For those of us overcoming life-dominating issues such as unwanted same-sex attractions, it is essential for us to have a right understanding about what “overcoming” means and have an eternal perspective about it. Proverbs 29:18 states, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law” (NASB). Our vision—our big-picture understanding—for our obedience to God’s Word is profoundly important when navigating through the confusion of this world. When we lose vision, we cast off restraint. We must have clarity about both the redemptive power of God here and now and our eternal destiny.
Sometimes believers make the mistake of thinking overcoming is the complete and total absence of struggle. I have found, however, that healing is much more of a progressive work. There are many moments of overcoming along the way. I teach our participants that there are three stages to victory:
1) Sincere intention to obey God. (If you only measure your life in achievements, it will result in condemnation.)
2) Partial break through yet with a continued struggle.
3) Substantial breakthrough with transformed desires.
When Christians do not understand the reality of the healing journey or process, they often get discouraged along the way. People in recovery must often remind themselves of the old adage: Progress, not perfection. For the one struggling with same-sex attractions (SSA), this understanding is very helpful. Most likely, transformation will not happen in an instant, but it will be a journey of progressive healing. Make no mistake, though, that a life submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ will be transformed. Jesus Christ has life changing power, even for the SSA struggler!
Having worked for over 15 years with men and women struggling with SSA, I have seen this transformation process happen over and over again. I have watched these men and women come into a sense of gender wholeness and move beyond homosexuality into heterosexual marriage and family or into singleness, using it as a good gift to the Body of Christ.
In addition to having a right view of “overcoming” on this side of heaven, it is essential to have an eternal perspective of “overcoming” and the rewards given to those individuals who persevere until the end. As Christians, our great hope is eternity with Christ, ruling and reigning with Him on the earth.
The book of Revelation gives us great insight into some of the eternal rewards for those who overcome. Let me offer a few examples:
To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. —Revelation 2:7 (NKJV)
The Bride of Christ will feast for all of eternity on the knowledge of God in the King’s garden. In Genesis, we were banned from Eden and entered a fallen world that we were never meant to experience. What will it be like to finally return to Paradise—can you imagine? Take some time to think about it, meditate on it. Get this reality into your vision for overcoming. Our eternal destiny is not playing a harp on a cloud forever. It is a dynamic, joyful and exhilarating life in the Paradise of God.
To him who overcomes . . . I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. —Revelation 2:17
There is a new dimension of your identity that only God knows—a secret with which you can finally be trusted. How amusing to ponder what such a new name might be. How entertaining it will be to get to know all over again the people whom we have known and loved while on the earth. There will be so much more to know and love! Once again, get this eternal reality into your vision for overcoming. It will fuel your journey.
And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations . . . as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. —Revelation 2:26-28
One day you will shine in the presence of God, and not just with a little glow. You will shine like the sun in all its strength because you will live in a Light we cannot even imagine. Jesus, the Bright and Morning Star, will give us Himself!
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. —Revelation 3:5
Can you imagine Jesus explaining who you are to the Father and to His angels? I absolutely cannot wait to hear Jesus describe me to the Father! What does He know about me that I don’t know? What words will He use? How will the angels respond? What’s more, how will the Father react?
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. —Revelation 3:21
The government of Jesus will know no end. The meek will inherit the earth and rule and reign with Jesus forever.
On this side of heaven we progressively overcome, and in eternity, we will be greatly rewarded for working out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). If you have sincerely decided in your heart to obey God, you already have victory. If you don’t quit, don’t give up and don’t give in, you will be shocked and amazed at how richly the Father will compensate you in eternity. We will see that our troubles truly were light and momentary (2 Corinthians 4:17). In these difficult days, let us therefore press on toward the prize (Philippians 3:14) with even greater vigor and intensity. It’s going to be worth it!