What If the Same-Sex Attractions Never Go Away?

In one sense, we could answer this question by saying, “All sinful desires will eventually go away when we will be completely conformed to the image of Christ.” I bet most people asking this question already knew the answer, but they are concerned mainly with their life before Christ’s return. The question is more likely, “Will I always have to struggle with these attractions? Will I ever experience a full victory over these sinful impulses in this life? And if I don’t, what does that mean for me?” 

These are hard questions to answer. I would venture to say they are impossible to answer because to answer them would require access to the mind of God. I simply don’t know. Is it possible that these same-sex attractions could disappear one day in this life? Absolutely. Is it certain that they will disappear in this life? I cannot say that it is. What I do know is that we will and must struggle and fight against sin until the day we die, or Christ returns. 

When this body of flesh, with all of its misdeeds and desires, is finally laid to rest in the ground or transformed at the appearing of Christ, then, and only then, will our fight against sin be over. So, it’s entirely possible that you or someone you know may struggle and fight against same-sex attraction for the rest of their lives on this earth. This is true of every Christian that has ever lived, regardless of the sins that they are waging war against. But thanks be to God that there is a day of victory of the flesh coming for all who are in Christ!

If you’re someone who struggled with same-sex attraction, this is no mere intellectual question. It’s a desperate one. You may ask, “But why? Why wouldn’t God just free me totally, right now, from this struggle?” This is such a deep question. 

In my own wrestling with sins that seem to be a daily struggle for me, I have found great comfort in the wisdom and sovereignty of God over my life. How does the wisdom and sovereignty of God over my life comfort me in the daily struggle with sins? Let me share something that revolutionized my way of thinking about the struggle. It comes from John Piper’s foreword to John Owen’s book Overcoming Sin and Temptation. Piper noted some of the nuggets of truth that lie within Owen’s book. I’ll never forget reading the paragraph and calling my brother. It was a perspective that I had never considered, but I hope it is beneficial to you, just as it was for me. Owen wrote, “God says, ‘Here is one, if he could be rid of this lust I should never hear of him more; let him wrestle with this, or he is lost.’” Piper goes on to comment on Owen’s point here, “Astonishing! God ordains to leave a lust with me till I become the sort of warrior who will still seek his aid when this victory is won. God knows when we can bear the triumphs of his grace.”

Did you catch that? Owen essentially answered our question by saying that sometimes God allows us to keep struggling with a particular sin (his term, lust) because He knows that if we were freed from the struggle, we would move on with our life in our own strength with no regard for our daily need for Him. That’s really deep, but it’s also very comforting. It is comforting to know that God is not only working in the lives of believers to conform them to Christ, but He is even working in our struggles against sin. For me, it meant that maybe the reason why I have not seen the victory over my sin of worry is because God knows that I am not yet mature enough to handle “the triumphs of his grace” over it. My struggle drives me to my knees daily. It causes me to plead with God for His mercy and grace, asking Him to increase my faith so that I might put my worry to death by the power of the Holy Spirit. And by allowing me to continue to struggle with the sin of worry, God is forming my identity in Christ in the fight of faith. He is showing me just how dependent I am on Him for everything. 

For those who struggle with same-sex attraction daily, who wonder why God has not answered your prayers for the desires to be removed, it may be because God loves you and knows you well enough to know what victories you can and can’t handle right now. As Owen noted, maybe God knows that if I were completely freed from my struggle with worry or you were completely freed from your struggle with same-sex attraction, we would not look to Him as we do now. We might carry on with our lives in our own strength, thinking that because we have had a victory over these particular sins, now we do not need Him. “God knows when we can bear the triumphs of his grace.”

In God’s wisdom and sovereignty, He knows what’s best for shaping our identity in greater conformity to Christ. While all sorts of struggles with sin will persist until the day when we are completely free, we can trust that God is at work by His Spirit to make us more like Jesus. There is peace here. May the Lord give us eyes to see it, ears to hear it, and the faith to receive it, as Christ, the hope of glory, is formed in us.

Excerpted from Known for Love: Loving Your LGBTQ Family & Friends Without Compromising Biblical Truth by Casey B. Hough. (©2024). Published by Moody Publishers. Used with permission.