When you step into Regeneration Ministries by talking with a coach or listening to our podcast or exploring our webpage; our mission is clear. We hope to help walk you through the process of being reformed, regrown, created again. We believe our Heavenly Father sees the broken places in your life and wants to make them whole.
Our guest, Laurence Koo, bravely, and honestly, shares his experience of living a whole life. Laurence shares what it meant for him growing up in a Christian home, developing a relationship with Jesus all while wrestling with same-sex attractions.
What makes this conversation different and important is that it’s not so much about labels as it is more about living.
Laurence shares his life: the journey, his hard-fought wisdom, and the questions he’s still living with. He exposes the deep split he felt between his sexuality and his spirituality. Maybe you feel that too. And how Jesus brought them back together again.
This episode speaks to all followers of Jesus who all have broken sexuality. “Becoming Whole” means freedom and light and life for you. Listen in.
My expectation was that God would take these feelings away from me and that would mean complete wholeness. But that it meant for me to really integrate these feelings and say even if my sexuality is this particular point in life. I am a son of God, his adopted son, his beloved son and I want to be part of his kingdom and I want to represent his kingdom.
To me my sexuality was never a matter of identity, that was a matter of sexuality. And sexuality then was submitted or surrendered itself under my core identity being a follower of Jesus, being his beloved son
allowing God to embrace you in the most broken and vulnerable places, it just required a lot of humility from my part
Deny vs Renounce: Deny says the same-sex attraction is not there. Renounce acknowledges the attraction but chooses not to follow where it leads.
Laurence spoke about freedom, not as in an absence of distractions, but an awareness. Spend some time analyzing what keeps you from living in God’s freedom.
Laurence talked about putting his desires or loves in order. Can you list your desires/loves and ask God to help you rearrange them into His order for you?
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 NKJV
“We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and breakthrough every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 TPT
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 Laurence’s life verse
Click for Full Podcast Transcription
I’m really pleased today to have as our guest Lawrence cu. Lawrence is the director of staff training and world missions with the navigators, which is a worldwide Christian organization that focuses on discipling Christians with a particular emphasis on enabling them to share their faith with others. But Lawrence also has just a beautiful story in a beautiful way about him. And I was excited to have him come talk to us a little bit about him. He’s responsible for new training and development for new missionaries in their 20s before and on the missionary field. He lives in Colorado Springs. He’s also an international speaker and consultant on the topic of sexuality and LGBTQ plus topics. So Lawrence, welcome to our podcast. We’re so excited that you’re recording with us today. Thanks for having me. So, Lawrence We met at the it was the Julie Slattery conference was just this last fall fall 2019. Somewhere it was, yeah, it was. Okay, so, and I just remember, so, so grateful to hear you talk about some of your own journey. As a man who is deal is dealing with has dealt with same sex attractions in your life. So maybe we could just rewind a bit and slip to ask you like, what’s that journey looked like for you thus far in your life? And that’s a big question. I’ll jump into more questions, but I want to just give you a chance to share kind of start wherever you would usually talk about that.
Laurence Koo 1:45
Sure. So yeah, I’m originally from the Netherlands. Grew up there from parents who immigrated from Indonesia. So I think I always had this awareness. I think of Who God was because my both my mom and dad were following Jesus. And he was very present in our family life. And so I didn’t doubted anything about God and I grew up pretty much in this yeah Christian environment. And at the same time, I think part of our family stories also this kind of lie of kind of not belonging, and in the Netherlands and I think also just part of who I was and, and looking at other people that I just wanted to belong. I think that’s kind of how I think through that a little bit, looking backwards. And I think in a time of where sexuality developed, I just saw myself kind of comparing myself to other men and how I should be and how I should look like. And then gradually came to a point where, I think Yeah, developed homosexual feelings for same sex attraction. And I think I, I was aware of that I think around 1011 or 12. I didn’t have the vocabulary for that or even the words for that. So I grew up in the time where there was no internet yet so, but my friends and I started calling hotlines on the phone just kind of daring each other to do that. But by myself, I’ve discovered gay hotlines where it’s I started calling more frequently and didn’t know that that cost money. So my parents actually found out and, and there was this competition. Dad, I came home from school. And my mom showed kind of like, this whole transcript of all the phone numbers that spins out from our house and she just started crying and she said, What have I done wrong? I kind of remember that very clearly. My dad couldn’t really talk about it and said, well, you’re not going to do do that anymore, right? I’m like, no. And I just remember from that moment that I would just felt so exposed, nothing to cover that, and not blaming my parents, but they were just also in their own emotional kind of journey, I think during that time. And that just caused me to hide even more and just kind of retreat and withdraw. And that was a little bit more of my teenage years where I saw because in the same time, during that same period, I really engaged Jesus and got to know him and started his personal relationship with him as a 1213 year old. And I saw myself growing in this spiritual kind of like identity in life with Jesus and at the same time, seeing my sexuality going into a certain direction that I didn’t want it to go. And I also denied for a long while until I was 17. And I just came to a point Where I just had to admit to myself and it, there were several things that happened that year that I came to a point. It’s like Jesus, I just don’t know what to do with this. I just want to follow you, and I want to surrender to you. And it’s at the same time, I’m dealing with this sexuality. And I think I admitted for the first time. I just remember going to a counselor’s office actually, and just kind of like that was my coming out time. And but I think towards God, I was like, I want to surrender to you and give my homosexuality to you. You can do whatever you want with my life at the same time, though. JOHN 832 if you’re if the truth was set me free. If your truth was set me free then I want to experience that you’re a truth on sexuality will set me free will give me freedom. And that was kind of my own condition. My only condition towards surrender. During my life, including my sexuality to Jesus. And that cost a lot of that was, that was a great year Honestly, I just really experience God’s father heart and his love for me his embracing the middle of that brokenness, and that there was light and came out to my parents and my sister and some of my friends and gradually to my whole 20s I think that that was just a really good thing to just be open about who I was and what I was dealing with. And at the same time, seeing that God would my expectation was that God would take these feelings away from me. And that would mean complete wholeness, but that it actually meant for me to really integrate these feelings, and say, you know, even if my sexuality is at this particular point in life, I am a son of God, his adopted son, his beloved Son, and I want to be part of this kingdom and I want to represent this kingdom. So how can I will deal with my sexuality. And so in the midst of my brokenness, I saw that God’s power is made perfect, which is too good installed. Now it’s my life first. And so I’m walking this journey in the here and now with still same sex attractions. And at the same time, walking this journey and surrender of Jesus and experiencing a lot of freedom in that, in the sense of that my sexual feelings are not determining my life choices and including my lifestyle.
And thank you so, so much in that and thanks just for letting us in a little bit to what that journeys looked like for you. I want to go back to several things you shared kind of along the way and just ask some more questions about it. What one is that? So you have this experience you have these experiences when you’re when you’re 1112 somewhere in there. The sexual desires are kicking up in you and doing some things with your friends but then Secretly exploring the gay phone chat lines. The parents find out and then it sounds like, you know, surface Lee on the surface of you like yeah, of course not gonna do that anymore but then it sounds like this part of your life went underground for a bit at least you know? Yeah, five years or so. What was that time like for you?
Laurence Koo 8:27
I don’t I don’t remember I don’t remember every detail of it. I just It feels like always a fog or kind of like there was this darkness and at the same time. I remember sometimes crying out in my bed towards Scott and he was always there. So there was also a certain intimacy in the wrestle that I had with God during that time, but it was very much I was very much in conflict with myself. I if I look back, I was not very likable. So what’s my friend sometimes I was I, my parents always said you, you were like the sunshine in our house. And then when this stuff happened, you just read through and you kind of it was really hard to, to reach you. And so, yeah, I protected myself but I was also just in denial, I think or just didn’t want to go where I needed to go. And I remember going to a weekend away to a Christian retreat. And there was this workshop for guys on sexuality and i, you could do a q&a on the written paper and I asked, I think that was the first time I really dared to ask, like, anonymously, hey, I’m having same sex attractions. What What do I do with that? And so I remember that was one of the first ways to reach out
and was that Was there a helpful response? Did you? Did you hear anything there? That was helpful or was that? And by the way, what I know it was anonymous, but still a courageous move for, for a teenager in that setting to, to ask a question that to seek to kind of step out into the light as much as you could. But yeah, you get a response at that time that was asked recently,
Laurence Koo 10:19
I was pretty desperate. And I think so there’s this guy, the guy who led it, he was, he said, Oh, I he read the paper, and he said, Hey, this guy is the one who wrote this. Can you please come to me this weekend? And just kind of approach me because I just don’t want to answer this as just a general kind of way of in, you know, in this group anonymously, and so I was like, yeah, No way, man. But, um, but I was desperate enough that at, of course, the last, like after the last session on Sunday, after the weekend, we’re all kind of about to go. I just had enough courage to go up to him and said, Hey, I was that guy that wrote that That question and, and so he took a while with me and he talked with me and I don’t remember a lot. But there was two things he was first what he did was he, when I finished my story, he just gave me a hug. That was the first thing that he did. And then which is very important to me. And then the second thing that he said, Well, Lawrence, I think you just have to look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you’re gay or homosexual. I don’t know that’s in Dutch. So there’s, there’s a different labeling system there. Um, and I was honestly very shocked by that, because I’m like, how can you? Can you give me that advice? And I don’t know if I’ve literally done that. But in a sense, he was right. That I think when finally I was 17, I had to really admit to myself that these things were going on in my heart and in my life, and I had to come into the light with that and just in that particular area, really accept myself that that was there and then experience God’s embrace and transformation in that particular place.
Yeah, so, I don’t know, a lick of Dutch so I’m not sure how that works here. But, but I do know like, there’s been a so many conversations around what it you know, let me just let me just kind of shift gears a little bit but same topic in general, like, I know in in circles here, there’s been a lot of conversation about how, how do those how to Christians with same sex attractions? How are they to understand what this means about who they are, and used use the phrase before? Well, so for example, I mean, there are some some Christians who, with same sex attractions would refer to themselves as gay Christians or gay celibate Christians. Others who really do not like that, that label because it’s the you know, they say, hey, other people don’t. Don’t ask Kind of other adjectives to, to their descriptions, they’re just Christians or, you know, male Christians or female Christians. So why should I? and others who say, Well, no, it’s just shorthand way of for people to understand who I am. So a lot of a lot of questions around identity and how we’re to kind of so when you use that word label, yeah, that brought that to mind. But then the other the other piece of that is, however a person chooses to kind of describe their experience of that. The other piece I think, goes back to what you’re saying a minute ago, and I’d love to hear your talk more about any of these things, but you changed kind of talking about like, you know, Lord, take these away. And you talked about a shift towards towards integration. So which I think is pretty key with wherever people go with kind of how they describe themselves. So could you speak to some of those things, what that’s been for you and kind of how you feel about those things in your journey?
Laurence Koo 13:54
Yeah, I think I think I after committing myself to or Having the Lordship of Jesus in my life I, there was this journey of like, well, I see in one hand, my homosexuality my sexual identity, if you want to compare it like that. And here’s my spiritual identity as an adopted son of God and really experiencing God’s love and embrace for me through the power of hose, His Holy Spirit. And so I saw in a sense of like, if you make those two identities equal to each other, that they have to either one or the other has to go. And so that’s what I thought, well, if I follow Jesus and making Lord of my life, and this is my spiritual identity, then my homosexuality or my sexual identity that has to go, and otherwise, what I also saw a lot of people who would then kind of like make that sexual identity or follow that, that their spiritual life was gone. Or it’s almost like having to choose between the two. And I would have been learning through I think that’s what those couple of Yours look like was, wait. It’s not that dead both have to go is the integration of both. But who is to me triumphs over the other is one submitting itself over the other. And so I think the freedom that I have to choose as a follower of Jesus is saying, now my spiritual identity is the one that determines everything, every other identity falls under that. And so then it’s not a threat anymore to myself, and that sense in that particular kind of setup and framework, that I have a broken sexual identity. And that’s how I would call that and I think that’s a much bigger discussion, I think in the last decade, especially in America like sexual identity, and the millennial generation than it was for me during that time. Because, to me, my sexuality was never a matter of identity that was a matter of sexuality. And sexuality then was submitted or surrendered itself under my, my core spiritual identity as a follower of Jesus being his beloved Son of the Father, who now represents the beautiful Kingdom of Big Brother Jesus in that sense. Um, and so that’s how I integrated it as kind of something that was broken and submitted. And at the same time seeing that God could use so much from that story from that narrative for his purposes, and that I didn’t even have to cover it up. But in that sense that it was actually becoming more on display how God even Yeah, wanted me to use my story to do blessing to other people.
You know, I think the way that you’ve described that part of part of what happens for me is I hear that is it. It really not just speaks to integration for us. As an individual follower of Jesus, but it speaks to the integration of, I think, in many ways, all followers of Jesus who all have broken sexuality, you all have desires and who are oriented towards things that that God has said no, not that we say, you know, I mean, so we anything in that way we really we are all in the same boat, not not that every struggle is equal, not that every struggle has the same impact on everybody that other struggles do. That’s one of the results of the fall is that, you know, we struggle in various ways and, and there’s different amounts of suffering. And, you know, that’s all of this, you know, another podcast altogether, but, but it does seem to, like as you’re describing that I’m thinking even some of my own sexual history and I think of the times that I I wrestled with, what does this mean about me that I, you know, chat lines were were part of my story. And I, I felt, you know, as a young teenager like oh my gosh, you know, what is wrong with me? And that became something that spoke into my sense of who I am. Right? And, and part of the journey of integration for me was to was to begin to receive, not resolve that. And then I’m a son of God, not never do that, and then God will love you, but rather, like God is with me, he cares about me he’s journeying with me, he’s helping me bring these things under his lordship. Not so that I can become a son of God, but because I am his child, and he does love me and, and Christ is my older brother. So So anyway, I just, I feel a sense of kinship with you even though our journeys have some similarities and some some distinctions, right. Yeah. So So talk a little bit about though, like, Are there other things like if somebody who’s listening who, who themselves is walking with same sex attractions it’s been a part of their life since they started feeding Feeling sexual attractions at all? And, and it does feel like there’s a disconnect for them between their spirituality and their sexuality or there’s a, maybe they’re not sure, like maybe even the idea of integration sounds to them, like, where do you share? Like, doesn’t God want to get rid of this? Or what does that look like to be integrated? What would you say to that person? Like? How would one begin to think about or approach integrating who they are in Christ with whatever, you know, their their own sexual journey, their sexual experiences,
Laurence Koo 19:32
right? I think for me, integration means that my sexual brokenness and desires are can still be there. I did. I don’t have to deny it. I think one of the English translations of what Jesus saying Take up your cross and follow me and then deny yourself the Dutch translation it doesn’t use the word deny but it uses the word Word renounce. And the difference between to me denying and renouncing is that denying saying it’s not there, and you kind of like, try to hide it away. It’s no it’s not there. I’m I don’t have same sex attraction or whatever. But renouncing is different. It says, actually, no, it is there. But I’m choosing to not not to renounce it to not follow it Do not give that any life in that sense. And that, to me is the the key to integration is that it’s not denial. But there is this place where I can admit to myself that these things are there. And that God in the middle of that as a father still embraces me in that particular place. That was the key to me of integration. And I think that’s sometimes the hardest thing for a human being towards God is that you actually want to be embraced for the best things of who you are. But allowing God to embrace you in the most broken and vulnerable places. It just required a lot of humility from my part and saying, I want to be embraced dare and I don’t have to pretend. And I need you to transform me now. I cannot do it myself. And so I just needed to realize that I didn’t need any transformation before God’s embrace. But because of the fact that he embraced me in that place. He could transform me and I think that’s what integration kind of looks like.
Yeah, amen. Amen to that. I’m with you fully. I think that one author I’d read talked about just how destructive self rejection or self hatred is and specifically she was referring to those broken places that we consider so ugly are so unlovable. And really, that the gospel speaks to while you are yet with these things these whether they are things you chose, and did they were awful, or things that you just discovered were reality in your life like while you are yet in that condition. My love for you is, is enveloping you. It’s uh, anyway and we just, there’s there’s that stuff I’m still, you know, I’m still working that out my life and I mean I’m always finding other areas I’m like, oh no witnesses tear. Well let me And part of what I think part of what you’re describing there too is like there’s a difference between repression. So some would say you know, okay if you got same sex attractions, if that’s if that is your starting point for you then to then to not follow that is repression but what you’re describing is not repression, it’s it is a freewill choice of ordering your desires ordering, ordering your loves, right decision about what we often make choices about we’re going to do with things we Feel the way we spend our lives and, and you’re making a choice about that and day to day.
Laurence Koo 23:08
Yeah, I think and I, I agree with what you’re saying about it’s a, you know, from your question of a lot of the times and I see that in my own life. The first problem was self rejection and self rejection that I projected towards God, that I projected towards other people, if but if other people would notice about me, they would reject me and ultimately, God would reject me as well. And so I think that’s kind of where I feel that coming to this place of where you can really what you say about reordering or kind of like making? Yeah, renouncing then it comes to a place where I stopped hating myself and I Really love God’s love in there. And let that even be the center I think instead of my own feelings about myself. And I think from that point of onwards, and I think that’s where the freedom comes in, then you have the freedom to, to make these kind of decisions. So it’s not only kind of like, Oh, I just have to be strong enough to make these decisions. But I do. I think it comes through that transformation out of God’s love, that I’m just compelled to want to obey Him. And that’s one of the things in interaction even when you’re with a lot of Christians, that obedience doesn’t come out of the fact that God asked you or demands you to clean up your life, but it’s because of his kindness. And he’s coming next. Yeah, coming towards me in his embrace. And I’m like, if this is the experience of God is who he really is, of course I want to be and it comes out of that experience.
Yeah, so good Lawrence. A couple times you use the word freedom. And I know that that oftentimes people think of freedom, whatever that whatever the area struggle is, but I think certainly with same sex attraction issues, freedom is an absence of the attractions. That’s not what you’re describing necessarily. So, maybe just just let’s get a little concrete here like, practically speaking, how do you deal today Lawrence with with temptations that you feel towards a sexual temptations tours or romantic temptations towards the same others of the same sex or whatever however that manifests for you? Maybe you can tell us a bit about how that might manifest for you.
Laurence Koo 25:44
Yeah, um, I think there is this, I think there is this change over the years and even in my own self and how I my sensibility, I think towards temptation. It changed if I also look if I look to my 20s 30s and now my 40s it’s it’s a different kind of journey. I think if I look at in the beginning, I was very much, you know, very tempted by body image or beautiful men or kind of and, and I remember watching i was i was i was a walking on the beach in France in the summer vacation for the first time or not for the first time, but kind of like in this kind of mind like set of like God, what do I deal with this? Because I knew that denying was not helping and that’s what I did. Sometimes I if I saw a good looking guy or whatever, I was like, Oh, no, right. I don’t feel anything. But when I started discovering then I there was freedom in Jesus to talk about my feelings to talk what I wanted to talk about my desires. And I was walking on this beach in France, and it was Talking just with Jesus what I felt and what I wanted. But I said by I’m surrendering to you in this particular place right now. It just changed the whole dynamic because where the tension was suddenly in relationship to Jesus, that tension became yeah it just not disappeared but it was in the relationship it was in the light and so even then I could even pray to him but God I just don’t want to view this particular person in this particular way. And and I do think that that was part of where balling Roman says like it’s really the change of my mindset about taking capture also, that’s in Corinthians of these feelings and thoughts and just surrendering them to Jesus, not denying again, but just really kind of captured them, and then engage them with God and without any shame all that was new to me. That I could do that.
Um, what you’re describing is it’s it’s just a it’s a paradigm shift because I think even that passage in in Corinthians you know like we take every cap thought captive I think for a lot of people can feel like no like it’s like denial like trying to take it pushed away Get it out of the way like don’t think about it don’t think about it it’s like you know don’t think about the purple elephant in the room like in all right all you can think about but what you’re describing is not just not again not denying not trying to push away but but but bringing it honestly into your relationship with Jesus Jesus this what I’m feeling is desiring this what I’m noticing right now and I want to submit this to Yes, that’s a very different approach and it’s beautiful and, and just right and good. That’s wonderful.
Laurence Koo 28:46
I like about it, it was not only thoughts, but feelings and desires and yeah, to me taking captive is not denying but you take it captive and you really look at it. And I would say that I’ve looked to my sexual desires or my broken As I walked around it so many times now or I, and I’ve kind of penetrated kind of like how it looks the landscape of my brokenness in that sense that nothing takes me for surprise anymore after so many years. And I think now, I think sexual desires and temptations comes much more out of a lack of intimacy. And it’s very attached to my connectedness and my experience of intimacy, on several levels of life, where I can see, oh, yeah, I’m not looking only at my sexual sin behavior. But I go deeper layer and say, what’s really going on in the depths of my life and how I do intimacy and connectedness with my friends and community.
So you saying that, that you notice a correlation between the onset of the presence or the intensity of sexual temptation. Notice correlation between that and And what’s happening for you in the realm of, of healthy intimacy with friends and others other loved ones?
Laurence Koo 30:06
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I think also because kind of the hormone spurts of, I think of the 20s is a little bit over for me. But, uh, yeah, I would say that’s my current experience that I put that in the same. Yeah, it’s it’s very much a flow flow from that. Yeah.
So are the things that you that you do preemptively or practices or things that you kind of keep track of. I have a friend who’s, who’s who’s diabetic, and so they’re just specific things that are part of his life on a regular basis to be healthy so that he doesn’t get to a place of crisis or other things like that for you that you think of that are helpful for you along the journey.
Laurence Koo 30:48
Yeah, I would say if I think on intimacy, especially I think and I’ve seen this also, part of my job is is I’ve been discipling a lot of Guys also on the realm of sexuality over the last two decades so I’ve see a very common threatened is or is the is the intimacy levels and I kind of discovered five intimacy levels that I would say spiritual intimacy where you have really deep conversations about God about life a little bit what we’re doing right now. meek that I can connect with you Josh it’s that’s a part of spiritual intimacy. I would say emotional intimacy a person where you can be vulnerable a bit where you can share your emotions where you can cry where you you connect over a hard time sometimes and that you can be vulnerable on social intimacy that you like the same things to do like working out or watching an Avengers movie or going camping or hiking like but that there’s connectedness in doing that together and you both enjoy that. And, and then the physical intimacy part which is different than the fifth one sexual intimacy, where physical intimacy is just as human beings with our bodies that we need touch in our lives. And that there is a physical connectedness and I think that’s why we God has made us with bodies that we can experience that with each other. But often that’s been very confused with or kind of, like almost fused together with sexual intimacy, which is the fifth one, which one I think that I don’t exercise and that’s or I don’t, I don’t pursue sexual intimacy in my life currently, but I, I need those other force for because of that, to pursue that and to really cultivate that in my life. And that I think, I think to me that’s very pre emptive towards sexual temptation or sin. I see every time I go to sexual decision or sin, let’s just say sin then that I can always trace it back. Why that’s going on? What kind of intimacy level Am I missing here? Or have I not been pursuing really well and I see that with a lot of other Yeah, friends that have been talking about these things that that is the same interaction for them.
Yeah, I’m gonna I’m gonna steal that the five levels into this because I do think like, who you know, whether you’re talking about man or woman? Yeah, whatever the area of struggle like these, really what we’re talking about just kind of becoming a healthy person, physically, emotionally, relationally spiritually and these really play into all those So, so learn, let me let me ask just as a so appreciate this conversation and just your your thoughtfulness about these things. And I know that we’ve just barely scratched the surface of your journey and, and and how this all plays out. But when you think about the future, wrap up with this last question. When you think about your future where where are you headed? What do you want? Are you? Are you? Do you hope to be married? With a wife and children someday? Or is that not something you you you want or look to or think that you’ll do? Do you think you’d be single? Like, what? What when you think along the future because I know I’ve talked to a lot of people experienced same sex attraction, and there can that’s a real area of struggle for them. So where are you with that? How does that play out for you?
Laurence Koo 34:28
Yeah. Um, I think where am I where I am at now in life. There’s lots of opportunities. I think for people who are same sex attracted to wanting to follow Jesus. Often, I think there is this journey of like, oh, then I have to be. It’s kind of like, Oh, I’m in my 20s. Like, oh, then it’s a life of singleness. I’m really pursuing marriage with a woman. I think both of them what life looked like that to me was actually that I had to surrender to Jesus as well. And say, I follow you no matter what. And I don’t know how this necessarily look like, because sometimes I see people in a 20s right now is like, No, I’m just going to be single. And I’m like, well, maybe Is there something that God can still do into your life, because there’s many stories out there of mixed orientation marriages, which means a marriage between a man and a woman. But one of them or both of them are not kind of like totally straight or heterosexual. But because they are under the obedience of Christ and wanting to submit to each other in their marriage, towards a relationship that’s self sacrificial. We see That work. And at the same time, I think some people’s like I’m wanting to pursue this marriage because they just trying to avoid I think going through the wrestle of like, this is what success looks like marriage and I think that’s what our culture and Christian culture is saying, well if you’re married or you and then you have overcome everything, and where I needed to go is kind of like this third route, I would say, is no marry marriage and singleness is both an expression equally to each other of Christ sacrificial love to his church. If we read Ephesians five, that we say yeah, marriage, men and women together are these beautiful picture of how God Jesus has given himself to his bride. There is this marriage. It’s it proclaims a self sacrificial love between two people. But at the same time, the gift of singleness or celibacy is also that you give yourself fully away to One particular person, or sorry to multiple people, and that’s your gift. And so I feel like the gift of marriage and singleness is equally to each other and represents the same thing. Like you said before. We’re all in the same boat. We have different the same calling, but different expressions. And that’s marriage and singleness. And I went I came to that point of understanding that, then I think my journey right now is then saying, I want to represent this gift of singleness and celibacy. Well, that to the church and to my environment in my community. This is a gift to be desired as well. And I also representing Jesus, his sacred self sacrificial love to his church with this and so that’s been a current, I would say journey over the last maybe four years that I started more embracing this path of like, yeah, I want to show to the world into my Christian community. That this is equally valuable. Yeah.
My, my internal responses you share that is really, I mean, I just get the picture kind of just, you know, bending my head in in an appreciation. I want to honor that what you’ve just described, I think it’s beautiful. And I think it’s I think it’s right i think i think you’re tapping into both a, something that’s been lost in kind of our Western 21st century Christendom, and I think it’s, but I think it’s also something that that is a it just calls to the carpet, wherever we are, in our journey, married single, whatever. The reality of what following Jesus what being a disciple, being under the Lordship of Christ looks like not just on a perfunctory outward level, but in my own approach to like, how am I living this out? What How am I defining what success is And so anyway, Really, really appreciate that and want to just kind of chew on that for a bit. And we’re going to, we are going to, we’re going to do another practice on singleness. And I know we’ve kind of we’ve moved that direction. I think there’s just so much more you’ve shared. So I look forward to that conversation as well. But Lawrence, thank you so much for for just sharing a bit of your story and your wisdom with us. And yeah, just so meaningful. So let me just let me just stop and pray for those listening and pray for you and we’ll close out that way. Sure. Jesus, I thank you for for your presence in Lawrence’s life I Thank You, Lord for the the way that you have been with him on this journey that he’s taken, even when no one else was Lord, you were even when he did not fully understand himself or you. You did and you do. Lord, I thank you that that in places where wheat and weeds grew up together in Lawrence’s life, Lord, you had your eye on the wheat and you still do. And Lord, you’ve you’ve been growing are growing just beauty and goodness and manliness and love in this man. I just say thank you for that Lord and ask for even more of it. And I pray that the words he shared today the words that you shared really through him through our brother, Lord would would find good soil and all of us as we’ve listened, and Lord that it would produce likewise good fruit in us. When I pray this for our good, and I pray that you might be glorified Lord through this conversation through Lawrence’s life, in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Amen.
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