recovery in Christ when life is broken

Showing items filed under “Keys To Recovery”

Surrender Control of Your Storm to God

 

Too often, we think we are in control of our lives, adopting the mindset, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” Sometimes with hard work and determination we do get what we want. But other times no matter how hard we try, things do not change and may even worsen. We are limited in how much control we have over ourselves, others and the circumstances of the world.

It is easy to believe that a change in our circumstances will bring peace. We say things like, “I will never be happy until he stops drinking”; “I really need a new job”; “The people here don’t like me”; or “Everything will be fine once I find the right person and get married.”

What if all that we needed to do to find strength, protection, direction and peace was to trust and rely upon God?

Have you ever seen a bird flying headlong into the strong wind of an approaching storm? It can fly with all its might and not move forward an inch despite great effort. What if we are like that bird, and all along we have been trying to navigate storms of life without direction, knowledge of storm severity, when to fly or when to take shelter? What if God has the knowledge to direct us to safety and the strength to carry us through gale force winds? What if his direction and strength is all that we need to get through the storms of life?

Trusting God to deliver you safely from a storm isn’t easy. Trusting God to carry you through a storm is even more difficult. That type of trust is called faith. Sometimes God gives clear direction and tells us to fly, other times he asks us to wait patiently for his guidance and strength. But whatever his instruction, know that God loves you. He wants the best for you and you can trust him to provide what you need to follow his direction.

There will be times when we feel like taking control from God, but remember, managing our own direction got us to recovery. Often, the urgency to control comes from fear, not from trusting in God. If you have faith in God, he can protect you, carry you, and direct you through the storms of life.

 

MAIN POINT

You can trust God to deliver you through the storms of life.

 

KEY SCRIPTURE

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

 

APPLICATION

What is one thing, person, fear or situation that you can surrender to God today? Moment by moment, will you make the choice to let go of your will and to let God take over?

 

PRAYER

Dear God, I realize you are the only one who can change me. Please help me let go of the things I am trying to control and entrust them to you.

 

 

If you would like to learn more about this topic, you can listen to Alan's story or Ann's storyor watch the teaching on Step 3, Trust.

As a Gay Man, I Never Thought I Would Be Free To Marry

 

Last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay people were free to marry. But what is true freedom?

I grew up in a Christian home and became a Christian at an early age. For years I struggled with being attracted to the same sex. I knew the Bible said that I wasn't created to live that way but I couldn’t reconcile this with my homosexual feelings. As a young man, I was confused and frustrated, living in guilt, shame, despair and hopelessness.

How was I supposed to find freedom as a Christian? Could I have these attractions, be a Christian and live “the Christian life?” Should I “come out” and embrace the gay life? Find an interpretation of the Bible that allowed me to act on my feelings? Renounce my faith in Christ even though I was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah? So many of us struggling with unwanted homosexual desires are left to settle these questions ourselves with no help from the church. I didn’t want to be gay, but I did want freedom. I felt as if I were living out a prison sentence.

Jesus launched His ministry by proclaiming that his mission was to release captives, give sight to the blind and set free the oppressed (Luke 4:16-21). Christ’s mission was freedom. But how was I to live free when my natural desires are contrary to God’s will? Well, Jesus answered this question:

 

“…If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?” (Jesus Christ, Luke 9:23-25)

 

Wow! Following Christ means to deny yourself and take up your cross daily (die to your sinful nature) in order to save your life. Self-denial of sexual desire is counter-cultural. To even suggest it opens one up to criticism and ridicule as a “hater,” "bigot" and "homophobe." Our culture tells us that natural thoughts and desires are what define us and characterize our identity. When people conform their lives or transform their bodies to fit natural thoughts and desires, they are celebrated in our culture. But Christ said that following Him, not natural desires, will save your life.

I had a decision. Did I trust my Savior with my sexuality, desires, and hopes for happiness in the future? Was Christ going to determine my identity or something else? These are the same questions that need to be reconciled for anyone at this crossroads. My decision to follow Christ was no different than other Christians tormented by desires of human nature. If Christ is truly my Savior, am I willing to trust Him daily for freedom regardless of what the law, government or culture dictates?

I chose Jesus. I surrendered my life and will to Christ (Step 3). Jesus was now both my Savior and Lord. Funny thing…the Bible says that when we follow Christ fully, the Holy Spirit will begin to transform our minds and hearts to conform to God’s will (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Romans 12:1-2). This is opposite of what the world tells us—which is to transform our bodies and conform our lives to our natural desires.

A few years after surrendering my sexuality to God, I felt an unexpected spark for a woman who I had watched faithfully follow Christ. Apparently, sparks flew for her too because we got married. We now have two children. I never thought that a heterosexual marriage was possible for me—it is not why I chose to follow Christ. I chose Him because I knew He had my best interest in mind, He died to save my soul. He is (and will always be) my greatest reward. But life with my wife and family is a wonderful bonus. My freedom to experience the joy of marriage as He intended came when I surrendered to Christ.

Sometimes, I still have homosexual desires when I am not resting in my relationship with Jesus—I am still learning that daily death thing. My struggle is different now—it is a battle to remain close to Christ rather than a battle against sexual desires (Step 7). But I know where freedom rests. God meets me where I am at, picks me up when I am down and leads me to life. Freedom is not gained by embracing homosexual desires, being married to a woman, fatherhood, having money or building a successful career. Freedom is found in a daily, intimate relationship with Christ. In that relationship, He changes everything about me. He isn’t just my Savior for eternity; He frees me daily to walk in His will to experience abundant life today.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jesus Christ, John 10:10)

 

By Leonard B.

 

For more stories like this, listen to Jon's story and Marisa's story, or watch Michael's story.  Also, check out Same-Sex Attraction in the Struggles section of our website.

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recovery in Christ when life is broken.