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Are there benefits to a struggle with same-sex attraction?

It is true that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). And in the very next verse we discover one of the major benefits of any form of suffering and struggling. God’s big plan for our lives is that we “be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).

The Apostle Paul had a struggle - his “thorn in the flesh” - that God refused to take away (2 Cor 12:7-9). Although this was hard for Paul at the time, in due course he was able to recognise God’s purposes: firstly, “to keep me from being conceited” (2 Cor 12:7); and, secondly, “so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Cor 12:9). In other words, through Paul having ongoing weaknesses and struggles, it made it more clear to others that Christ was working through him.

God works with each of his children in unique ways. Here are some personal responses of TFT staff to the question in the title.

Jonathan: "I’ve found that God has often used my struggles in this area to rub off those sharp edges to my character (still a long way to go there!). And he’s also used them to teach me to trust him more. To trust him particularly for my future, as an unmarried man. I think this battle also helps me be more compassionate than I otherwise would be to those who have different life-long struggles. And finally – somewhat ironically – I think God has enabled me to develop deeper, more intimate friendships with other men than I would be capable of if I were opposite-sex attracted. Such friendships have, at times, caused pain and been difficult to develop, with many mistakes made along the way. But ultimately, well worth the struggle!"

Stuart: "I came to God asking for his help with my same-sex attractions and found that he was more interested in dealing with my self-sufficiency. In bringing to him an area of my life that I couldn’t resolve by myself, He deepened my faith and helped me to trust Him in new ways."

We asked other TFT members what they thought and here are some of their responses to the question “Are there benefits to a struggle with SSA (same-sex attraction)?”:

  • “It has given me compassion for others”
  • “It does make me realise how dependent on God I am in this for victory over [my SSA]”
  • “Dependence on God, love for others, name a few. I could also detect my own legalistic Christianity through my struggle with SSA, allowing me to understand the Gospel in a much deeper way”
  • “I think I'd have to say for me it causes me to need a saviour. I fight it but in the end I need Jesus because I'm powerless.”
  • “People who struggle with SSA have more faith because each and every day we choose to take up our cross and choose not to live life according to our natural desires”

Resources for further study

Please note that any external resources below are intended to complement the main answer given above and may not entirely match TFT's position.

Living Out article: 'How can you live life without sex?' '

Ed Shaw  looks at some of the benefits of a life without sex.

Gospel Coalition article: '4 Things God Says to Singles' '

Vaughan Roberts outlines some of the positives about singleness.

Crossway book: 'Redeeming Singleness'

This book (click link above) unpacks the progression of the state of singleness through the Bible, culminating in great hope for the Christian who remains single.