A Cross Orientation


A Cross Identity

Praise God! He is patient with us. And praise God, what seems like an eternity to me, is only like a blink to Him. I wonder what kind of expression some of our earthly claims and declarations put on His face. Especially when we allow ourselves to focus on self, rather than His perfect example.

I was raised with Him right there by me. His Word was read daily. His ways were taught to me and I struggled to absorb His truth, always seeking clarification of right and wrong. When I began to personally identify with the description of the homosexual described in God’s Word, a great fear came over me. I knew His truth. Why did my feelings clash with the truth I read about? Why didn’t the church have an explanation or offer me help?

Christians in most faith over the years have not dealt well with what they have not understood. Homosexuality was a huge taboo in a secular society, let alone the mere mention of it among those who placed their belief in God, professing to live pure lives. So for hundreds of years, this secret has slept under church pews.

With the modernization of the secular world and the advances in technology, sin has taken on brazen socializations. Early in broadcasting, you would never hear the name of our Lord taken in vain. People had respect even though they may not believe in God. But money and sin have a unique relationship and with that clear realization, the airwaves have since known no restraint.

Television quickly turned into Satan’s classroom. Masterful and clever when it comes to mesmerizing people; Satan gradually, …and then with momentum, introduced homosexuality as a human right. Non believers of God and His Holy Word began to exercise their rights. These proposed civil rights began to manifest themselves in the freedom of speech, which hasn’t given glory to God.  Thus anything and everything in the way of personal beliefs and man-made truths began to have great influence. Those with natural, unbridled sinful inclinations began to think nothing of declaring their right to be who they are based on their feelings. Such individuals exercising their “rights” have chipped away at the reverence and respect for their Creator. They have stolen time that man should have used to seek truth and draw closer to their heavenly father.  But a thorough reflection in Biblical history will show how there have always been ways to distract and deceive those who are not grounded in God’s instructions and obedience to Him.

Originally, in the Garden of Eden, Satan was allowed to tempt, distract and deceive Adam and Eve who made a choice not to believe Jesus. It boils down to choosing not to believe that God loves us enough to know what is best for us. When we act on our feelings which can be foolish, instead of standing firm in His Word, we reap a harvest of guilt and unnecessary suffering.  God foretold of such falls and of man giving into temptation and the perilous results. But because He loves His children, He came and lived a perfect life, told of His gospel and then bore the sins of the world by hanging on a cross and dying of a broken heart. He lived this perfect life and offered it for us to claim when we fail to live as He did.  Not instead of living that perfect life, but to make up the difference where we have fallen short due to our sinful nature.

In this singular act, He promised that people of all sinful orientations having committed all kinds of sins, would be given forgiveness when repentant, and He offers new life in Jesus Christ.  Paul says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Sadly, without guidance, support and help from the church I was raised in, I decided to act upon my feelings, my attractions and my sin influenced orientation because of my sinful nature. By following through with my actions and repressed feelings, I proceeded to become a homosexual, living a lifestyle that did not glorify God and I committed unthinkable acts against God and His plan for me.

I thank God that He provided me with safety and health for the duration of my life living in that homosexual orientation. I allowed this sinful orientation to take over my desires, instead of living a life oriented in Jesus Christ. The scars of living by my feelings and acting on my attractions are with me for life. But a new life in Jesus is possible and mine to claim if I choose.

Millions of gays and homosexuals who never received the proper direction or developed the personal relationship with Jesus in order not to fall to temptation, became outcasts and unaccepted by congregations of many faiths.  Had love and compassion been represented and shown to those individuals who suffered greatly, fewer would have been held captive in today’s gay lifestyle. Had guidance and teaching been given, perhaps they would have never felt like they must boldly “come out” as gay. But because of the church’s ignorance, there was lack of help from pastors and congregations where there had been initial signs of such a crisis. Souls fell through a denomination that failed to embrace them and help connect them to their heavenly father. Some were intentionally ostracized from the church and from experiencing God’s love. This only perpetuated the sinner to be caught up in feelings of rejection and self indulgence which contributes to openly accepting the alternative to Christian living.

Today, the openness of how people identify and the fact there is little left as sacred when it comes to television (Satan’s Classroom), has helped force an awareness that the church has needed to wake up to. At last we are becoming aware of the need to rescue and present God’s saving grace to ALL sinners.

When Christian ministries began to seek to convert the homosexual sinner, various approaches were initiated. Some brought about less than positive results. Unfortunately many had put the focus on the sinner, instead of on Christ.

Exodus International was an early leader in the conversion of homosexuals. The identifier they had put on this new relationship in Jesus was that of “ex-gay.” Later studies would prove that the emphasis of claiming to be “ex-gay,” gave the impression that converts must now strive to be “straight.” This focus and expectation resulted in a number of converted gays falling away from their new found identity, because they simply could not live up to the expectation.  Many thought they were to start dating and seeking the relationship that they had originally been unable to live up to, instead of focusing on where Jesus would lead them in a daily walk with Him.  A study was conducted and it showed that a significant percentage of these converts were returning to the gay lifestyle and now identify as “ex ex-gay.”

Then came a person that eventually brought considerable embarrassment and shame to the Adventist faith.  Colin Cook surfaced as an individual claiming the homosexual cure. The church was ignorant for the most part, not knowing anything about homosexuality, other than it being sin. Church leadership accepted and employed Mr. Cook, turning their head the other way while those seeking hope turned to Mr. Cook and his proposed cure-alls that were no more than tools of seduction, deception and self glorification, leaving an “egg on your face” result on the denomination. This result has had a lasting effect and a strong resistance to adopt any other ministries dealing with homosexuality.  Satan could not be happier.

Look around at the millions and millions of souls deceived by Satan’s ability to capture their belief that feelings equal truth and that the love they claim for one another, while being a counterfeit of God’s original plan, will suffice.  This is not acceptable to God. Just as Christ specified in His Word what was acceptable as a burnt offering in the Old Testament; the same can be said for the clarity of the relationships He has ordained for mankind.  They are specific. Anything less than following His pure and perfect plan will result in eternal destruction.

So where had these ministries gone wrong in the outreach to gays and homosexuals? Previous results have widened the gap between the church and this sinner. Can history repeat itself? You bet it can. And who do you think benefits? Throughout time, Christ has given lesson after lesson showing how we are in grave danger when putting our focus on anything or anyone other than that which He created us to worship. He lived a perfect life and was our example; then He died on the cross for every one of us, asking us to seek forgiveness for our sins and live according to His plan.

The revelation became vividly clear to a new Exodus International president and praise God they no longer focuses on becoming “ex-gay,” but on developing a relationship with Jesus and looking to Him for the much needed strength, guidance and personal relationship. Other ministries have recognized the flaws of previous ministries. Both the leaders in these ministries, as well as those being converted are reaping the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and appropriating the focus that draws one to Jesus and His individual plan for them.

Yet some are still deluded in a thought process that leans toward an identity that resides in self, rather than in Christ.  Such approaches tend to distract focus from Jesus, His teachings and His instructions for obedience.  Some feel it is now necessary to allow the sinner to wallow in the stains of their former identity while claiming Christ. By not appropriately advocating the focus of any sinner to be placed on Jesus, instead of their sinful condition, the Light becomes obstructed.

There should be no expectation from anyone accepting their new identity in Jesus, to become straight. All sinners who seek to do the will of God by seeking Him through prayer, study and continual abiding in Him, will know His will and be led by Him.

Without a doubt, it is so refreshing to see devoted Christians reach. Education is finally helping us reflect God’s love and win souls to Him. But those who have never suffered the extent of same-sex attraction cannot pretend to know absolutes and dilute what Christ states in His guide for man.  All sin and fall short of the glory of God. It is crucial that the redeemed lay down past identities as they accept their new identity in Jesus.

As we are all sinners, we should be directing one another to the identity that Jesus purchased for us. Not one formed by the world. I strongly believe that as long as we put an earthly label on a heavenly identity, we will be a stumbling block to the important soul who is in recovery. We must not identify with our temptation instead of the victory Christ won for us.

If we point the homosexual or gay to a homosexual or gay identity, we are robbing them of their victory in Jesus. Christ calls us all sinners. But we are redeemed by Him equally at the foot of the cross. Imagine if sinners continued to identify in their sin. The obese Christian. The Christian Womanizer. The Christian gossiping orientation. The pride oriented Christian, the clepto oriented Christian, the Pedophilia oriented Christian, the lust oriented Christian, the adulterating Christian, the Gay Christian, the gay Adventist, the homosexually oriented Christian, etc.

You see if we take the focus off of Jesus and the victory He has won for us, we are in grave danger of continuing to allow ourselves to be complacent and give ourselves permissions that God doesn’t ordain.  Jesus won that battle. He give us the gift of being victorious because of Him.

Christian writer Ellen White says this. “Oh, how different are the standards by which God and men measure character. God sees many temptations resisted of which the world and even near friends never know–temptations in the home, in the heart. He sees the soul’s humility in view of its own weakness; the sincere repentance over even a thought that is evil. He sees the wholehearted devotion to His service. He has noted the hours of hard battle with self–battle that won the victory. All this God and angels know. A book of remembrance is written before Him for them that fear the Lord and that think upon His name.

Not in our learning, not in our position, not in our numbers or entrusted talents, not in the will of man, is to be found the secret of success. Feeling our inefficiency we are to contemplate Christ, and through Him who is the strength of all strength, the thought of all thought, the willing and obedient will gain victory after victory.

And however short our service or humble our work, if in simple faith we follow Christ, we shall not be disappointed of the reward. That which even the greatest and wisest cannot earn, the weakest and most humble may receive. Heaven’s golden gate opens not to the self-exalted. It is not lifted up to the proud in spirit. But the everlasting portals will open wide to the trembling touch of a little child. Blessed will be the recompense of grace to those who have wrought for God in the simplicity of faith and love.” Christ Object Lessons, Page 403-404

Identifying as a particular kind of sinner takes away the importance of being in a body of ALL sinners. It creates segregation. It relates that there must be a different truth or goal for this sinner. But we are all blemished and the directions given in the Word of God are not segregated, but poured out to every heart and soul that will listen and claim the perfect life of Christ, seeking forgiveness and accepting the incredible gift of salvation.  The emphasis is on Jesus, not on self.

When I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior from sin, I certainly cannot be doomed to continually identify in the sin. The label of being a homosexually oriented Christian ignores and denies the healing power of Jesus. It says I’m stuck in sin and can’t do anything about it.

If I am in Jesus Christ, I have no need for a kamophlage. God does not suggest that an individual openly embrace heterosexuality. He only asks that I study His Word, spend time in prayer with Him, listen to Him, obey Him and live in obedience to Him. Sin may not be in the orientation, but laying claim to an orientation can certainly focus on sin.

Why does it benefit anyone to identify in what God has saved you from? Why wouldn’t you want to identify in the person who has saved you from your sin? Satan does not see an ending date for his reign. He will remain sly and clever to the very end. If he can misappropriate the focus that should be on Jesus Christ, he is quite content.  Jesus wants us to identify in the victory He has won over sin.

This time around, instead of upsetting those being converted with an expected heterosexual identity, Satan is suggesting doubt through a claimed worldly orientation to followers who are in Jesus. Some call it semantics. But it is not semantics! It is a stealing an identity we have the right to claim by the saving and cleansing power of Jesus Christ.

Shortly after my conversion, I had opportunity to share my testimony. As soon as God showed me the daily emphasis I need in my relationship with Him and His acceptance of me, I developed a desire to share the new found solution with all who didn’t seem to understand. This includes church clergy as well as the deceived sinner living the gay lifestyle.  But I wasn’t sure who I was. I certainly wasn’t going to lay claim to being gay any longer. That was an identity Satan has inflicted upon me for nearly a lifetime. At one time, it had been an identity that I proudly proclaimed and one that clearly counterfeits my identity in Jesus and His purity.

One day I was in a meeting of church elders, my pastor and a couple of church members I had enlisted as support. I believed that Jesus wanted me to share my story of His power in my life.  But church leadership was not convinced of the benefit of such a testimony. Suddenly the pastor retorted; “As long as you identify as a ‘Same-Sex attracted Christian,’ I am going to keep my boundaries in place.”  At the time those words stung. I didn’t recognize that who I am in Jesus today, was not well represented in the wrong identity I was claiming.

So who am I? Over the next few months, I would continue to recognize the barrier my label was creating. Why was I choosing to identify by my temptations? Why was I identifying in the sin I die to daily? Why wasn’t I identifying in my wondrous new identity in Jesus Christ?  Not a straight identity. Not an identity that would bring about false expectations that I may not be able to live up to; but an identity that Jesus won for me and gave me as a gift when I repented my sins to Him. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17.  I was entering new territory. Few over the last several years have recognized, as a result of inviting Jesus into their lives and confessing their homosexual sins, who they are. Christ has made it clear from the very beginning.

Romans 8 explicitly states that I am free from condemnation. Identifying as a homosexual brings condemnation. I have been freed and cannot be separated from God. Identifying as a homosexual separates me from God. My identity is as a “new creature” in Jesus. 1 Corinthians 6 says that I am a member of Christ’s body. Christ does not claim a homosexual orientation. 1 John 5 says that I am born of God and that the evil one cannot touch me. So I am not going to use an identity associated with evil.

There is a group of individuals that have identified as “gay Adventists” for many years. That group is SDA Kinship. In short, they believe that God ordains and approves of a monogamous same-sex relationship. They are proud of their identity. There is not a singular reference in God’s Word where He ordains same-sex relationships. Rather than identifying with gay Adventists, God has commissioned us to accept His truth and saving grace and to offer it to those settling in a self proclaimed belief based on feelings and deceptions of the evil one.  Identifying as a gay Adventist gives no glory to God, but reeks of an adopted self identity and deceived by Satan himself.

Scholars and theologians need not change or toy with the truth and declarations of Jesus. That has never changed. It is not necessary to establish a comfort with sin soaked identities, but to encourage the new born in Christ to identify in Christ.  Jesus does not discriminate against any sinner. He, as we should; accepts, loves, and enlightens with His Holy Word and His perfection. Distorting or changing His truth and the identity He has given us in Him is a disservice and a huge underestimation of His magnificent power.

It is my prayer that we credit Jesus and don the converted with an identity that glorifies the perfection of our creator and the healing only He can offer.  He has given us permission to claim His perfection as we continually submit ourselves to Him. Not my perfection. But His in me.  He bought us this right with His blood.  Praise be to God, I am a New Creature I Him.

 

Wayne Blakely

PO Box 701

Battle Ground, Washington    98604

Phone   360-936-8514

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