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Unwanted same-sex attraction and free will

Desires and needs
[PHOTO:UNSPLASH/ALEXISFAUVET]

Some desires people experience are wanted, while others are unwanted. People choose to act on certain desires for various reasons while rejecting other desires. Human beings are free to make their own choices based on their beliefs, values, goals, etc.

Some people experience same-sex attraction, but not everyone chooses to act on that attraction. Some people eventually choose to reject this desire because it conflicts with their beliefs. 

Man is not a robot. He does not have to act on every impulse he experiences. We get to choose which longings to act on, and which ones to reject and replace.

No one chooses to have same-sex attraction, but everyone gets to choose how to respond to their personal inclinations. This includes desires in every area of life, which extend far beyond our sexuality.

How should I respond if I want to get even with someone who has wronged me? What if I desire to return a kind act with another kind act? What should I do if I become upset when seeing an injustice take place? We can accept or reject the various longings we experience every day. And we can work to replace certain desires with preferable desires.

Here are the stories of 18 people who have all dealt with unwanted same-sex attraction. These particular individuals are making daily choices aimed at circumventing this particular desire with a preferable mindset. Every human being is free to choose which desires to replace, and which desires to embrace.

God created you with free will. Your desires do not have to define you. Instead, you get to define yourself according to the desires you choose to pursue. And you get to choose the information you feed into your mind, which will often result in one kind of “fire” or another. Two examples are the fire of sexual lust (see Ephesians 4:19) and the fire of the Holy Spirit in your heart. Scripture instructs believers: “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Life can be extremely challenging when you feel overwhelmed by unwanted cravings. Millions of people have discovered how Scripture meditation helps to center their life around God’s purposes. It can help you sort through your desires as you determine which ones to accept, and which ones to reject and replace.

The yearnings you currently experience may not be governing your life three months from now. A lot will depend upon what content fills your mind between now and then, and how you respond to the particular desires you experience.

Have you ever seen someone successfully reject and replace certain unwanted desires? It happens more often than you may realize. Some measure of success today, however, does not remove the need for vigilance in your thought life tomorrow. Ultimately, we become who we choose to become, but change requires a disciplined mind under the control of the Holy Spirit.

It is important to remember that your identity need not be defined by just one of your current attractions or desires. It is entirely possible to have your identity rooted in the knowledge of your Creator. 

Here is an approach with some real power behind it. Try reading the first chapter of the book of Colossians in the New Testament, and then read it again every day for a week. Watch what happens when you begin to fill your mind with specific details about the One who created human beings, as well as everything else in the universe.

When you meditate upon key facts about your Creator and Redeemer, you open your heart to experience new desires. And I don’t just mean in the area of your sexuality. That is only one part of your existence. You are much more complex than just that one area, no matter what today's culture tries to drill into your brain.

As a created being, you have the capacity to experience a wonderful relationship with your Creator. The Bible says, “Come near to God and He will come near to you" (James 4:8). Regardless of your current attractions and impulses, the God of the universe will meet you right where you find yourself today. He does not desire to condemn you. Instead, the Lord would love to have a close relationship with you.

Forget about all your preconceived notions concerning God and Christianity. Try coming to God with a blank canvas and an open heart. Try coming to God as someone who is just as broken as the rest of humanity. And as you open your heart to God, do so with a willingness for the Lord to create holy desires within you.

Believe it or not, people all around the world today are experiencing new life in Christ. Regardless of your current attractions, desires, and preconceived notions, this would be the perfect time in your life to turn to the Bible. Look for your Creator in the love letter He gave to His children in 66 books written by 40 authors over 1500 years.

Start with one chapter. Meditate on it. Let it soak in. And just watch what happens when you begin to orient your mind around the One who made you, rather than around the personal passions currently screaming for your attention.

Why are those attractions screaming in the first place? Because they are incredibly weak and impotent when compared to the One who whispers to you in His strength and wisdom: “Come to me ... and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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