Heterosexuality or Holiness?

There’s a saying among SSA groups that goes something similar to, “We strive for holiness and not heterosexuality.” And I think that’s an excellent biblical perspective. But I’m just curious how many actually believe that and live it out.

I think that we can reword the saying and make it a little more personal. How about, “I desire holiness more than I desire heterosexuality.” When it is phrased like this, I think it will reveal more about our hearts. One thing I have noticed is that those who struggle with SSA and are less spiritually mature, tend to be more concerned with the heterosexuality part, rather than the holiness. I do not at all think this is isolated to SSA strugglers, but that all Christians who are not as mature. Part of growing up is learning what’s really important. But if I ask you “Do you desire holiness more than heterosexuality?” your answer to that question will reveal much about your heart – and who you are worshipping.

See, if I ask you “Why do you want to be heterosexual” and your answers are something like, “I don’t want to be alone, I want to be married” or “I want to be normal” or “I want to have a family.” Then I would venture to say those are all pretty self-centered reasons. But if I ask you, “Why do you want to be holy,” well it’s not impossible, but it would be more difficult to have self-centered reasons. I hope your answer would be, “Because God is glorified by me living an obedient life to him.”

I am not saying that there is anything wrong with the desire to be heterosexual, to be married, or to be free from SSA. I think those are all good desires. The problem is when those desires supersede your desire to be holy, to be obedient to God in whatever circumstance or life situation you may be in. The reason is that if your desire to be heterosexual is greater than your desire to be holy, then I think there’s a decent chance your desire to please yourself is greater than your desire to please God. And that in your heart, maybe without realizing it, you have set up idols and are worshipping yourself.

So with this in mind, I want to encourage you to look to the cross, to preach the gospel to yourself every day. To savor the beauty of the grace that God has poured out on you. And every day I hope you find the gospel sweeter and more satisfying so that your one desire, your one zealous passion, will be to glorify God and make much of Him.

– Doc

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Tempted and Tried…an excerpt

Resisting Temptation and Responding to the Accuser

Russell Moore:

Gospel freedom is the most important aspect of resisting temptation.

Remember that Satan’s power over you is first and foremost the power of accusation and threatened death.

In Christ, though, you have already been indicted, judged, executed, and resurrected.

You are “dead to sin” and “alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11).

Regardless of whether you support or oppose the death penalty, you’d probably wince to hear about a state that executed a murderer and then had a public flogging of his corpse. Your discomfort there wouldn’t be because you’re soft on murder but because that act would be insanely beside the point. After all, an executed corpse can’t be punished anymore. It’s over.

Likewise, you’ve been to hell, in the cross of Christ.

You’ve been buried beneath the judgment of God, turned over to the Devil, and you are gone.

Now you stand in Christ, hidden in his identity, and thus free from any accusation.

Knowing that truth doesn’t lead you to yield to temptation but instead to fly from it.

You’re not hiding from God anymore.

Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ, p. 170.

For more comments and excerpts about the book, click here.

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Are you walking by the Spirit or following your flesh?

16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Galatians 5:16-26

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Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”

Denny Burk provides some good insight into Lady Gaga’s song “Born This way”

“Born This Way” is making a theological point. It contends that sexual orientation is an innate and immutable quality of the human condition—a trait that we are “born” with. Whether you are gay, straight, or whatever, God made you this way, and for that reason you should embrace it. Or as Gaga herself puts it, “I’m beautiful in my way ’cause God makes no mistakes. I’m on the right track baby. I was born this way.”

The message of the song drinks deeply of the “is-ought” fallacy—the idea that we can determine what ought to be by observing what is. The song’s message also flies in the face of the Bible’s depiction of a fallen creation. It is true that God created human beings in His own image and that as a result every single human has intrinsic value and worth (Genesis 1:26-27). It is not true, however, that God endorses every thought and intention of the human heart. We live in a Genesis 3 world in which humanity and the cosmos are fallen and compromised by sin. That means that some of our desires are misdirected—even some of the ones that we are born with. That we desire sin from birth is not a cause for celebratory anthems but an indication of just how desperate the human condition really is (Psalm 51:5; 58:3; Jeremiah 17:9).

Here’s the link to Justin Taylor’s post on it.

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Contextualization of “Son of God” to Muslims

Having been on a couple of mission trips ministering to Muslims, this was an issue I encountered on the field. Here are a couple of links to articles talking about how we can be true to the Scriptures and yet remove obstacles to sharing the Gospel with Muslims. – Doc

The primary article is here, by Collin Hansen from Christianity Today.
Here’s an excerpt:

The results may be encouraging, but the scholarship is flawed, according to several accomplished academics whose expertise spans both testaments. The scholars, including Darrell Bock (Dallas Theological Seminary), Jack Collins (Covenant Theological Seminary), and Vern Poythress (Westminster Theological Seminary), doubted they could endorse any alternative to “Son of God.” They expressed sympathy with missionaries who want to dispel mistaken notions held by Muslims. But they found fault with alternatives, particularly using Christ where “Son of God” originally appeared. If “Son of God” and Christ are strict synonyms, they note, then usage of both terms in Scripture is redundant; Peter did not confess, “You are the Christ, the Christ.”

” ‘Messiah’ is not an adequate substitute for ‘Son of God,’ ” Poythress wrote. “Both have the same referent, namely Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. But they do not have the same meaning. . . . The Greek expressions for ‘Messiah’ and ‘the Son of God’ do have similar meanings, in that both, in many contexts, indicate something about Jesus’ role as kingly ruler under commission from God. Moreover, both expressions evoke what people know or think they know about the great deliverer sent by God. But ‘Son of God,’ unlike ‘Messiah,’ indicates an analogy with a human family relationship. And it also has the potential to connote personal intimacy and love.”

Here is a post from someone on the field about his thoughts on the issue: The Son of God and Ministry to Muslims.

And here is an interview by Trevin Wax regarding the issue: A Conversation with Collin Hansen and J. D. Greear.

Thanks to J. Taylor for the links.

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How does the gospel conquer the sin of pornography?

Posted in Sanctification, Sin | 1 Comment

Waiting…

As a single guy desiring to be married (and struggling with same-sex attraction), waiting is something that can be difficult to do. However, if you truly believe that God is good and that He is in control of all situations in your life – then you can find comfort and rest in Him.

Paul Tripp wrote an excellent post, Spiritual Muscle Development, about waiting on God. And here are some lyrics from a song that speak the truth that you can trust in God, because after all, He is the author of the story. – Doc

I’m closer than you can see
My love is greater than you know
Feel the weight of my mercy
My arms are open

I already know who’s gonna save you
I already wrote the end of the story
You were made for me and I’ll never leave you
and in the end it’s all for my glory

Your life is my melody
Part a song that I am singing
in the dark it’s hard to see
but there will be redemption in the morning.

Cling to me and wait
As I cover you with my garments
Can’t you see you are my clay
and I’m the potter and you’re carryin’ my fingerprints

I already know who’s gonna save you
I already wrote the end of the story
You were made for me and I’ll never leave you
and in the end you will be happy
and in the end you will be with me
and in the end it’s all for my glory

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