Sacrificial Love – Real Stories April 2012

Ethan Martin

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) This is the TRUE definition of love. This is the love that brought me to a screeching halt in my life and Christian walk. I grew up in the church. I was saved at the age of four and we were a family dedicated to attending church services. I started noticing my attraction to other guys at around the age of 12. This was a huge source of shame for me. I knew homosexuality was a sin, so for me to have homosexual attractions was pretty devastating. I kept it a secret. At every youth event, I would re-dedicate my life, I would fast, I would pray. And yet my attractions did not seem to go away. I had no idea what to do or where to turn.

My freshman year of college, an individual came to my school to speak about being gay and Christian. I never even thought this was a possibility. I fell to this “pro-gay theology” because it was a way to feel less shame about my attractions while “reconciling” my attractions with my faith. What a lie that was! After a few months, God showed me the TRUTH about Christianity. To be like Christ, we must love. God showed me His love by sending His son to die on the cross. And Christ willingly did so. He did so, so that we might be free from sin, not continue to live in it. If I say I am a Christian and yet I do not love Christ sacrificially, is it really love? Was I really laying down every facet of my life for Him? God showed me that I was not “laying down my life for my friend.” I claimed to love Jesus, but I was holding on to this sin because I had “tried” everything to get rid of it earlier in my life. I made the decision, then, to follow Christ, to pick up my cross again, and to deny myself again.

After giving my life back to Christ, He revealed to me another Truth. The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, it’s holiness. This helped to relieve me of the shame I was feeling. My goal had been to get rid of my same-sex attractions. But it was such a shortsighted goal. God wants more! God wants the desire of my heart to be for Him. I realized that I was not making this goal about Him at all; I was making it about myself. My goal should be for holiness. When this becomes my goal, then everything else will fall into place according to God’s timing. True love is about sacrifice. True love is not selfish. God revealed to me that by attempting to achieve goals according to MY timing, I was being selfish and not sacrificing my all for God. I was taking things into my own hands and became a “slave” to timing and man-made goals. Jesus said “no longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15) What a blessing to no longer be a slave! To be called a friend of God! To have Truths be made known to us! In order to truly love, we must love sacrificially; we must “not love our lives, even unto death.” (Revelation 12:11b)

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Ethan will be one among several who will share their testimonies at the 2012 International Freedom Conference this summer in Saint Paul, MN.  Register now to attend and hear an extended version of Ethan’s story!

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