Healing & Growth: Change or Obedience?
Men and women come to Regeneration when they want to be healed of homosexuality. Typically, if a man is honest with his feelings, he wants to exchange his homosexual lust for heterosexual lust, and the woman, in her heart, wants God to enable her to live her life in a sanctified relationship with another woman.
How merciful is our God, for He seems to say, "Okay, we'll start at that," and He allows us to start down the road toward change with our eye on a goal that is not only far less than His best for us, but a goal which in itself may be sinful and still reflecting our brokenness.
Our goals seem always, at first, to be selfish. After all, what brings anyone to a ministry like Regeneration other than great pain, the pain of struggle with great temptation, the pain of longings that cannot be satisfied, the pain of a life that is out of control. We are hurt, we are in great conflict, and we want relief. God heal me so the pain will go away. Change is the only answer -- if only it is possible.
But there is a great flaw in this. Our agenda is still self-centered, and a self-centered life is not one that is likely to change. Our homosexuality was totally self-centered -- I will meet my needs at all costs -- and it didn't work. Neither will a self-centered Christian life.
For the person who remains self-centered, when the road out is not working and change doesn't occur as fast as we think it should -- and it almost never does -- discouragement, even despair, sets in. Some give up and fall away. Others hold on, determined to somehow live within boundaries that can give them some relief and satisfaction while at the same time not leading them across the line into obvious rebellion. This latter group is similar to those who live out their lives in the gay world with the forlorn cry, "I know it's a rotten life, but what else is there for me?"
For "the program" to work, a fundamental change must take place. Our agenda must shift from self-centered to God-centered. But as people still strongly affected by powerful hurts and needs, how do we back away from the central place in our universe, and allow God to take his proper place? We do it with a decision -- a decision to accept a new goal or purpose in life. We give up our goal of being healed, and we accept the goal of being obedient.
With this change, all of life starts to change, things start to fall into their proper place. God is God, and we are His people. Our focus shifts from ourselves and our needs to His desires and His purposes. Jesus becomes central and we become like the servants or handmaids of the Lord, always looking to our master. We start to enter into a love relationship with Jesus, and it is in this relationship that real healing starts to occur. With Jesus at the center, and not our clamoring needs, we can start to hear His voice, to receive His word of truth into our hearts -- the Truth that sets us free.
Don't receive this as "good advice", just like all of the other advice you've received -- to do things that you ultimately found you could not do. It's not like that. To make the decision is simply that, to make a decision. Making the decision is not contingent on our belief that we can do anything differently. We do have to count the cost, we do have to consciously lay our agenda on the altar, but then we simply make the decision. But then the decision itself makes the change, for it places God's will at the center, and once that happens, all sorts of things start to occur, many of them beyond our understanding. God cherishes and honors that decision. "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love...(John 14:10)." That love is the dwelling place where healing can take place.
A word of caution though: even this exchange can be a part of our self-centered control: "Yes, God, I'll be obedient, and then you will have to heal me." No, in our deepest heart the commitment must be: "God, even if you never heal me, I want to be obedient to You."
Doesn't it seem that the whole Christian life is a paradox? We die that we may live; we give and we find ourselves receiving; we love and we find that we are loved. We give up our agenda, the greatest longings of our heart, we sacrifice that to simply be obedient, and we find that the greatest longings of our heart are met.
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