I have (and still am) struggling greatly with homosexual desires and temptations, and I feel like it’s pulling me apart. A lot of the theologians and pastors that I hugely respect (John Piper, RC Sproul, etc) have talked about one’s love for God displacing one’s love for sin, but I feel like I’ve been heading the opposite direction and I don’t know how to stop. I know in my head these deep desires are wrong, but how can my heart change? I want to love Jesus, but I love this sin too…
There is no such thing as an ex-sinner. If that is your goal as a Christian, you are going to be very frustrated a lot of the time. You will also miss out on the beauty of the fullness God’s grace and love.
Assuming that what you have read is biblically sound, which based on the two authors you mentioned seems likely, I think there has been misunderstanding here. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that a real Christian doesn’t want to sin. In fact, it is very much the opposite.
In Romans 7, Paul describes the war of the flesh and the spirit. In verse 19, he says” For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” That is the guy who wrote most of the New Testament, who spread the gospel despite arrest, storm, and sickness, who was called in person by the risen Christ himself. He still had this war within Him.
Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus “has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Jesus was tempted to sin all the time. So what makes us think that we will reach a level of hardcore holiness where we won’t even want to sin? In that equation, it is still us who the whole thing hinges on, our commitment and willpower. That is not the way walking with Jesus works.
If you around people in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction, you will notice that they pretty much always still classify themselves as addicts. I know guys who haven’t had a drink in decades, in fact they have been not drinking for way longer than they were drinking, who still refer to themselves as alcoholics. That desire to drink is still there, but other things, like having a life and relationships, are more important.
We are, all of us, sinaholics. It is in our very nature to be sinning all the time. When the Spirit of God comes into our life, that doesn’t change. Sin doesn’t move down our list, but something is placed above it. Galatians 5:16 says “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Sin is stronger than you, but the Spirit is stronger still.
You are seeking what Jesus wants for you. You are asking questions and putting in the effort. And you are doing that instead of just indulging in what your flesh wants. Jesus sees that. You are walking in the Spirit. Somedays I know that feels more like stumbling and crawling in the Spirit, but that still counts.
-Matt from The Bridge