The most frequently-asked question I encounter by new participants or others inquiring about Outpost Ministries is, “What is the success rate of people finding freedom from unwanted same-sex attractions?” Ultimately, they want to know, “How much is this decision going to cost, and will it really work?” I don’t blame them for asking the question; I myself asked the very same thing four years ago. I have found throughout my own healing journey, as well as through helping others on their own journeys, that there is a surprisingly simple response to this question. To individuals inquiring about healing success rates, I ask, “How do you define healing?” and “To what extent are you willing to follow Christ?” We will experience healing and transformation through relationship and obedience to Jesus. Our allegiance to Christ—our everyday commitment to Him through our trials and temptations—is an extremely important aspect of our Christian faith, for “. . . faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless” (James 2:17, NLT).
Defining “healing” is essential to the believer. First, he or she must know that we are forgiven and justified—made righteous—upon accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross on our behalf. Inner-healing is the process that follows, agreeing with God about our identity in Him. I have found that choosing Jesus’ lordship is absolutely foundational to the healing process. In the fall of 2011, I declared, “Jesus, I believe that you can and will heal me from my same-sex attractions, but even if you don’t, I will not make it my god any longer. Instead, You are my Lord and the One who sits on the throne in my life, not my same-sex attractions.” From that day on, my process of healing could begin. That doesn’t mean I no longer struggle with same-sex attractions on any level, but it does mean I am free from the power to be ruled and controlled by them. Thus, I can declare healing and freedom really have occurred in my life! I may spend the rest of my life seeking the Lord and finding increasing freedom, but that is part of taking up my cross and following Him (Matthew 16:24). I don’t do this perfectly by any means, but it is my joy to lay down my temptations and struggles before Him and confess, “I want you more.”
Our culture claims that anyone who experiences any attractions towards the same sex are not and cannot be healed from homosexuality. If this definition of healing—the absence of struggle—were transferred to other forms of addictions or unwanted behaviors, there would be an uproar among the recovering alcoholics, drug users, compulsive gamblers and anger management participants. Although these people still experience temptation to use or even on occasion act out, they probably would not appreciate being labelled “unrecovered” or “unhealed” after their hard work towards sobriety. Those in recovery of any sorts, including from unwanted same-sex attractions, know that their healing is not based on temptations or lack of struggle. It is based on their willingness to get back up after sin occurs.
We have a choice as believers to continue to recover and move on from the temptations that we face, whether it be once or a hundred times throughout a day. The process of following Christ is referred to in Philippians 2:12 as “working out one’s salvation.” The first question I ask the women I mentor is, “What is your commitment to obedience to Christ?” They quickly learn that transformation can only begin when they have committed their whole selves to the One who gave all of Himself. When we declare total allegiance towards Christ, it is not that we won’t experience temptation or decide to sin, but it is that we hate our sin, repent of it, and seek after Christ to renew us from it. It is through this process of sanctification, as well as time spent with God, that we can truly encounter Him. When we truly encounter the Lord, it is impossible not to transform.
Though we live in a world which is unfamiliar with holiness, we must seek holiness, “for the LORD our God is holy” (Psalm 99:9). In the presence of God’s holiness, we are continually made new. For we cannot see the face of Christ and not be changed forever. Likewise, a person who struggles with unwanted same-sex attractions will experience transformation if he or she wholeheartedly seeks the Lord (Jeremiah 29:13). Transformation, however, doesn’t always occur in a timely manner or in the way in which we desire. Thank God! I used to cry out for the Lord to save me instantly from homosexuality. Now, I am so glad that He didn’t. I would have missed out on the chance to follow, trust, and obey the Lord without knowing the results! One of my favorite quotes comes from Oswald Chambers regarding this matter: “Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.” Do you trust the One who is leading? Will you be faithful to Him no matter the outcome? Or are you offended by His statutes and plan of redemption for you?
Jesus is worthy of our allegiance. He is worthy of our praise. He is worthy of our sacrifice. Through the power of Christ’s forgiveness, we can begin our healing journey in the moment we entrust our lives to Him. Then, we get to experience the transformation that He has for each one of us on our own individual journeys with Him. The love and healing He has for you is so rich and satisfying. Don’t sell out for anything less than the deep love, forgiveness, and life-change He has in store for you. If only you would give Him your whole life. If only you would follow after Him with no conditions or expectations. The journey of following after Christ is an adventure, to say the least! It is filled with wildness, excitement, and unknown blessings. Give Him your life and just see what He can make out of your brokenness!