Why Surrender…self denial really?
One of the most common statements I hear from my gay identified friends; is why would you deny who you really are? I don’t understand why you need to surrender your sexuality. Why would you walk away from your friends and community, who understand and accept you?
These are questions I have asked myself and wrestled with over the last three and half years. Here is the answer I reached; as a follower of Jesus it is what He asks us to do “deny ourselves”! Here are some key Bible verses that support this idea.
23 Jesus said to everyone, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23 Common English Bible
“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?” Luke 9:23-24 New Living Translation
“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?” Mark 8:34-37 The Message
Surrender and self denial are hard concepts to embrace and even more challenging to live out. I have concluded that G_d places this expectation upon us not because He is sadistic in nature, but because He has only the best intentions for our lives. He ultimately only seeks our highest good, desiring only what is best for our lives. Surrender has become an aspect of my life as I come into agreement with God and His word. (the Bible)
Secondly, what God asks me to surrender or deny myself of be very different than it is for anyone else. I have willing chosen to surrender my sexuality to the leadership of Jesus Christ, not because it felt good or was easy; but because it was the central aspect of my life that I derived all meaning and pleasure from. In essence my sexuality was my god. I lived for over four decades believing that being a lesbian was part of my genetic make-up. Again I still believe that sexuality is comprised of one’s environment, choices, perceptions, and genetics.
So what does surrendering my sexuality look like?
1.) I have accepted the Biblical definition of sexuality. This means, that God created men and women to be together in a marriage relationship. This is God’s optimal best for both men and women concerning sexual relationships.
2.) I have come to realize that we live in a fallen broken world where every aspect of our humanity has been affected by sin. I think it is possible that even our genetic make-up can be altered by the effects of sin. Therefore we suffer with the effects of relational brokenness in every aspect of our lives.
3.) I have had to embrace the Bible as wholly true or not at all. It is not to be taken out of context nor is a pick and chose free for all. If this is so then I am obliged to live my life in accordance with it even if this means denying myself what I think to be right or natural.
4.) I must embraced the fact that any sexual relationship outside of the marriage relationship is a sin. (knowing the right thing to do and not doing it) This would include Same Sex Relationships and heterosexual relationships outside of marriage. Let me clarify that at the time of this writing my attractions have not changed and I am not seeking to be in a martial relationship at this time. I willingly to choose a life of celibacy and sexual purity.
Yes, I know there are a multitude of self proclaimed Christians that do not live in accordance with this aspect of God’s word; but then again this isn’t about them. It is about my personal relationship with Jesus Christ and holding myself accountable to His word. What others do is between Him and them.
It is never painless to deny ourselves; most often it is extremely costly. For me I have choose to deny myself the right to same sex relationships and to live in sexual purity, because I want to honor God with my life. In exchange I have gained internal peace that is not explainable. I know who God is and found Him to be good and just and worthy of whatever He asks of my life.
Not an easy message to share in a world that revolves around self pleasure and personal fulfillment. I think it comes down to this; will I live for myself and what pleases me or will I follow Jesus not matter what the personal cost is.
In conclusion, I do know God honors our choice to follow Him or not He does not force his will upon us.
What will your choice be?
My journey grows richer with each passing day. I welcome your thoughts and questions.