As we approach the 37th annual Freedom Conference, I am filled with great expectancy of what God is going to do in and through each one of us. Year after year, in our weakness and humility, Jesus shows up mightily in both our personal and corporate time. Who among us doesn’t leave changed?
Our theme this year is Made for More. I think most people would admit that at some point in time in their lives they have wondered if there is anything more to the life they are experiencing. For many, something seems to be missing. Often there is a deep void in our hearts that goes unfilled and unsatisfied.
During the early days of trying to figure out my struggle with SSA I remember thinking that what I truly needed was the love and affirmation of a man to fill that need. I was consumed by a need to heal the ache inside because the ache was all I paid attention to. The focus and direction of my desires was also in direct conflict with my biblical beliefs. But what I perceived as my deepest and most overwhelming need suppressed those feelings of conflict and I chose to act on my SSA.
I know of others who have experienced that same level of intense desire for a member of the opposite sex. Regardless of how we choose to meet our own needs through our overwhelming sexual desires, the fact remains that such efforts will fail to satisfy at the deepest core. I believe that Proverbs 13:12 (NAS) speaks perfectly to this:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Any way that we seek to meet our own needs instantly rather than allowing God to meet them (or to help us survive when needs go unmet) is deferring hope. I truly believe that seeking to meet my needs sexually, or in other ungodly ways, served as a counterfeit and made my heart sick.
When individuals come to Exodus for help they are looking to resolve the conflict they feel between their faith and the directions of their attractions and desires. I understand, as that was my initial motivation for pursuing help, too. But attempting to change the direction of your sexual attractions is not the solution. While God absolutely gave me a new and complete desire for a woman, that was after many years of pursuing Christ as I lived out the truth of Matthew 16:24, denying myself and following Him.
To be more specific, in the story of the Exodus, the Lord delivered the children of Israel from slavery, but they quickly forgot His goodness and mercy and began to worship idols. First let me clarify, most of us don’t literally bow down to statues anymore, but we do have a tendency to look to created things, ideals or persons to provide for us what only the creator can. Even good things can become idols if we place our focus and trust in them over Christ.
One such idol is the “idol” of romantic/sexual love. Pursuing Christ, the only one who can truly give us the core satisfaction, meaning, identity and purpose we are desperately looking for, must take precedence. He is the only one who can fill the insatiable thirst in our lives, which actually may not ever be completely satisfied here on planet earth. He is the only one who can define us and the only one who brings that sense of validation we so need. So, when we talk about being Made for More, that is the MORE we speak of.
Exodus International doesn’t exist to give you false hope or a false security in something earthly. Doing so, even with something that we might see as good, like marriage, would be deferring hope and usurping God’s role in your life. We aren’t here to encourage you to bow down to the idol of attraction change, though you might experience that. We are here to point to the fact that there is a God who gave up everything to reconcile us to Him. We are here to help those who have surrendered their hearts to Christ and who are struggling with temptation and sin to find refuge, community and a path of restoration as they seek to surrender their sexuality to the Lordship of Jesus Christ who is able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine.
Whether it is through the corporate gathering of a conference, the weekly support from one of the two-hundred plus member organizations under the Exodus banner or as you read a book or story from the many that we provide, our goal is to simply encourage you to look beyond your present reality and seek the Lord for His answer. The Creator of the Universe designed you, knows you best and has a plan. If we can help you as you seek Him please let us know.