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I Am Changed

With the recent revelation from Bruce Jenner, I felt compelled to set some things, well, straight (pun intended). The gay identity was one I never wanted…and it dawned on me one day that I should seek my Maker as to what His intentions were for my identity. My plan was to choose what He called right over what my feelings - and what the world - called right. I chose Truth over comfort and momentary pleasure and found freedom form my old way of thinking. In the process, I found a heterosexual identity! Thinking people in a world where a man could say he was born a man but was truly a woman on the inside - and be celebrated for it - one would think a man who did not want a gay identity and found a way to a heterosexual identity would be welcomed…tolerated, but I have not found the world too open about anything other than ‘what feels good is right.’ Choosing righteousness over license is, in this current culture, not to be tolerated. Enough about that. People often ask me if I am still tempted with same sex attraction. When I tell them that I still understand that temptation but it no longer has power over me their reaction is often, “Then how can you say you’re changed? Nothing’s different if you are still tempted.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Honestly, I had no choice in determining what would tempt me, but that in no way negates my ability to choose how I would respond to that temptation! In fact, even Jesus did not get to choose what He was tempted by - and He was tempted in EVERY manner just as we are, yet without sin! We are either always creatures of choice or never creatures of choice. Our humanity has a conscience which gives us the power to choose. If we could not choose, every man would be a rapist. Every person would be obese. Every person would walk in constant anger. Every person would be hopelessly self-focused and full of pride. We always have a choice as to how we respond to a given situation. It just so happens that having a relationship with Christ gives us the power to overcome those temptations and to choose wisely much more easily than in our human strength! If temptation defined us then we would succumb to the statement that ‘this is just who I am so I might as well give in and BE whatever my deepest feeling suggests I am.’ Temptation does not equal identity. I did not get to choose what I was tempted by. It was just there. But it was never intended to define me. Even without Jesus, I always had the choice as to how I would respond to any given temptation, be it sexual or otherwise. Always. It was only when I allowed the temptation to define me that I began to walk in failure and allow it to control me - control my life. I recall the look and sound and feel of temptation in that area - am reminded of it in the media and in the culture on a daily basis (does every TV show or movie have a same sex story line these days? Pretty much). It’s in my face. But that ‘recalling’ in no way defines who I am. Temptation is a joy. What do I mean? When temptation comes my way in ANY area that could lead me to sin, I simply ask the Holy Spirit ‘what is it, Lord?’ My reason is simple. The enemy - the Liar, Satan - desires my downfall. Temptation is intended to lead me to that destruction. I turn to God because the temptation has become my signal that God is up to something. Why else would the enemy be after me in a certain area if not to quell the work of God in my life? So much time has now passed since I identified as gay that is is actually difficult for me to believe I was ever that way. Of course, the Liar does not want me to forget so he continues to try and trip me up in key ways…not usually of a sexual nature, either. He attacks me in the areas of my continuing vulnerability. My sense of security or my sense of being needed or my sense of the need of affirmation - all of which are now daily met in knowing Jesus. I am now so secure that I do not fear vulnerability, nor do I fear for my security, nor do I fear that others might not think my life significant. Temptation has been relegated to use for the Kingdom purposes in my life. When it occurs, I do not allow it to determine my direction. In the moment of being tempted, temptation is now like a fly that occasionally tries to light on the meal of God’s presence in my life. I shoo the pest away with the Word and continue to enjoy the feast of God’s amazingly abundant presence in my life…whether I receive threats and hate from the LGBT community (and I do) or not. The temptation to fear harm is handled in the same way as sexual temptation. “What is it, Father? Your son, Dennis, waits on You…and while I wait, I will apply Your Word to my existence, bathing my being in being with you.” People can say I am not changed if I still understand temptation in my life, but for the doubters, here is a brief list off the top of my head of exactly what has changed since coming to faith in Jesus Christ: My belief system. I once believed I was born gay…until I was born again. I no longer believe I was ever born ‘that way’. My mind. I was transformed by the renewing of my mind. My sexual preference. I used to be sexually aroused only by men. The sexual needs of my life are now met only by my wife…and I crave her body, by the way… My outlook on life. I once was depressed and self-serving. I now look toward Jesus and lay my life down for the King and for the Kingdom. I. Am. Changed. Period. Dennis Jernigan Hear the song I AM CHANGED at I Am Changed WORDS & MUSIC: Dennis Jernigan ©2014 Shepherd’s Heart Music, Inc. Verse Some call me a fool For daring to say I’ve changed But if that makes me a fool, I wouldn’t trade what I’ve found for anything I’m changed Some call me a dreamer For daring to walk away From my old way of thinking My old identity now passed away I’m changed Chorus Changed from who I thought I was Changed by pure redeeming love Changed from death to life And freed from every chain Changed from old identity Freed from lies and freed to be who my Father says I am He calls me changed I am changed! Verse Some call me a hater for daring to disagree Come to my own conclusion of who my Father says I am called to be I’m changed Some call me disillusioned Some call it a mental break But let there be no confusion I am fully aware Fully awake And I’m changed Chorus Changed from who I thought I was Changed by pure redeeming love Changed from death to life And freed from every chain Changed from old identity Freed from lies and freed to be who my Father says I am He calls me changed I am changed! To learn more about Dennis Jernigan and his story, you can purchase his autobiography, Sing Over Me,  or purvhase the DVD documentary, Sing Over Me.

Film Screening in Los Angeles - TONIGHT!

To everyone in the Los Angeles area, there is a FREE screening of the film, SING OVER ME, The Dennis Jernigan Documentary, tonight! Go to…/free-screening-of-sing-over-me-…/ for details!