In a culture obsessed with identity, sometimes we allow the sins we’re fighting against and the obstacles we have yet to overcome to define us, but that is not where our true identity can be found.
Jackie Hill Perry, author of “Gay Girl, Good God,” revealed via Instagram on Friday that she often fields questions from her followers regarding sexual identity. They frequently ask what it means if they find themselves “attracted to somebody of the same sex.”
“If you are a person who has repented of your sins and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and He has filled you with His Spirit, what you are now is a child of God. What you are now is a person who is empowered to say ‘no’ to their passions.” Part 2: pic.twitter.com/pyIhJwAFhL
— Tré Goins-Phillips 💻 (@tregp) March 15, 2019
Our secular culture — and even parts of Christian society — teach us to give in to our every whim and feeling, claiming we should never betray what we feel in any given moment. But that’s far from what the Bible teaches us.
“Confusion comes in because we live in a world and a society that has told us that to experience these feelings says something about our identity as people,” Hill Perry explained.
The 28-year-old writer has wrestled with that very issue. Although she’s now married to her husband, Preston Perry, with whom she has a daughter, Eden, Hill Perry once identified as lesbian and was for many years involved in a serious relationship with a woman.
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We’ve been one five years now. This last trip around the sun showed us our shadows. The hidden and unflattering parts of us that we needed heavy light to see. And we saw it alright. It made us cry, out loud. Something Jesus did. But in doing it, we did it together. We’ve both come from a world that told us that tears meant our spines weren’t tall, but this year we stood up and refused to be afraid of how our humanity might unveil us. We see clearer now and in this sight, I’ve learned that to know you is to let time unravel you and thus us, until the only thing a shadow can catch is whatever we left behind in it. I’m still weak as ever. My hands still shake a little when it feels your heart in it but it won’t let it go… it can’t… it’s too valuable and too full of me to be left alone. I love you Preston. And you love me. ❤️
She came out as gay when she was a teenager. But in 2008, Hill Perry converted to Christianity and her perspective began to change as she spent time praying, studying Scripture and seeking discipleship.
It’s important, Hill Perry explained, to remember that we will have passions and desires that are by nature sinful and contrary to the Gospel. Galatians 5:24 says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
She also referenced Ephesians 2, which details the “cravings of our flesh” and our sinful propensity to follow through with those desires.
These days, Hill Perry suggested, many believers are failing to understand how their propensity toward same-sex attraction is sin, in large part because we are taught to indulge our passions — good or not — and claim them as our “identity” or “orientation.”
“Orientation is a new thing; this is a 100-year-old concept that did not exist when [the apostle] Paul was writing and Jesus was commenting,” she said. “When we’re talking about ‘passions of the flesh,’ the main identity that’s coming out of is your identity as a sinner.”
She continued, “But the fact that you have [sinful passions] does not say anything about your personhood. It’s not saying that you are gay or you are bi. It’s saying you’re sinful, and because you’re sinful, you’re desiring things that you ought not desire.”
Just as she once did, Hill Perry said people will find identity in their sexual inclinations because they allow those sinful passions to define them. As a result, they assume they have no choice but to embrace those feelings.
“I think that’s the deceit in the world,” she said.
In order to combat those sinful passions and to reject the feelings that are antithetical to the Gospel, Hill Perry said we have to embrace our true identity in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Only in that embrace — by identifying with Christ — can we step away from our sin.
“If you are a person who has repented of your sins and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and he has filled you with his Spirit, what you are now is a child of God,” she said. “What you are now is a person empowered to say ‘no’ to their passions.”