When I first got married, I thought I had made a terrible mistake. When my wife and baby daughter moved in with me while I was living in China, I went through an awful period of time of regretting getting married, feeling suddenly and absolutely homosexual through and through, and I had no idea what to do. I was afraid of my wife in some ways. I was afraid she’d reject me if she knew about what I was struggling with, afraid she’d want a divorce, afraid she’d resent me or try to hurt me in some way. Meanwhile, every day I lusted after guys on the street, on the bus, at work, in restaurants, out shopping, everywhere, from morning till night. I was so wrapped up with guys in my mind that I couldn’t see my wife in the way once had, the way a husband should view his wife. I couldn’t love her properly, I wasn’t attracted to her, and I was the closest I had ever been to telling her I was actually still gay and wanted out of the marriage.
To make a long story short, I fought. I prayed and cried and eventually told my wife what was going on with me. She didn’t get upset and she didn’t reject me, either. It didn’t seem to bother her at all. She still loved me. Months and years passed and I continued to fight and pray and cry and that hardship and temptation left me… or I left it. I’m not tempted or struggling like that at all anymore, and I love my wife now more than ever.
But some people would say that I was gay and I should have never gotten married to a woman. But that’s not true. I felt gay, but I wasn’t really.
On last New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, I fasted. I ate nothing for those two days. My wife was in the hospital recovering from giving birth. She knew about me fasting. She encouraged me to continue fasting until the morning of January 2. I agreed, but couldn’t sleep much the night before. I woke up at 1:30 in the morning, in pain from hunger. Yes, technically it was January 2, but just barely. I stayed in bed until about 4:30, then decided to get up and eat. I drank a cup of herb tea to prepare my stomach, and finally ate a little bit at 5:00.
I felt like a wretched sinner afterward.
I had been under the expectation that I would not eat until I ate breakfast as usual that morning. 5:00 was not a usual time for me to eat breakfast. I cheated. I ate too early. I failed. I was a failure. My fast was a waste. I was a waste. I sinned. I was a sinner. God was angry. He was disappointed in me. I was a disappointment. He could forgive me, but then that would be an abuse of His grace. I didn’t want to become a grace abuser, too.
I took my son to the store with me by bicycle later that morning, unsure if this voice I was hearing was from God, my flesh, or something else. I didn’t know what to do with it.
During the fast, God had made me aware of some subtle sins I was guilty of and of which I had to repent. I thought I was done, clean, ready to move on to the next phase of life. But instead, on that morning of January 2, my new phase of life started with me being a wretched, wasted, disappointing failure. And I was planning to go see my wife in the afternoon.
As I rode my bicycle to the store, rather than fighting that voice inside my head that told me I was those things I just mentioned, I listened to it. I followed where it led me, step by step, but cautiously, not necessarily accepting its accusations. After going through the list mentioned above, the next step was that I couldn’t tell my wife what I had done; that I had eaten breakfast earlier than usual and thus failed in my fast. “Why can’t I tell her?” I said aloud. Because she’ll be disappointed, too, just like God. And while God can show me grace, my wife is human, so she can’t. She’ll be angry. She’ll be sick of me and my failures. She’ll hate me. She’ll hold it against me for the rest of our married lives. Or she’ll want a divorce. Don’t tell my wife. I must keep it a secret and guard myself against her or she’ll hurt me. She doesn’t need to know. She doesn’t need to be fully involved in my heart and life.
That was it. I knew right then that this was not from God. This voice I was hearing and which I suddenly realized I had been hearing for all of my married life was not from God. It was a voice, no doubt. It was so loud in my head sometimes that I couldn’t shut it out. My fear, my anxiety, were not from God and did not lead me to repentance and love, but to secrecy and division. I knew then what I had to do. I spoke to the voice. It wasn’t my own voice I was speaking to. I realized then that I had my own voice apart from this “voice” that preyed upon my mind. I spoke, commanded it to be silent, cut it off from me, and spoke aloud the opposite of what it was telling me. I said aloud to myself, to the spirit which spoke to me, to God, to all of creation, and every being in the spiritual realm that my wife loves me! My wife loves me! She doesn’t hate me! She doesn’t want a divorce! I’m not a failure! Nobody is disappointed in me! I’m not a disappointment! God loves me! My pastor loves me! I am lovable!
…and so on.
Immediately I felt relieved. I smiled for the rest of the day. And I haven’t heard that voice since. It left me. And I have been more relaxed and sleeping better this year than in recent years. Not only that, but my relationship with my wife has grown, deepened, and been blessed.
There are spirits among us. They speak to us. You hear them, I’m sure of it. You know what I’m talking about. That voice you hear, that thing you feel in your stomach, your heart, your joints, or your mind, you know it. You might think it’s your own mind, your own thinking, and that might be partly true, but there are spirits and they speak to us and we need to be aware of them.
We are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). That means we can control our thoughts and either allow or deny certain thoughts to remain in our minds. The way we think, feel, believe, or the things we desire do not have to be so. If we’re consumed by lust, we can fight those thoughts. If we’re consumed by jealousy, anger, and bitterness, we do not have to remain jealous, angry, or bitter. If we feel like we’re failures, even though we know that we’ve been forgiven, we do not have to accept failure.
This is not motivational speaking! I’m not trying to sell you a book or launch a seminar! This is not self-help! This is truth. If your thoughts are contrary to what’s true, you don’t have to accept those thoughts. Chances are, those thoughts are driving a wedge between you and your spouse, you and God, you and other people, you and whatever it is God is calling you into. Therefore, they are not from God. And you don’t have to accept them. And you need to know that they may not necessarily be your own thoughts. They might be implanted there by evil spirits.
We don’t like to acknowledge the presence of evil spirits, but they’re real. Throughout the Bible, we see many people possessed by evil spirits which manifest as insanity, epilepsy, seizures, sickness, etc. Jesus and God’s followers were able to command and control these evil spirits and thus the person suffering was made well. Today, we just give them medication and hope our government pays for their continued care.
What if epilepsy were curable with the spoken word? What if the mentally ill were not actually ill, but rather possessed? What if depression was the result of spiritual oppression? People will say that I’m being inconsiderate of the feelings of these poor people who suffer from these things, that I should just accept their problems as incurable and be nicer to them as they continue to suffer throughout their lives. But, no, I’m not going to accept that.
I’m not going to accept disease.
I’m not going to accept depression.
I’m not going to accept pain.
I’m not going to accept divorce.
I’m not going to accept marital discord.
I’m not going to accept homosexuality.
These things are not normal, right, or good. They are not how we are supposed to get through this life. And in Christ, I don’t have to accept them. And I haven’t accepted them. And, although I once suffered from anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, lust, anger, dependencies on various things, distrust and resentment toward women, bitterness, homosexual feelings, and marital stress and frustration, I no longer do, and it’s not because I read a self-help book and decided to change my life, but because the Holy Spirit is in me and, in Jesus Christ, I have the power in the spiritual realm to either allow or refuse the influence of evil spirits in my life. And by the Holy Spirit, I can discern the voices of evil from the voice of my God.
You can, too. Don’t accept the unacceptable. Wake up and fight.