The following post is adapted from Christopher and Angela Yuan’s book, Out of A Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope. We encourage you to listen to their story today through next Monday on Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, especially if you or someone you know is affected by homosexuality, or if you’re a parent of a prodigal. This excerpt is written by Christopher.
As Christopher came to faith in Christ, he continued to battle sexual temptation that he had given into for so many years. In his book, he explains how God began to change his thinking in this area of his life. The following is a brief excerpt from a chapter where he gives a fuller (and helpful) treatment of this difficult subject. We’d encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and read further.
Holy sexuality means one of two scenarios. The first scenario is marriage. If a man is married, he must devote himself to complete faithfulness to his wife. And if a woman is married, she must devote herself to complete faithfulness to her husband. The idea that I might marry a woman had seemed like an impossibility—though God could do the impossible. But the truth was, I did not need to be attracted to women in general to get married; I needed to be attracted to only one woman.
Heterosexuality is a broad term that focuses on sexual feelings and behaviors toward the opposite gender. It includes lust, adultery, and sex before marriage—all sins according to the Bible. God calls married people to something much more specific—holy sexuality. Holy sexuality means focusing all our sexual feelings and behaviors exclusively toward one person, our spouse.
The second scenario of holy sexuality is singleness. Single people must devote themselves to complete faithfulness to the Lord through celibacy. This is clearly taught throughout Scripture, and abstinence is not something unfair or unreasonable for God to ask of his people. Singleness is not a curse. Singleness is not a burden. As heirs of the new covenant, we know that the emphasis is not on procreation but regeneration. But singleness need not be permanent. It merely means being content in our present situation while being open to marriage—and yet not consumed by the pursuit of marriage.
Holy sexuality doesn’t mean that I no longer have any sexual feelings or attractions. Nor is it the obliteration of my sexuality either. God created us as sexual beings with the natural desire for intimacy. And everyone is created to desire intimate, God-honoring, nonsexual relationships with the same gender. But because of the effects of original sin, this normal feeling has been distorted. I believe homosexuality (and any other sin, such as jealousy, pride, and gluttony) stems from a legitimate need fulfilled in an illegitimate way.
So the question is, if I continue to have these feelings I neither asked for nor chose, will I still be willing to follow Christ no matter what? Is my obedience to Christ dependent on whether he answered my prayers my way? God’s faithfulness is proved not by the elimination of hardships but by carrying us through them. Change is not the absence of struggles; change is the freedom to choose holiness in the midst of our struggles. I realized that the ultimate issue has to be that I yearn after God in total surrender and complete obedience.
What do I think I can’t live without? This was the question I had been asking. And finally, I was finding some answers. I was realizing that there were a lot of things I could live without—and it was freeing. I was not controlled by my past addictions, my old idols, my sexual attractions, or my sexuality.
What do I think I can’t live without? Well, there was one thing, or more specifically one person, I knew I couldn’t live without—Jesus. And I needed more and more of Him each day.
Lord, you are sufficient; you are all I need . . . and don't let me ever, ever forget that.
Excerpted from Out Of A Far Country by Christopher Yuan & Angela Yuan by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.