After my life-altering decision to follow Jesus Christ and give up on ever having a sexual relationship with another guy, what happened next? My high school years were surprisingly happy and full of powerful spiritual experiences — and also surprisingly free of sexual baggage.
As an introvert, of course I spent a lot of time alone with God, worshiping, reading, praying, and considering future plans for my life. In addition, I started to have the energy and desire to get involved with people in a very “non-introvert-like” way. I met other Christians in my public school and soon became friends with several of them. They invited me to a home Bible study where I met even more Christians who invited me to a church with a large youth group.
I still vividly remember walking into that youth meeting on a Wednesday night. There were around 500 high school and college-age people there. Most of them were NOT church kids, but instead had unbelieving parents. Many of them had very recent and dramatic conversion experiences. It was different than any youth group I had ever heard of.
The worship band was average, at best, but they sang and played with a passion for God that grabbed my attention. It seemed everyone in that room was singing with all their heart and voice with a very infectious, godly joy. Alex, the youth pastor, gave a message about God walking with him and helping him constantly. I knew it was all genuine!
I got more and more involved, joining a small group and seeing God at work in the lives of others. There was an amazing sense of community. I knew I was not alone in my Christian life!
In that small group, I saw an especially amazing work of God with two of my friends, Sean and Luke. Sean was a newly converted believer who played basketball at a different high school from mine. He was tall, good-looking, very heterosexual and masculine. Several of us went to a large outdoor festival with Christian music and preaching where we camped together for around three days.
Sean began to desire a deeper experience with God, so a few of us gathered around him to pray. I will never forget that spiritual experience for the rest of my life!
As we were praying, Sean began “speaking in tongues” for the first time, praying and intensely worshiping God. I emotionally and spiritually felt the presence of God along with a great, powerful joy that made me want to worship God along with Sean. He continued praying and worshiping God for hours, mostly on his back, eyes closed, arms extended to heaven.
Every time I saw or heard him worship God, I was hit with an overwhelming sense of God’s presence, making me want to drop everything and just worship God with him.
After that experience, Sean decided to start meeting regularly at school with Luke, another guy from our small group who also went to his high school. Sean and Luke started inviting their friends to meet with them there and then come to our youth group. They preached the Good News of Jesus Christ with a genuine love and demonstrated their faith by the way they lived. Within a year, there were around 40 from their high school that became Christians and joined our youth group.
I remember having many helpful and encouraging talks with Sean, Luke, and other friends in that youth group. Those memories have always stuck with me, giving me great hope that God can continue to provide me the deep friendships I need the same way He did in high school.
You may have noticed I didn’t mention same-sex attraction during this post about my high school years. That is because it seriously became just a minor issue for me. I was still tempted to think sexually about guys, but that temptation just had no power over me.
Yes, my joy in God was so great that it pushed out the desire for the pleasure of sin, replacing it!
That experience in high school was not at all the end of my dealing with SSA. But it showed me how a good relationship with God and good friends could help me in my fight against sexual sin.
What was your high school / youth group upbringing in the Church? Have you ever been inspired by fellow believers in your own walk with Christ? Can you recall a time when your happiness in God led you to worship God and helped push out any sin from your life?