Pursuing Godly Sexuality as a Gay Teen
Honoring God in our sexuality is hard! For LGBTQ+ teens, though, it can feel especially hard.
It feels unfair to hear “sex outside of marriage is sinful” and “same-sex sexual activity is always sinful.” It can almost feel like our straight peers need only wait a few years before they earn their “free ticket” to unrestricted sex — and that this ticket is off-limits to us forever.
People who don’t know God’s heart won’t see the point of surrendering our sexuality to God. They see sex as something to use however you want. If you do (the belief goes), you’ll feel good, won’t be teased, and won’t get hurt. If you value a God-centered sexuality, you might be told you’re repressed, bigoted, or overly religious. These things simply aren’t true.
Unfortunately, even some Christ-followers look down on non-straight or questioning young people, seeing their struggles as worse than heterosexual teens’ struggles. A straight peer who sins sexually might experience more support from the church than an LGBTQ+ student — even one who has not done the same things. That is unfair! You deserve to be treated equally, given the tools you need to pursue wholeness in Jesus.
What is the Point of Godly Sexuality
Honoring God in our sexuality isn’t about avoiding sin or trying to be straight. Jesus calls us to sexual faithfulness not to condemn or restrict us, but to help us experience the beautiful, abundant life found nowhere else but in Him.
The truth is, sex can’t ultimately satisfy or sustain anybody. While it may seem everyone around us (especially straight people) has it better off, a life not built on Christ will ultimately crumble (see Luke 6:48). Married or not, there are joys and sorrows for all of us this side of Heaven.
Honoring God and others in our sexuality is complex and difficult for everyone! It’s also a calling every last one of us has — gay, straight, bisexual, or otherwise. And Jesus promises it’s worth it.
6 Ways to Pursue Godly Sexuality as an LGBTQ+ Teen
If you’re feeling mistreated or depressed, reach out to trusted adults! It is important to share about your sexuality and for adults to be aware of any bullying, mistreatment, suicidal thoughts, or self-harm you’re experiencing. Even though it can be scary, it’s important to start by talking to your parents. If that isn’t possible, talk to a school counselor, coach, teacher, pastor, or youth leader. If you’re unsure whether to talk with your parents, another adult can help you think through your decision — or even be with you when you come out to your parents. The more trusted adults you can share with, the better!
Know that temptation is normal! Even Jesus experienced temptation. It’s not a sin to be tempted! We’re not disgusting or bad for having human desires, even toward the same sex. Shame is never from God. Still, the thoughts we dwell on have a profound effect on our hearts. Temptation will happen. But because God’s Spirit lives inside us, we have all we need to resist it (see 1 Corinthians 10:13 and 2 Corinthians 10:15).
Be assured of God’s love for you — no matter what. When we sin, our natural tendency is to run from God. But it’s at this moment when God wants to draw near to you! Because of Jesus, we can go to God to receive mercy, forgiveness, and grace in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16)! The most important truth about us is not that we mess up sometimes, but that we’re loved, forgiven, and capable of choosing Him.
Limit time on your phone. Our phones make it easy to look at images or read stories that draw us toward lust and jealousy, stirring our relational longings without offering real fulfillment. Limiting screen time at certain hours and on certain apps can do wonders to reduce temptation — and make room for other great experiences.
Use “HALT” to recognize when you’re extra susceptible to temptation. If you’re feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired, then “HALT” to find a remedy! Eat a healthy snack. Talk to God and a mentor about what’s making you angry or sad. Make plans with friends. Take a nap or break. At night, create a “wind-down” routine and go to bed on time.
Say “YES” to life-giving habits and relationships. Dedicate yourself to interests like art, music, sports, books, electives, movies, or tabletop games. Volunteer at church or local nonprofit. Learn tips to study the Bible and read it regularly. Watch and listen for God moving and speaking to you throughout your day. Spend time with people who won’t look down on you for being LGBTQ+, but will help you pursue God with your whole heart.
In 1 John 1:2, the apostle John says, “My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ the Righteous One.”
We have challenging journey ahead! But take heart; we have a God who loves us, can satisfy and sustain us, and forgive us when we fail. While many will not understand or support you on this journey, God will — and so will those around you who are also faithfully following Him.