Copyright © 2013 by Joseph Diop
LGBT; or not to be. That is the question. I want to make you an offer I hope you can’t refuse. If you can refuse it, then don’t worry. In that case, I’m not talking to you. This is for those who are ready, willing, and able. What I am offering you, I hold in my hand. I am offering you HOPE.
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God. Psalm 43:5
Hope is for the hurting. Hope is for the helpless. Hope is for individuals, Jesus said, “that mourn” (Matt 5:4). Hope is for those, who like Paul said, “wait for” (Rom 8:25) some improvement they have set their hearts upon. Hope is for those who are gay, but not at all elated with your life. You have managed somehow to remain unfulfilled, despite the advent of a new day with all the civil rights, new laws, and user friendly environment that go along with it. Something seems to constrain you from feeling free to enjoy “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Some of you in the LGBT community fit that bill. There are a few of you. There always are a few such blessed malcontents in any group. The whole world is in your view now, and all the treasures it contains are within your grasp, and it’s just not enough. If that’s you, then this message is for you.
You want out, but you don’t see any way out. That’s because, you were either born into this world with your sexual orientation already fixed, or either you just woke up one day and found it simply too compelling and irresistible to forbear any longer. Anyway now, here you are, saying “no shame in my game” outwardly, but inwardly you really are not proud of your life. But you say, “For me, what else is there? I simply am what I am, and that’s all that I can be.”
And, I say, “Nay. You can become something better.” My dear deceased pastor, who oversaw our church for 38 years, once said something that to this day, reverberates in my ears. I still hear it, because it betrays what all of us should wish for from — all of us, that is, who are from the family tree of Adam. You see, my pastor was a man of great grace and solid faith. He achieved great things in his lifetime, and was known from the White House to the jail house. And yet, he still struggled with many things. And, he was very honest and transparent about his “weaknesses.” He was so transparent, that in my youth I thought his openness about his weaknesses was shocking. I now know that he wanted to just let the grace of God receive all the glory in his life. And he knew what I was yet to learn: God’s grace is sufficient. But, back to the point. One day he said to me, with unmistakable pathos in his voice, “I just want to be made better.”
Truth be told, the vast majority of us “born-again” Christians still struggle with something or other — some of us struggle mightily — even with ‘mortal’ sins. We struggle and we wrestle and we fear, knowing that if we don’t get a handle on that thing, we’re going down in flames like the Twin Towers. Take me, for example. I awoke one day this week, and felt inside of me a reminder of an old, very tempting lust. It was resting there within me like a strand of loose thread. It was so alluring and tempting. It promised sweet satisfaction. Yet, I knew that if I just tugged on that loose thread a little, it would lead me to somewhere I did not need to go. But there it was, inviting me to follow it along and to get my flesh ‘satisfied.’ I knew ahead of time that if I tugged and tugged and tugged on that loose thread, and followed it to the very end, it would eventually unravel my whole being. Pulling on that thread would eventually cause my entire life to come apart. The Bible says,
“Lust when it has conceived brings forth sin, and sin when it is finished brings forth death.” (James 1:15)
It was but by the grace of God, that I escaped with my life and my soul intact. But nonetheless, I had to get up that day and face other less deadly struggles — struggles Paul would describe as a “thorn in the flesh” (2Cor 12:7). Over some I would prevail, and others would lead me to a resounding defeat that day. But the word of God says, “[God’s] mercies are new every morning” (Lam 3:22-23). So, day by day, I arise to fresh hope in the mercy of God.
Listen. We were all born with a tragic and terminal condition. Quite simply, that is the HUMAN condition. So, join the club. And, that is a very wretched condition indeed. The Bible calls that condition ‘sin.’ “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity [unrighteous attitudes and motives]; and in sin did my mother conceive me,” the Bible says (Psalm 51:5, brackets mine). What that means simply is, “I’ve been twisted and messed up since the day that I came into this world.” And this, my LGBT friends, is the universal human condition. The Bible goes on to say that we all started out our lives, “dead in trespasses and sin” (Eph 2:1). We all started out void of ‘life.’ We all lacked a fundamental connection to God. From there, without hope, we are all doomed. And without exception, we were all at one time “children of wrath.” What the Bible actually says, in total, is this:
1And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins,
2 wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience;
3 among whom we also ALL once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:– (Eph 2:1-3)
4 but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us… (Eph 2:4)
Now, this hope I hold in my hand in the opening photo. I’m inviting you to accept and lay hold on that thing called ‘HOPE’ — holy hope, surer than the sun, and stronger than steel. I offer you a handful of holy hope, the same identical hope that keeps all of us Christians alive and well in the Spirit of God. It’s the same hope the scripture says “that enters into the veil” (Heb 6:19) — the veil of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Hope defined is: the abiding and resilient conviction of the everlasting goodness of God. Hope stubbornly declares, “No matter what, I still believe that God is good. I still believe He is good to me.” Hope is like a rope that leads to eternal life. So, grab a hold of this rope of hope and put your trust in God. To trust God means to hang your hope squarely and firmly upon Him. It means to rest confident that the expectations you’ve placed on Him shall never be disappointed. This is another way of saying, “I know God will never let me down.”
Hope in God leads quite naturally to faith. The Bible says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…” (Heb 11:1). To have faith means to “willfully acknowledge the glory of God.” That means that you readily recognize Him whenever and however He appears in your life. Sometimes, to our way of thinking, that rope seems very small and unable to handle our weight. In that case, think of that rope as a mere wick or a fuse. When that fuse meets with the word of God, it burns intensely. When the lit fuse burns down, it meets with a pack of explosive. That fateful meeting sets off a detonation of the power — the power of Almighty God. It is that power, my friends, that changes lives. But, it all begins with holy hope. That hope applies to the LGBT community, as much as to any other group or class alive.
Now, the trick to laying hold on hope and experiencing that power is to acknowledge that God is only as good as His word. The Bible says, “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” What that means, my friends, is simply this: “No matter what you think you know about God, His written word trumps that.” Over and over again Jesus said, “It is written. It is written. It is written.” That was his mantra. It was his official notice and definitive announcement of the truth and verity of the words following.
So, all hope must be founded upon God’s word. If it is, then that hope becomes a lit fuse. God’s word itself is like the fire that lights the fuse. If the word is watered down, it can’t light the fuse; consequently, our hope fizzles out. But, if that word is pure, authentic, and unadulterated, then it burns likes a fire, and lights the fuse. The Bible says, “Is not My word as a fire?, says the Lord.” (Jer 23:29)
We see then, the Word of God must remain pure and holy. It must be allowed to speak just as it is. It must convict us of our sin — all our sins, specifically and equally, without discrimination and without distinction. That would include the sin of murderers, the sin of slanderers, the sin of whoremongers, the sin of covetous persons, the sin of idolaters, the sin of liars, the sin of thieves, and yes, the sin of LGBT people too. In a sense, we should all quake in our boots when God reads his long, laundry list of sins. Only the smug, the self-righteous, the shallow, the dimwitted, the foolish, or the totally unenlightened remain unmoved. Forget homophobia. Think theophobia. Theophobia is theos [God] + phobia [fear]; the fear of God. Jesus said,
4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! Luke 12:4-5 Nevertheless, the Bible also says,
23 The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil. Prov 19:23
And again, it says:
In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity [that is, “wrong attitudes and motives”]; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil. (Proverbs 16:6 NKJV)
Whole, organic truth — the truth of the word of God — is the only kind of word that burns. “Truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” is the kind that retains its incendiary quality. It will consume my sin, your sin, and everybody’s sin, without entertaining any differences. That is the kind of burning quality we need to get through to God’s mighty power, his miracle working power — his power to save, to heal, to redeem, to deliver, and to transform. I am a living witness. Trust me. That fiery capacity of God’s word will burn all the way down to his divine power, until all of the devil’s work in your life and mine is blown to smithereens. Now, follow my logic and my metaphor. Here’s the connections.
18 “…the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the HOPE of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe [that is, have ‘faith’], according to the working of His mighty power…” (Eph 1:18-19, brackets mine)
There you have it all in one verse — hope, faith, and the power of God. Today, I am offering you hope in that loving God, who is rich in mercy and great in power — the power to totally transform your life — from the cradle to the grave. So, open your heart to receive divine hope until God’s faith seizes you, His power transforms you, His life consumes you, and you finally awake in His likeness. This is the universal “hope of his calling” (Eph 1:18). This is the common denominator of all who are born in this wretched human condition.
God’s power will change you into what the scriptures call “a new creature” (2Cor 5:17). Don’t mind all the failures, fakers, or hypocrites that you see all around you. Hope, faith, and the love of God do get results. The purpose of God, plus the grace availed, plus the purity and potency of your personal faith will determine how quickly you see results. Some of you will get dynamic results very quickly, while others of you may see results more gradually. Because who knows, the power pack of God’s detonation may go off spontaneously, simultaneously, and/or very suddenly in your life into a mushroom cloud of miracles.
This is TRUTH & DARE. I have offered you TRUTH. Now, I DARE you to embrace it. If you do, then joy, peace, power, and eternal life will be yours. So, if you are ready, then I invite you to pray the following prayer, trusting in the power of God to do what you cannot do for yourself — fundamentally change and transform you to become like Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open my heart and life now to receive you as Savior and Lord. Come in and take control of my life. Give me your Holy Spirit. Come and make me the kind of person you meant for me to be. Amen.
Did you pray that prayer? Then, on the solid-rock foundation of simple child-like faith, I now pronounce you a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Mark this date on your calendar. It’s the first day of your eternal life. Congratulations! And welcome to the family.
For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000.
If you are already a Christian, but are in need of repentance and rededication, then pray this prayer,
Lord Jesus, please forgive me not serving you the way that I should. I open up my heart now, and give you full access and control. Have your way, Lord. Cleanse me from my all sin and idolatry. Fill me with your Holy Spirit again. Renew me, Lord. Make me the kind of person and servant I ought to be. Amen.
For 24-hour prayer and for help finding a church, call 1-888-731-1000.