I spent plenty of time in the presence of God. I read my Bible for years, and I prayed for God to miraculously take same-sex attraction (SSA) away, but nothing happened.
I’m not saying those things don’t work because I know of people who have had an encounter with God and SSA completely vanished, but for me, it wasn’t like that.
Why did I not receive complete deliverance at one of the hundreds of altar calls I answered? Was there something wrong with me? Did God just not like me as much as others? Did I not deserve deliverance because God hated gays? Some of my questions never received answers, but I knew God didn’t play favorites and He had great gifts for His sons and daughters. I had a deliverance destined for me. I just didn’t know how to get it.
I was an openly gay teen. I loved God, but He wasn’t my only lover. For the longest time, I never understood why I was attracted to the same sex and why everyone else was born normal. Since I can remember, I have always been different from other guys. I was treated differently in elementary school. In kindergarten, it only took my first best friend one day to never speak to me again because I was too “weird.”
At the age of ten, I was molested by a guy. I didn’t have a dad to run to, so for years, I wrestled with the “why” question. Why was I the victim? Maybe my difference translated into vulnerability to him. Throughout middle school, I was bullied and labeled “gay.” At that point in my life, I had no identity. I didn’t stand for anything so I fell for everything. I accepted the label. My difference became homosexuality.
I learned fast that accepting the labels didn’t stop the labeling. Agreeing with naysayers fueled the fire rather than quieting the crowd. In the middle of all the chaos, I decided to follow Jesus. Little did I know following Jesus was not a quick fix for my life. That decision actually made everything harder. Now I had the responsibility of proving to everyone that I somehow quit cold turkey and was no longer attracted to guys. I was in a whirlwind of emotions and identities. My life started to spiral out of control. I fell into depression and started to harm myself. My family started to distance themselves from me. I didn’t blame them. I wouldn’t know what to do if I was put in their position.
Fast forward a few years, and in the midst of my messy life, God began to encounter me on a deep level. I wasn’t seeking Him in any way or desiring what He gave me. He came out of left field. I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit without knowing what it was, but from that moment on, I could sense God’s love peeling back the layers of pain and rejection that had gripped my heart. He began to speak to me in the most intimate way. It made no sense to me that a holy God would choose to encounter and speak to the heart of an openly gay teen.
Through God lavishing me with His love, I began to realize that a lot of my problems, if not all of them, were an issue with the way I thought. Ephesians 4:23 says, “… let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitude.” That’s exactly what I began to do. I began to pray, “Lord, cut on me; don’t cut me off.” This process taught me that a relationship with Jesus is just that: a relationship. It takes time and investment. It’s a journey, and in this journey, I have learned how to personally overcome homosexuality and same-sex attraction. Before you continue reading, this is not the way to see freedom in your life. This is the way God led me to freedom. Your relationship with God is personal and unique. What works for me might not work for you. After all, this is Christianity, not a one-way American dream.
1. God was taking me on my own journey that didn’t look like anyone else’s.
I could sit down with all the counselors in the world and try to get help from them, but without God, I would never change. He created me, therefore He had the answers.
2. Homosexuality and same-sex attraction were an issue of the thoughts in my mind.
The voice in my head that spoke to me nonstop was fueling my issues. It wasn’t molestation that caused me to be gay. It wasn’t an absent father or being born different that caused same-sex attraction. My experiences didn’t cause my problems. What I thought about my experiences caused my problems. In other words, if I could change what my mind dwelled on, I could change my life. Holy Spirit led me to stop saying “I am a gay Christian” to “I struggle with same-sex attraction.” I am glad He didn’t stop there because that would’ve just been going from bondage to bondage. That small shift in mindset laid a foundation and opened the door for complete freedom. Shortly after, I began to declare, “Same-sex attraction is not a sign of a lack of love, it is a symptom of spiritual brokenness.”
3. I was attracted to what was mysterious.
The only reason I was attracted to the same sex was because I saw guys as a mystery. Therefore, I wanted to get close to what I didn’t understand. It seems weird, but remember that I was treated differently even from birth. My experience did not create this mystery, my thought processes about it did. So I decided to make what was common to me (girls) a mystery and what was a mystery to me (boys) common. I stopped hanging out with girls and starting hanging out with guys. At first, it was extremely awkward and uncomfortable, but as time went by my life began to transform. God transformed things so drastically, my appearance even began to change!
4. When I looked into the eyes of fire, all other lovers burned away.
The glue that held my freedom together was the fact that Jesus desired to be intimate with me. The most intimate people lock eyes with each other. Watch happily married couples. They love each other so they make intimate eye contact. When I locked eyes with the One who died for me, everything changed. I began to become like the One I was daily beholding.
These short simple truths changed my life completely. Now I live in complete freedom from homosexuality and same-sex attraction. I live full of attraction for God and my wonderful girlfriend.
God did not just deliver me out of darkness, He delivered me into His marvelous light!
Zachary Holder, AL, United States
—– UPDATE ——
I wrote this blog in July of 2016. I am now married to that beautiful woman, Bayleigh Autumn Holder. We are currently starting our family and are on fire for Jesus like never before. We are missionaries who believe in finishing the Great Commission, but most of all, I no longer am attracted to men! No more thoughts. No more desires. No more confusion. What about God?!