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).
Some people with same-sex attraction would like their sexual orientation to change. But is being 'straight' a godly goal? For the Christian, exchanging one set of sexual temptations for another set is not really progress towards living a life that gives glory to God. Rather, God calls every Christian to behave within the sexual boundaries set out in the Bible. And God does not promise to take away our struggles - in the Bible, Paul's experience was that God gave him the grace to endure his "thorn in the side" (2 Cor 12:8-9).
Jesus came to give us life in all its fullness (John 10:10). So, obeying his will on sex and relationships should not lead to a miserable life. We do, however, live in a very sexualised culture. A culture where the very notion of forgoing sexual relationships is considered at best strange, and at worst harmful. We must, therefore, honestly ask ourselves; when it comes to our views on sex and celibacy, are we being influenced by God’s Word, or by the prevailing view of our culture?
Where to start…my name is Rob and I’m now 27 years old, so cue mid-life crisis! Although I'm not from a Christian background I did grow up in a loving family with a nice upbringing. I listened intently to Gospel messages when I was 10 years old and started going to the church youth group and other services. I experienced God's love and started to grow in faith.
My first memories of attraction and sexual feelings as a child were towards guys. I didn't realise I was 'gay' at the time as I didn't know what that word meant and had only ever heard that term used in negative ways.
When asked to write this article I was forced to the realisation that I am a 30-year-old male choosing celibacy. That is probably relatively unusual, so I must know at least something on the issue. The teacher in me couldn’t resist loosely dividing this into three areas: what does it mean to be celibate, what can help us achieve that goal and why bother?