon from our Governor) - we must let go of the past and its corrosive influence (Philip. 3:13). We're to be dead to our old way of life and thinking (Ps. 146:4), and accept the resurrection that is in Christ (Rom. 6).
We're no longer to imbibe of alcohol excessively, but instead be embued with God's Holy Spirit (Ephes. 5:18). Our new moderation is intended to magnify God's glory, revealing His influence in our lives (Philip. 4:5). And we're not to be surprised when our old friends and former acquaintances express shock or challenge our change (1 Pet. 4:4). It doesn't compute with their old way of thinking. They're relying on out-dated information and really don't know the new you!
Knowing how grave and deceitful sin can be (Heb. 3:13), we're not to offer it any occasion to oppress us (Ephes. 4:27), nor ever attempt to compromise or participate in the charade of a “peaceful coexistence" (Deut. 7:2). Therefore, aware of the inherent dangers, we're to avoid those people, places or things that would throw fuel on our fire (Prov. 1:10; 4:14-15; 2 Tim. 2:22). Don't set yourself up for a fall, or be fooled by selfish flattery (Prov. 7:21), or seduced by lying eyes (Prov. 6:25). In short, beware the “devil in blue jeans!"
God can break the grip and release us from whatever hold vice might have on us (Isa. 45:2; Ps. 107:16). We don't have to remain creatures of habit. We can become God's Sons and Daughters. There is a Way out: God has provided us with a marvelous Door of opportunity - but we must walk through it (John 10:9). Instead of suffering paralysis (like prisoners of the past), let's look forward and go ahead, confident of our bright future (Mat. 13:43; Philip. 1:6).
David Ben-Ariel is a Christian-Zionist writer and author of Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall. With a focus on the Middle East and Jerusalem, his analytical articles help others improve their understanding of that troubled region. Check out the Beyond Babylon blog.