Our God of colour

The conversations about the complexities of gender identity going on in the church.

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”

– Rev. 12:11

Within the church we are having plenty of conversations about the complexities of gender identity and that is truly amazing. Especially given that this topic was once a taboo conversation. As someone who has and continues to walk through gender identity issues, my heart has always desired that people within the church can talk freely. But as the conversations develop, I feel that there is a danger that we see God viewing gender and sexuality as grey issues. 

Some people in our culture need to define themselves based on needs, feelings and desires, and you know what? I’m okay with that notion in the secular world, where people are still seeking truth and definition in the things they face. That is the human condition. Yet for the Christian believer, I think the situation is different. Sentimentality and human ideologies are far from the things we are called to hold tight to. We are called to die to ourselves. That may be a hard reality. There are times when my flesh wants to live, yet it needs to come under the authority of Christ. 

When I think of the Lord God Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, Creator of all things, the God who ultimately showed mercy to the world by sending his son Jesus who bore all our sin on the cross, I see a God so far from grey. I think of God as a colourful God in terms of our identity. How incredibly wonderfully he has made us! Grey seems depressing and hopeless. Can he be our hope in the midst of any identity crises? 

The lie spreading throughout North American culture is that you can’t find or have JOY and HOPE in the midst of a struggle against our flesh. I’m speaking specifically in terms of same-sex attraction. But we can say the same for anything our flesh desires! Give in to gluttony, give in to putting your trust in your own riches, give in to self-indulgent behaviours like masturbation and porn use. Scripture is full of verses that tell us to beware of our flesh as it can so easily draw us away from the truth. The truth sets us free, it doesn’t put us back into slavery (and slavery can feel good because it’s familiar).

Shadows of sinfulness

The truth is that many people have fallen away from the gospel because they’ve tried to gain “perfection,” which they define as being like everyone around them. To be delivered, set free and “changed” must mean we no longer struggle with sin or our human condition. Is change possible? It depends on how you define change. If it means I put my faith in no longer struggling or facing the shadows of my sinfulness, then I’ve got it wrong. For myself, I’ve had to make peace with my past. I’ve had to acknowledge the good and the bad things that have happened and how it has shaped me to who I am today. 

I’m a Christ follower who loves God more than my own life. More than my own desires and wants and needs. (And I am far from perfect). Part of that equation also means that I need to submit my life to the control of the Holy Spirit who gives me wisdom and understanding. I’m called to serve my wife in this posture of my own submission. To love her like Jesus loved the church. I’m called to raise my daughter in the ways of the Lord. Train her up so she doesn’t depart from the truth! I’m called to love and encourage and love and encourage and then do that again, over and over again. I’m also called to be ready to share the hope within me and that the power of my testimony and the blood of the Lamb defeats the enemy. In that posture, I am not to be afraid to lose my life, or could we say identity!

So where are you at in the battle of your human condition? May you be encouraged to continue on the path set before you, not loving your life so much that you are afraid to lose it. May you encourage and spur others on in authentic community and relationships, where our God lives in vibrant colour.

Author

  • Kenny Warkentin

    Kenny Warkentin after working several years as an urban missionary with Living Waters Canada and Exodus International is now an associate Pastor. Kenny is passionate about issues regarding relational wholeness, gender and sexuality and has written numerous columns on those issues as it pertains to the Body of Christ. He is married to Paula and they have a daughter Phoebe. Paula and Kenny are both avid artists and they have showcased their work in various venues. Paula is a spoken word poet and Kenny is a photographer and painter. The are passionate about marriage and travel and share their testimony throughout North America.

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