The Higher Calling In Rowing Against the Current


The Higher Calling in Rowing Against the Current

by Bruno Borges, Men’s Minister

Among the things our guys regularly mention is that they are tired of fighting against their unwanted attractions. Regardless of how well they are walking with the Lord, the struggle is still there from time to time, like a constant pull. The feeling of tiredness can be extremely discouraging and make it difficult to assess if this Jesus path is even worthwhile. There is a constant question of whether guys with opposite-sex attraction find it easier than those struggling with same-sex attraction. To make things more difficult, the world’s message in this matter does not help.

I have experienced those unwanted pulls and temptations occasionally, and I know the temptations these men suffer. However, the challenge I seek to offer them is to rethink their view of these unwanted same-sex attractions, not just as a difficult situation in which they are the victim, but as a powerful tool that can build God’s Kingdom and empower other men around them.

Scripture tells us that transformation comes from the renewal of the mind (Romans 12:2), which indicates that change comes when we look at things from a different perspective: God’s perspective! I believe God never makes mistakes. While I am also certain that He does not create anyone with unwanted same-sex attractions, I am also convinced that He does not let experiences pass us by without wanting to use them for a higher purpose. But transformation will only take place once we see it that way. As a result, we remain trapped in our own selfish, victimized world, where we feel ashamed of our sins and less than all those who “appear” not to struggle as much as we do, which is precisely where the enemy wants us to live!

A Different Perspective

Before I go any further discussing how experiences with unwanted same-sex attractions can be useful in God’s hands, let me present an analogy that I think illustrates why we feel so tired and discouraged in our journey when our feelings contradict our beliefs.

Consider a man traveling through a river in a canoe, trying to get from point A to point B while drifting with the current. If he does nothing, he will still be swept down this river by its natural flow. Occasionally, he may encounter a fork division on this river and decide to pursue it instead of remaining on the main river bend. The path he will take will be rough, cold, and aggressive. But he will eventually reach another fork division where he will choose to go deeper into rougher waters or return to the calm and pleasant waters he once left behind. Thankfully, he decides to take the original river path. He is back where he should never have left, and a peaceful feeling washes over him. Occasionally, his canoe will still bump into some rocks, and sometimes he will still feel like he will drown due to rapids and sudden falls. However, through all this chaos, his canoe will continue to flow with the current. His job is to ensure the gear is in place to avoid bumping into rocks and veering off course again. But occasionally, he can sit back, relax, and let the natural flow of the current do the heavy rowing.

Now imagine another man in a similar canoe, on the same river, also wanting to get from point A to point B. He goes through the same course, rock bumps, and aggressive waters from time to time. However, the main difference is that this man’s journey flows up the river and against the current. The trials he faces are similar to those of the other man. However, the resilience he needs to overcome them is unimaginably higher, given that his emotional and physical strength is weakened faster due to the strength he must exert against the current.

In this story, God’s plan for our sexuality is symbolized by the river. The fork on the river represents the distortions we embrace from time to time, as well as Jesus, who has made it possible for us to return to our Father and his intended path. The strong current represents our sexual desires.

Strength In The Battle

In my opinion, men who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions and constantly fight against the current are some of the strongest men on this planet. They would be the first to argue against that statement since they do not see themselves as strong. Nevertheless, I believe it takes a special kind of man to live life consistently fighting the powerful strength of our distorted desires.

But God calls us to live against the current! Jesus said we must deny ourselves (our current), pick up our cross daily (or get on the canoe), and follow Him (row our boat up the stream and counter-culture). He calls us to fight against our desires to do what is right and not what feels right! (Matthew 16:24).

Fighting Is Exhausting

Fighting is exhilarating! But we will inevitably grow fatigued from fighting against the current of our desires and cultural influences. However, when we are exhausted, His power is made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9), and we are reminded of the following truths:

  • “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1 NIV)No matter what life brings, we can trust God to give us strength and guidance.
  • “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goeswith you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV). Only God can give men and women strength and courage – factors essential to fighting off fear.
  • “But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me” (Psalm 22:19 NIV). When life gets tough, and we run out of strength, God is our ever-present refuge.
  • “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29 NIV). In our weakness, we can find strength in the Lord as we fight the current in our lives.
But Why ME?

But some of our guys still ask, “Why me?”

Because with Jesus, YOU can endure it! As individuals who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction, I believe God calls us to model disciplined living to other men. Our world is filled with Solomons, who are filled with wisdom, Davids adorned with praise, Joshuas active in wars, Moseses in leadership, Peters devoted to preaching, and Nehemiahs driven by vision and initiative. Nevertheless, there is an urgent need for more Josephs empowered by the Holy Spirit with self-control and sexual discipline to discourage other men from becoming Samsons.

My brothers, I challenge you to view your unwanted attractions through God’s eyes. Although He did not give it to you, He will not dismiss it. When the current wears you down, Jesus is there to be your strength. When your desires try to get you into dangerous waters, Jesus is your ever-present Savior. Whenever you wander off into different paths, Jesus is your way back to the Father. Whenever you feel like giving up, Jesus is faithful and he won’t let you be tempted beyond your ability. However, with temptation, he will also provide a way to escape, allowing you to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

So keep fighting the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith! The crown of righteousness is in store for you, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to you on that day. Not only to you but to all who long for his appearance (2 Timothy 4:7-8).