Several years ago, Tim Wilkins was a guest speaker for a Sunday service at the church where my family and I attend. He was introduced to our large congregation with his darling wife with babe in arms. With thousands of people in attendance, Tim talked about being gay. Our church is a conservative, independent Baptist church. Very conservative. People don’t typically stand up in the pulpit and talk about being gay there, ever. I also wasn’t too far removed from serving in the Airborne Infantry where being, acting, or in any way resembling “gay” was … looked down upon, to put it mildly. Seemed kinda akward to stand up in front of a thousand conservative Baptists on a Sunday morning and talk about what it’s like being gay. But I soon came to realize that Tim is a brave man. He explained his homosexuality and gave a moving and powerful testimony, which can be read here, about growing up gay and how through his pursuit for Christ, he fell in love with a woman and left homosexuality.
His wife convinced him that God would use Tim’s past to reach men like himself for Christ. Tim was a pastor and friends advised him he would ruin his pastoral career. Tim listened to his bride and formed Cross Ministry to reach gay men with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As I said, Tim is a brave man. There are presently few if any areas more charged and filled with rancor than the intersection of Biblical Christianity and homosexuality. Homosexuals insist that society normalize and recognize same-sex relations and punish those that would discriminate against homosexuals. In numerous books of the Bible, Apostles and prophets expressly condemn and prohibit homosexuality and its concomitant acts. Having been torn between these worlds, Tim stands at the crossroads to minister to homosexuals, to reach them with Jesus’ transforming love.
Tim recently sent out the following, which I think is an excellent testimony on what it means to rely upon and be transformed by Christ. Tim’s lessons is applicable to each one of us:
A New Leash on Life
Man’s best friend had his or her day when the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show occurred the middle of February in the “Big Apple.” This was an occasion where one could honestly say “Madison Square Gardens had gone to the dogs.” And though the spotlight was clearly on the four-legged fidos, the most overlooked part of the show was that thing that connects dog to his or her master – the leash.
The master knows what he want his dog to do and the leash is his tool.
The Master, the Eternal God of all creation knows precisely what He wants us to do, but we – like those uncomprehending canines – think we know best.
Having reached puberty with the shocking awareness that I had same-sex attractions, I felt as if I lay at the bottom of the Mariana Trench – a body of water measuring almost seven miles deep. Raised in a Bible-believing church, I knew homosexuality to be wrong. What I needed to know was how to escape from this “thing” that pervaded my every waking thought. Thank God sleep allowed me a brief respite to my bewildered brain, but I could not sleep my life away.
I set out with preconceived notions as to how I would achieve freedom. When one idea fell flat, I moved to the next one and on and on I went. But I found myself still burdened under a profound adversity. Every which way I moved proved the wrong direction.
In his classic Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis addressed adversity using an illustration drawn from the domesticated but dumb dog. “If the dog gets its leash wrapped around a pole and tries to continue running forward, he will only tighten the leash more. Both the dog and the owner are after the same end: forward motion. But the owner must resist the dog by pulling him opposite of the direction that he wants to go. The master, sharing the same intention, but understanding better than the dog where he really wants to go, takes an action precisely opposite to that of the dog’s will. It is in this way that God uses adversity!”
Having first read that paragraph many years ago, I began a different path in finding freedom from that despair beyond description – same-sex attractions. Notice I wrote “same-sex attractions” not “same-sex activity.” Yes, while I had given into the temptation at a point in time, the despair, the horror, the emotional quicksand that preceded my involvement in homosexuality was the closest thing to hell I knew of – though I have never visited the place.
Based on Lewis’ illustration and my story, let me list a few tips for those persons wondering “how in world do I get out of here?” or “how in the world can I help my friend out of there?”
Relinquish ALL those preconceived ideas as to what YOU think the solution is. That means stop telling God what you want Him to do. He doesn’t need your advice. He really is “THE KNOW-IT-ALL!”
If your view of God is Him pacing His throne room, beads of sweat running down His brow and wringing His hands over this issue, be of good cheer; God is neither befuddled nor dismayed. Ask God what He wants you to do, not just about this particular issue but all of life. But beware of asking God what He wants you to do if you have no intention of doing it. You’re wasting your time, not His – because He is eternity. This unique concept of doing what God says is called “obedience”. You ask “Has it really come to that?” Yes, as Oswald Chambers wrote “God will task the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us when we obey Him.” Try it. Obedience is more refreshing and productive than giving God orders. I ought to know.
But you say “I don’t hear God telling me what to do.” He speaks to those who listen and as John Lloyd Ogilvie writes “You can not have the will of God in your life till you have the Word of God in your life.” Read more than the half-dozen or so classic Bible passages that address homosexuality. You need the whole counsel of God. Reading only the prohibitions to homosexuality provides a diagnosis (it’s a sin), but you need a prognosis.
Ask yourself what you really want. If your answer is to become a “former homosexual” or an “ex-gay”, you’re trudging the wrong road. (The previous answer would be correct if you want to be known for what you USED to be.) Let’s take this another step; if your answer is to be “heterosexual” you’re still off target. If your answer is – more precisely – to be attracted to the opposite sex, you’re still missing the boat. “Heretical” you say? Your answer should be “I —want— to— become— a— follower— of— God’s— only—- Son.” You say “well of course I want that” but do you – really? Chambers cut me to the quick and knocked the wind out of me when I read these words “Getting in a right relationship with God is the easiest thing in the world— unless it’s not God you want, but only what He gives.” Jesus said it this way. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) Peter Marshall said that verse is the most unbelieved verse in the Bible.
Freedom for me results through a rigorous reading of Scripture and a relentless reliance on Jesus Christ. No, I used the correct verb tense in the previous sentence. You think I should have used “resulted.” I depend on Him everyday. And I know what you’re thinking “you mean this is an ongoing effort?” I know of no better way to answer that question but to say this—while actor Harrison Ford played the role of Indiana Jones in a few movies, I live the adventure of Indiana Jones every day. I’m having a blast and I’m not even from Indiana. Why would I give up the adventure; that’s what God made me for.
Lewis continues “We truly can trust in the God who loves us with an everlasting love because He knows the direction we need to go, AND He knows exactly how to get us there!”
Did you know that another word for leash is “lead”?
(Permission granted to reprint; www.CrossMinistry.org )