Wednesday, April 03, 2013

"Leaving Behind a Practicing Gay Lifestyle"

Sam Allberry recounts a conversation he had with a friend who was interested in becoming a follower of Christ but "wanted to know what implications becoming a Christian might have on his practicing gay lifestyle."

Sam, a man who also has lived with same-sex attraction, explained " carefully and graciously as I could, that Jesus upheld and expanded the wider biblical stance on sexuality: that the only context for sexual activity was heterosexual marriage. Following Jesus would mean seeking to live under his word, in this area as in any other. ... He had been quiet for a moment, and then looked me in the eye and asked the billion-dollar question: ‘What could possibly be worth giving up my partner for?’"

How would you answer that question?

Here's what Sam said:

Well, as my mind raced that lunchtime, God gave me a verse to share with my friend. It demonstrates precisely why following Jesus is worth it, in this lifetime, and even when we have to give up things we could never imagine living without:
           Peter said to Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you!”
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much as in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields - and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:28-30)
Following Jesus involves leaving things behind and giving things up. For gay people, it involves leaving behind a practicing gay lifestyle.
But "leaving behind" is not the whole story.
Whatever is given up Jesus replaces, in godly kind and greater measure. No one who leaves will fail to receive, and the returns are extraordinary – a hundredfold. What we give up for Jesus does not compare to what he gives back. If the costs are great, the rewards are even greater, even in this life. For myself these include a wonderful depth of friendship God has given me with many brothers and sisters; the opportunities of singleness; the privilege of a wide-ranging ministry; and the community of a wonderful church family. But greater than any of these things is the opportunity that any complex and difficult situation presents us with: to learn the all-sufficiency of Christ – learning that fullness of life and joy is in him and his service, and nowhere else.
There is a huge amount to say on this issue, but the main point is this: the moment you think following Jesus will be a poor deal for someone, you call Jesus a liar. Discipleship is not always easy. Leaving anything cherished behind is profoundly hard. But Jesus is always worth it.
Amen. Read the whole thing: Hundredfold.