Your Feelings Don’t Define You

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Co 6:9-11

Your feelings do not define you.

Your desires don’t define you.

Your past does not define you.

Some organizations try to prepare people for the reality that after they quit a harmful behavior, they will still be tempted. They tell members to introduce themselves like this: My name is Bill and I’m an alcoholic. My name is Sally and I am a drug addict.

I respect these organizations. They have helped thousands. And they recognize a significant reality, though they wouldn’t say it this way ? even when we turn from sin, temptation doesn’t go away.

The Bible agrees. But God says our desires and temptations don’t define us. They are no longer who we are, no longer our fundamental identity.

Someone who practiced immorality before Jesus saved them will probably experience sexual temptations all their lives. Homosexuals who come to Jesus will probably continue to struggle with same-sex desires. In some instances Jesus removes these desires. Lots of the time he doesn’t.

But these desires don’t define us. Here’s why:

And such WERE some of you. BUT you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Key word: “WERE.” Paul says that in the past some of the Corinthians HAD BEEN immoral, adulterers, homosexuals, drunkards, swindlers. They WERE. But something happened to them. They were washed, set apart for Jesus and justified. Their identity had changed.

You may be tempted to lust 30 times a day but if Jesus saved you, that’s not who you are and you don’t HAVE to lust. You once WERE immoral. NOW you are a new creation in Christ. You once WERE a homosexual. BUT NOW you’re a son or daughter of God. You once WERE an alcoholic (drunkard). ?NOW you’re a joint-heir with Christ.

I don’t deny that your desires feel overwhelming and irresistible. I’m not saying it’s an easy battle. You may feel like you just can’t help it. Like you’ve tried and tried to deny these feelings and they just won’t ever go away. But be careful not to fall into thinking “I guess this is just who I am. This is how God made me and who God meant me to be.”

Our past does not define us. Our desires aren’t who we are. Our identity in Jesus defines us.

Remember, such WERE some of you. BUT you were washed, sanctified and justified. You were changed. You are new creation. The former things have passed away. The new has come. Even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.