By Phil Hobizal, Founder of Portland Fellowship
Portland Fellowship is a sister ministry of Mid-Valley Fellowship in Portland, Oregon. Those who seek out Portland Fellowship have been wounded by past hurts and taken captive by the desire to fulfill unmet needs for love and affirmation through (unwanted) same-sex desires and relationships. Portland Fellowship seeks to help equip men and women to walk in freedom from these desires as transformation takes place. In this article, originally published in Portland Fellowship’s newsletter, founder Phil Hobizal unpacks the curriculum that Portland Fellowship created, Taking Back Ground, that is used in ministries across the country and around the world, including Mid-Valley Fellowship. This is the third of a multi-part series
Taking Back Ground: Section Three
• The Battle for Our Souls
• The Root of Rejection
• Walking in Victory
The final section of Year One in the Taking Back Ground series is “Walking Out the Process”. We’ve taken time to lay out an overview of the same sex struggle, a biblical view of sexuality, God’s love for us and His call for intimate relationship with Him. Now, it’s time to put feet to what we’ve learned. In the Old Testament, it was common to set up a memorial to commemorate a significant moment in God’s interaction with man. So, it seemed fitting for us to come up with a way to give participants an opportunity to do the same. It began with a weekend retreat and something we call the Surrender Service. You were instructed to ask the Holy Spirit to show you something that symbolized your struggle, and be willing to publicly lay it down before the Lord. The response was nothing less than amazing. Jewelry, pictures and personal mementos, to name a few, were laid at the foot of the Cross. And later, people reported new-found freedom as they obediently responded to God. That was thirty years ago, and the results, in response to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, are the same today.
We recognize that the homosexual struggle is more of a relational issue than sexual, but there is also a spiritual dimension that cannot be ignored. We are in a spiritual battle for our lives. Satan can exercise authority over us through wounds and thought patterns, as well as through our sinful behaviors. Confronting the lies of the enemy with the truth of God’s Word enables us to resist the devil’s schemes (Matthew 4:1-11). We are liberated through the work of the Cross to no longer be held captive to destructive thoughts and actions. We can stand victorious in the truth that we are sons and daughters of the King.
Wounds left unhealed can define us. Rejection is a common struggle—perceived or actual events can take on a power to direct our actions. Hurtful words, bullying and mocking lay a foundation for defensive responses. Here, the emergence of a false self takes up the shield to ward off further pain. God comes to us, behind the veil of our own making, to call us to a new life in Him. In His love and forgiveness, we find the strength to live out our true self, one made for His purposes. Because we are forgiven, we find the grace to forgive those who have wounded us. It is an act of faith to be able to free an abuser for the pain they have caused. Letting go of past hurts leads to the opportunity for reconciliation. It is God’s desire for us to be at peace with all men and women (and in many cases, boundaries will need to established—that’s covered in Year Two).
Temptation is something everyone faces. God does not tempt (James 1:13), but He allows temptation to shape us. Jesus was tempted, but did not sin. He is able, then, to help us in our struggle against sin (Hebrews 4:15). The wounded heart learns to soothe its pain through various forms of medication. Jesus’ love gives us the strength to say “yes” to the good and “no” to the false. Our victory over old life patterns frees us to walk in the truth of who we are—we are more than conquerors in Christ (Romans 8:37).
Like a child who is learning to walk, we stumble forward in our attempts to live a different life than we have known. With encouragement, we get up and keep going. Yet for many of us, the hardest thing will be the willingness to trust those around us in the process. Confessing our weakness and sharing our needs honestly with others leads to a healthy life. God did not intend for us to walk alone in our journey, and He provides relationships to come alongside and bolster us in our pursuit of good things. Ephesians 5:21 says to, “submit yourselves to one another out of reverence for the Lord.” Same-sex attraction is a relational issue requiring relational solutions, and we praise God that He provides healthy relationships for our healing!
Tuesday, June 23rd!
Struggling with Sexual Wholeness?