I read your section on homosexuality. I'm glad to have read it because lately I've been having fantasies that really scare me. I'm more than positive that I'm not gay. I just want clarification about what I'm passing through because my brain seems to be amplifying the problem.
If you are tempted to steal, does that make you a thief?
I hope the answer is clearly, "No!" But that is what people are doing with homosexuality. Homosexuality is the sin of a person having sex with someone of the same gender.
"For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due" (Romans 1:26-27).
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination" (Leviticus 18:22).
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10).
You have not had sex with another guy, so, therefore, you have not committed the sin of homosexuality -- you are not "gay."
Now to want to sin, and by that I mean that a person has justified sinning in his own mind, is also a sin that is called lust. Lust is a just as much a sin as actually committing the sin even though they are two different things. That is why Jesus said that lust for sex with a woman is no different that committing adultery with a woman. "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). If a guy dreams of having sex with another guy, having justified it as acceptable -- at least in certain cases -- is just as guilty of sin as the guys who actually commit homosexuality.
But temptation is not lust. "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death" (James 1:14-15). James says the steps to spiritual death are:
- A desire for something
- A temptation, which is an offer to gain what is desired with the trap that you have to break a law of God to get it.
- Lust, which is an acceptance that breaking God's law is worth getting what you desire.
- Sin, which is the actual breaking of God's law.
- Licentiousness, which is sin full-grown. That is when a person gets to the point that he doesn't care what anyone thinks about his sins, he is going to do it anyway. He thinks he has a license to sin.
- Death. When a person stops caring there is no way to bring him back.
You can't stop desires because they are built into you. You can't stop yourself from getting hungry, thirsty, wanting sex, wanting to be liked, etc. These are all normal, healthy desires. Satan takes those desires and twists them so that it looks like you have to sin in order to get what you want. Thus, you are hungry, realize you have no money, and it becomes tempting to steal a candy bar. Since temptations originate with Satan, you can't stop the temptations either -- you can only reject what Satan offers. "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). But when you start justifying stealing, such as telling yourself you'll pay the guy back later or that you are owed a candy bar, even though it wasn't offered, then you are committing the sin of lust. This is something you can work against because it is originating with your decisions. If you take the candy bar, then it becomes the sin of stealing. When you've stole things so often that it no longer bothers you and you don't give it a second thought, then you've moved into licentiousness. And there you have died spiritually.
Since you passed puberty you've discovered you have sexual desires. Satan is trying hard to get you to sin with those desires since you have little experience with them. He'll offer pornography and sensual situations to fan the flames of your desires -- knowing that a guy who is sexually aroused doesn't think well. He'll offer you sex when you are not married knowing full well that it would be hard for you to resist. He'll offer sex with another guy knowing that you'll be both repelled by it and fascinated that something so wrong is actually attractive, with the result that you'll become disgusted with yourself, which makes you more vulnerable. Satan doesn't care how you sin, just as long as he can trap you in sin. And he doesn't fight fair.
You're at an age where your body wants sex, even though it really doesn't know what sex is. It isn't picky about who causes you to orgasm, just as long as you do. Thus, everything and anything looks attractive right now. This is where your mind is supposed to come into play. You teach your body what is right and wrong by limiting its responses. Just as you tell yourself that you'll wait for dinner even though you are hungry right now, you need to tell yourself that sex belongs in marriage and you'll wait until you are married even though you want sex right now. "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).