In my struggle with crossdressing, many Bible verses have been helpful to me. I’ve studied them, memorized some of them, and often read them after failures. I’ll periodically mention and comment on some of them and how they relate to our fight with sexual sin. For those of you who are still struggling, it would surely help you to write some of these down and read them daily, or in times of temptation, or after a failure when you need to be built back up by God’s Word.
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Someone once commented on my blog that they are sick of me talking about resisting sinful desires and temptations. Well I talk in that language because the Bible does, such as in this passage.
It is easy to get frustrated with our crossdressing desires and temptations.Often, we are quick to blame God for them. “God why did you give me such corrupted desires?” “Why are they so strong in me?” “Why did you create me like this?” “If you did not want me to crossdress, you should not have made me this way.”
We have to be careful not to blame God for our own sins. It is true he allowed us to be born as fallen sinful human beings. But this all goes back to God allowing humanity, starting with Adam and Eve, to have freewill. They and us, all of us have freewill and have freely chosen to sin. God did not create our sinful desires. They are a part of our fallen-ness. They are the result of humanity choosing sin over God by our own freewill. We may not have individually consciously chosen to have these crossdressing desires, but they are a result of the choice of humanity for sin. They are one of the plethora of manifestations of us daily choosing sin over God. It is not God’s fault. God does not delight in tempting us to sin. We can lament that we have these desires. We can be frustrated. But in the end we don’t blame God, we instead ask for help from God to overcome the temptations and ask for forgiveness when we fail. We also can’t just blame the Devil. Certainly at times demons attack us and try to lead us into sin. But mostly it is our own evil desires that lead us astray. So let us take responsibility for our own actions instead of always looking to blame God or demons.
I think the death talked about in this passage is referring to multiple forms of death. We can’t live the abundant life that God intends for us when we are sinning. So we don’t experience full life when sinning. In addition to this, when we give in to sin, it often just produces more sin, and can lead to physical death, not only because death is the ultimate punishment for sin for all humanity, but even specific deaths result from specific sins. And finally, most importantly, full grown sin in a person would show that that person belongs to sin and not to Christ, and that person experiences eternal death in Hell, a spiritual death.
21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
There is so much good stuff in this passage. Firstly in verse 21 we have a strong command to get rid of the rubbish and evil in our lives. I would certainly include pornography, crossdressing, addiction to masturbation, and crossdressing fantasies as part of the rubbish and evil to get rid of.
The next part of this passage is such an important lesson. What if we read the Bible but refuse to do what it says? Then we are fools, as stupid as people who forget what they look like right after looking in the mirror. Let us not deceive ourselves. If we read the Bible but aren’t doing what it says, we are only pretending to listen to God and his Word. Don’t read God’s Word unless you are going to submit to it and be transformed by Him.
The last part of this passage speaks powerfully against the thoughts of our modern culture. It says that God’s laws give freedom. God’s law is perfect. Our culture says that freedom is found in getting rid of rules and tradition and regulations. True freedom means only love and no commands. But this is not what the Bible says, and I’ve repeated this same thing on this blog with many other passages of Scripture. True freedom is found in following God’s commands! True freedom doesn’t mean no rules! True freedom means living the abundant life that God intended by following his commands! We show our love for God by listening to him and being obedient. You want to live a blessed life? Then follow what God commands.
This passage is yet more evidence that Jesus did not do away with the Old Testament Law. He fulfilled it. The book of James here makes clear that we should still follow the law for our freedom. But of course, we only literally obey the moral laws of the Old Testament. The other laws Jesus fulfilled in a different way. See here for more on the Old Testament Law, under the literary genre section. So we as Christians still obey moral laws, like Deuteronomy 22:5. Obeying laws like this brings freedom and joy!
17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?
A lot of people today say they are Christians. They say that they have a relationship with Jesus and love him. But do they really? Many of these people are the same people who blatantly break most of God’s commands regularly in their daily life, and not only do they not try to stop breaking these commands, they have no guilt about their actions. I’ve talked to many crossdressers like this. Some crossdressers who claim to be Christians even admit that the Bible says crossdressing is a sin, but they continue to give in. I’m not sure why. How can they rationalize this?
What I do know is that true faith is accompanied by action as this passage says. True faith has the fruit of holy actions and deeds. True faith is accompanied by a person living out God’s commands. At the very least true faith is accompanied by guilt and repentance and attempt to change when a Christian sins. But if that is not there, I’m not sure the person has true faith. They may think they have a relationship with God, but really not have a relationship at all. Or they may have true beliefs about God, but not really be in relationship with him as a changed person. Even the demons believe the truth about God. They know the truth maybe even better than us. But they do not have a right relationship with God and are not producing fruitful works in their lives.
I encourage anyone reading this to stop and evaluate your lives and your relationship with God. Heed James’ warning. Do you have true faith or empty faith? A real relationship with God or false pretense? Stop being a fool. Come to Jesus, let him transform you. Live a life with Jesus full of love and freedom and obedience to his commands.
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
This is such a comforting passage. Again in verse 7 we get a counter-cultural command. Submission is what helps us, not independent pride. If we submit to God, we will find freedom and comfort. And we also find the comfort that we have the power to resist Satan. Jesus has given us authority and power over demons. We have the living God present within us. We have to be aware of Satan and his schemes, but we do not need to be afraid of him. He has no power over us unless we give ourselves to him and sin. If we resist him, he has to flee! That is amazing!
The next part of this passage is about repentance, something I’ve alluded to in the passages above. If you want to know what repentance means, these verses are for you. If we’ve sinned, we don’t hide from God, we run to him! We go near to him as verse 8 says. If we run to him, he runs to us. Often when we fail in sin, such as in crossdressing, we try to run from God, or hide from him, or we feel too full of shame to even pray. But there is NOTHING we can do other than running to God. And with him there is grace.
We see that true repentance is not easy. This passage makes that clear. It means changing our actions, it means asking God to purify our hearts, it means a transformation of our mind. It means we weep over our sins. We grieve and mourn. It is not a small thing to repent of sin. It is serious! We should take it seriously. When someone comes to you and confesses a sin and they are feeling bad about it, don’t just say, “no it’s okay, don’t be sad, God forgives you.” Yes God forgives them through Christ but don’t try to wash away their true repentance. It’s okay for them to feel sad about their sin! That is part of true repentance. Let them hurt for a bit, so that they don’t desire to give in to that sin once again.
But again we have comfort at the end of the passage, in verse 10. If we truly repent of our sins in this serious way, and humble ourselves before God, He will lift us up again. Repentance takes us down, facing the seriousness of our sin and weeping about it. But repentance also brings us before the Lord, and reminds us of what Jesus did for us on the cross. God then takes our humble repentance, and reminds us of our sins being washed away in Jesus. He lifts us up and restores to us the joy of our salvation. He cleanses our hearts and minds and helps us to live for him once again in abundant life.
So my friends, if you are struggling in sin, run to God! Confess your sin and weep over it! Truly repent! But then be assured of your forgiveness in Jesus. And live once again in joy!