Former Lesbian Jackie Hill Perry Tells Christians Who Struggle With Same-Sex Attraction ‘You Are Not Your Temptations’

For born-again Christians who are still same-sex attracted, the world we find ourselves in has made sexuality central to our identity. Gayness is not just a way to act but a way to be. It is, as they say, “just who you are.” LGBT culture encourages us to find greater joy in identifying with sin rather than with the Creator.

By contrast, same-sex-attracted believers—like all believers—are called to find our identity in Christ. He begins in us a sanctification process, a beautiful miracle in which God enters in and starts turning the heart into the cathedral it was intended to be. We don’t just sit back and expect great fruitfulness to come from minimal zeal; we work alongside God to “act the miracle” (see Phil. 2:12–13) of sanctification into its grandest potential.

As someone who formerly lived in the lesbian lifestyle, I’ve experienced this transformation of the heart. But even now, when I begin to forget that I am loved, forgiven, and new, then I stop operating out of faith. I have to remind myself that the identity God has given me will always reveal the true nature of who I am.

The burden for same-sex-attracted Christians, then, is not to learn more about themselves or to “become a better you” as an entry into self-empowerment. Instead, the goal is to renew your minds so that you begin seeing yourselves in light of who God has revealed himself to be—and also so that you can glorify him in the ways he has commanded. This happens in the context of community, with much prayer, and with consistent, thoughtful internalizing of the Word of God.

Below are three frameworks for identity that I believe will help the same-sex-attracted believer as they “act the miracle” of sanctification, begin the journey of not being conformed to the world they were delivered from, and experience being “transformed by the renewing of [their] mind” (Rom. 12:2).

1. The identity of a saint: You are not your temptations.

Temptations talk a lot. They tell us of their potential. They speak of our need and say they can fix it. Temptation also brings shame. The same-sex-attracted Christian who resists out of habit can start to get a ragged ear, unraveled by the long-winded nature of the temptations they can’t help but hear. Shame wants us to believe it is accurate in its evaluation of us—that we are too wretched to be made new. Too dirty to be made clean. Too prone to sin for forgiveness to matter. It wants us to believe that the temptation to feel loved by someone of the same sex means that we are just a sinner beyond repair.

However, just because we are tempted does not mean that we are our temptations. We are what the cross has declared us to be: forgiven. Temptations may have a voice, but so does the Living God. The Scriptures—God breathed and eternally profitable—have the final say on the identity of the saint. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here” (2 Cor. 5:17).

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SOURCE: Christianity Today, Jackie Hill Perry

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