In my struggle with crossdressing over my whole life, many Bible verses have been helpful to me. I’ve studied them, memorized some of them, and often read them after failures. In addition to the ones I’ve already written about, I’ll periodically mention and comment on some of them and how they relate to my crossdressing struggle. 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.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Originally Paul here was talking about freedom in Christ as opposed to trying to earn salvation or trying to earn our own righteousness through obedience to the Law. We obey the Law (just the moral laws) out of faith and gratitude for the grace we have been given in Jesus, not in order to earn our own righteousness or salvation. But elsewhere Paul also talks about how giving in to sin makes us slaves of sin. This verse is a reminder that Jesus wants us to be free, not to be burdened and enslaved by sin. For me, that means not going back to crossdressing and becoming a slave to it again.
13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
So many Christians claim that since we are free in Christ, we just have to love God and others and that is it. But verses like this and others remind us that our freedom in Christ is not to be used for sin. We still have to live in a way that pleases God. We show our love for him by obeying his commands. For me, this means not giving in to sexual immorality. My freedom in Christ does not mean I am free to do engage in sexual sin, it means I am free because the Holy Spirit has given me the power to resist it.
16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
This passage is a great explanation of the conflict between what we in our sinful nature desire to do and what the Holy Spirit desires us to do. Just because we feel like doing something it does not mean that doing so would be good. Following our heart is not always the best thing, contrary to what our culture says. There is a war going on inside of us between our sinful nature and the Holy Spirit. We want to be led by the Holy Spirit not our sinful nature.
Paul also lists a lot of sins, including sexual immorality that we should watch out for. I don’t believe that Paul meant that any person who has done one of these things is not inheriting God’s kingdom. We don’t have to doubt our salvation when we fail in crossdressing. I think he means people who “live like this” as in, it is a regular part of their lifestyle. When the Bible talks about sin, it never says that we will be able to stop sinning completely on our own. The important thing is always that we are fighting against sin in our lives, trying not to sin, but most importantly repenting when we do sin and falling on God’s grace and mercy. So it’s not that if we fail once in a while in sexual immorality that we are doomed. It’s rather that true Christians will not live like that. True Christians, who have experienced God’s grace in Jesus, cannot but help themselves to fight sin and repent when they do sin. People “who live like this” are not true Christians. They have not experienced God’s grace, and are not trying to resist such sins, they are not asking for forgiveness for such sins.
The last paragraph is a helpful reminder too. Paul lists the fruits of the Spirit. Living in the Holy Spirit, in our freedom in Christ, means more than just ridding ourselves of crossdressing. That’s just a beginning step. We crucify our sinful nature including crossdressing. But we also cultivate love, joy, peace, etc. For those of us who have found some success in giving up crossdressing, that frees up our thoughts, energy, and time to try to grow in other spiritual areas of our life, like these fruits of the Holy Spirit. We haven’t done much if we give up crossdressing, but are unloving, judgmental, and full of anger.
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load.
6 Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
I really like this passage. It’s a great passage about accountability. We should love brothers and sisters in Christ enough to point out to them when they are caught in a sin. We should draw them back to Christ. This kind of judging is a helpful good kind of judging. But we need to do it gently. It needs to be done in love, not harshly, not out of pride, not to make someone feel bad. We remind them of God’s grace, and the need to live for God.
We also should hold others accountable in such a way that we won’t become tempted. We should do it in a way that won’t cause us pride, to be tempted to pride. We should not compare ourselves to others. And if I am holding someone accountable about crossdressing, for example, I should be careful that I’m not drawn into sin by talking about it with them. We are to carry each others’ burdens. God doesn’t want lone ranger Christians. The beauty of the church is that we grow in Christ together. We carry our burdens of grief, burdens of suffering in life, and burdens in our fights against sin.
The last paragraph illustrates a very common sense principle. We reap what we sow. Oh my, I sowed so much destruction with my crossdressing and it is only by God’s grace and mercy that I didn’t reap it all. I should have been caught so many times. I’ve done things that could have jeopardized my path to ministry. I should have had my wife walk in on me many times while I was messing up. I should have had people see my internet history. But I’ve been spared. But on the other hand, I have reaped destruction in my soul and in my marriage and in my bondage to crossdressing, in all the gender confusion and pain it caused me, and in all my wasted time given to it.
Let’s not be naive about crossdressing, expecting that it won’t hurt us as long as we are careful. And for those of us who are resisting crossdressing, struggling to battle the desires we sometimes want to give in to, let us not give up. Let us not grow weary in doing good. We have Jesus and Heaven to look forward too. We have treasures in Heaven and the New Creation to look forward to. Let’s keep our focus on that, not on the feeble pleasures that we are missing.