If you missed my blog posts Monday and yesterday, you might want to go back and read them before continuing on with today’s article. Although I wrote both articles with the question of same sex attraction in mind, I wanted to lay some groundwork by examining temptation in general. I firmly believe that temporarily removing homosexuality from the conversation helps us think more Biblically about this matter.
Monday I differentiated between external temptations and temptations that originate from our own lusts. I tried to show that internal temptations merely expose sin that we already harbor in our hearts. Jesus used heterosexual lust as an example of this principle.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. ~~Matthew 5:27-28 (ESV)
Lust feels like merely the temptation to have sex, but Jesus made it abundantly evident that lust itself constitutes a sinful act.
Recently, people who experience homosexual desires try to convince Christians that same sex attractions are morally neutral unless a person physically acts on those desires. Does that mean that God gives more leniency to people with same sex attractions than He gives to people with opposite sex attractions? Or perhaps it means that heterosexuals no longer need to take Matthew 5:27-28 seriously.
Having spent a large portion of my life around Christians who struggled with same sex attractions, I do sympathize with their pain. To them, same sex attractions feel normal and natural. When they see heterosexuals pursue romantic relationships, they wonder why they can’t at least experience their mental attractions without feeling guilty.
Yet Matthew 5:27-28 doesn’t allow heterosexuals to fantasize about someone that God forbids them to have physically. Being John’s wife automatically prohibits me from being attracted to anyone other than John. Yes, heterosexuality is normal and natural for me, but I may no longer entertain romantic or sexual feelings toward anyone except my husband.
As I wrote yesterday, however, Christ Jesus extends grace to His people. Those of His who battle against same sex attractions have as much access to His grace as any other Christian. And look at Scripture’s promise about grace:
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. ~~Titus 2:11-14 (ESV)
Whether a Christian struggles against inordinate opposite sex attractions or same sex attractions, God’s grace gives power over even wrong thoughts. Because of His grace, we can put all sinful thoughts to death, no matter how natural those thoughts may feel.
Don’t fall for the idea that we can’t help our feelings. Not when Jesus promises to help our feelings by His grace! Yes, even same sex attractions!