In my struggle with crossdressing, many Bible verses have been helpful to me. I’ve studied them, memorized some of them, and often read them after failures. I’ll periodically mention and comment on some of them and how they relate to our fight with sexual sin. 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.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
This is a great passage for those of us who crossdress. Crossdressing is a deed done in the dark usually. We hide in our closets or bathrooms and crossdress. We keep it secret, and we may even lie about it. But Jesus wants us to live in his light. Paul in this passage talks about how when we were not Christians we were in total spiritual darkness. But after coming to know Jesus we enter his light, in fact we “become” light. This is possible since Jesus is “the Light of the world.” Paul then goes on to talk about our behavior. We should stop committing the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. We should confess them. To me, few things fit better in this passage than crossdressing. It is surely a fruitless deed of darkness. It produces no good fruit, only pain and confusion and deception. When we confess sins like crossdressing to other people, they lose power. It is amazing. Every time I have told someone new about my crossdressing, the confession was followed by a long time of abstinence from crossdressing. There is just something about confession, about bringing things into the light, into the open, that makes sins and temptations lose their power. They no longer seem insurmountable. We are able to look at them the way others look at them, and our false rationalizations crumble down. Let us live in the light.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
This is probably a familiar passage to many of you. It’s one of the classic texts on spiritual warfare. People are not our enemy, but the devil and his demons. As Christians, we don’t fight in a war using real swords, we fight a spiritual war against Satan. It’s a war that we have assurance of victory for. We know that Jesus wins in the end. The devil’s days are numbered. What is this war about? The war is about a couple things. 1. The devil tries to keep more people from coming to know Jesus, but God is more powerful and thousands are becoming Christians every day, and God uses us to accomplish this task. 2. The devil tries to keep God’s people ineffective and tries to get them to sin, and tries to get them to despair. And he tries to get them to give up on God and their faith. This is what Paul was primarily talking about in this passage. The Ephesians were mostly new converts and they were wrestling with not giving in to sins and the idolatry of their surrounding culture. The Ephesians he was writing to were possibly in a time of persecution. Paul himself was in prison while writing this letter. But it was not the civil authorities that were the real enemy. No. The real enemy was Satan trying to get them to sin and trying to get them to give up on their faith.
This is a great passage for us in our battle against crossdressing. Satan would love nothing better than to see us fail and fall back into crossdressing. He knows that God does not want crossdressing in our lives. Satan would love for us to be so consumed with crossdressing all the time, that we are never ready and available to be used by God in the rest of our lives. But we are not alone in our fight against Satan. God is with us. And he has given us tools and weapons to resist Satan, to fight against him, and to fight against temptation to sin. We have the armor of God. They are not literal pieces of armor, and the list is probably not meant to be exact and exhaustive. God has given us much more besides just these things. But with them, we can “stand firm” and resist temptation to crossdressing.We have the “belt of truth.” Crossdressing is fundamentally about twisted lies. Don’t give in to the half truths. The world says crossdressing is harmless, but we know better. We know the destruction it has caused in our lives. We know what God’s Word says. Keep remembering the truth during times of temptation. Proclaim those truths to yourself. Satan loves to put thoughts into our minds to rationalize sinful behavior like crossdressing. Don’t give in to the lies. Hold fast to the truth.
— We have the “breastplate of righteousness.” The devil likes to make us think we are worthless, unrighteous, and doomed to experience God’s wrath and his punishment for our sin. But this is not what the Bible says. Those who are in Christ, have been given Christ’s righteousness, and we stand righteous before God, whether we have crossdressed or not. So many times, it was like Satan was saying to me, “you are already mired in sin, God hates you because you crossdressed, so you might as well keep doing it instead of trying to stop, because you are already going to get punished anyway.” But the Bible tells me that I am loved by God because of the sacrifice of Jesus for my sins. The Bible tells me I am clothed in Christ’s righteousness. The Bible tells me I don’t have to fear punishment for my sins of crossdressing or anything else, because Jesus has taken that punishment for me. The Bible tells me that I am loved by God and ready to go to Heaven, not because I have earned it, but because Christ’s righteousness has earned it for me. When you have a crossdressing failure, don’t give in to despair. Hold fast to your breastplate of righteousness given to you through Jesus.
— We should have “feet fitted with readiness.” The good news of the Gospel, the “Gospel of peace” gives us peace in life. We are reconciled and made right with God through Jesus. We have meaning in life. We don’t have to be afraid. And because of all this, we can be ready to be used by God. We need to be ready to be called on by God to move and help others. This blog community is a great resource. God has been using us to help each other in our fights against crossdressing and to help others who visit. Be ready to move and give encouragement to others. Be ready to share the good news of God’s grace with others. Be ready to move and call others to repentance.
— We have the “shield of faith” to shield ourselves from Satan’s arrows of temptation. This is so important in our battle against crossdressing. It is far too common for crossdressers to think that it is impossible to resist crossdressing. They think it’s hopeless and that they are doomed to crossdress forever. But this is false. And this mindset comes down to a sinful lack of a faith, or a weak flimsy faith. Who is in charge of our sanctification (process of becoming more holy)? Not us, it is God. It is the Holy Spirit working in us. I hear of so many Christians talking about sins that they “can’t get rid of.” Or talking about how sinful they are and all the sins they commit. At first glance, this might sound humble. But it is not true humility. Since our sanctification is because of God’s power at work within us, we CAN start living for God more and more. We CAN resist sin. Now of course, we know we won’t become perfect yet, we will still wrestle with our sinful nature. We won’t be made perfect by God until Jesus returns. The Bible makes it clear. But in the meantime, we CAN get certain sins out of our lives completely. We can become more holy. Why? Because God is almighty, all-powerful, and it is he working within us. So when temptation comes to crossdress, we don’t stand there without a shield saying, “well I guess I have to give in, because I am a sinful person.” No. We hold up the shield of faith strongly and say, “No, Satan, I have strong faith in God’s power. I don’t have to give in to this stupid crossdressing because God is at work in me giving me the power to resist these sins.”
— We have the “helmet of salvation.” This is similar to the breastplate. We need to remember that we are saved in Christ. Nothing can take that away. We don’t need to earn our forgiveness and salvation by resisting crossdressing. No. We only stop crossdressing in order to show our gratitude for God because of the salvation we already have received. So the helmet of salvation is our constant reminder that we are saved, and even if we have a failure in crossdressing, we do not lose our salvation.
— And we have our weapon, “the Sword of the Spirit, the word of God.” God speaks to us through his written word, the Bible. And the Holy Spirit who lives within us helps us to understand God’s Word and apply it to our lives. Together, Word and Spirit are extremely powerful and are God’s main means of speaking to us. There is too much to say about this one, as it encompasses the whole of God’s scriptures. But we must be ready to resist crossdressing temptations by the truths of God’s Word. We must meditate on God’s Word, memorize it, and be ready to recite it to ourselves in times of weakness. We must go to God’s Word for encouragement, for empowering, and for strength. We must go to God’s Word to remind ourselves of God’s forgiveness, love, mercy, and grace. We must go to God’s Word to be built up in our knowledge of God, and how he wants us to live. We must go to God’s Word, to meet with God, to hear from him, and get to know him better. We can’t expect to get very far in resisting crossdressing temptations without God’s Word.
— And last, verse 18 near the end of the chapter, reminds us to keep on praying for all the saints. Who are the saints? Not some special Christians, but any Christian is a saint. I would like to use this verse to remind us to pray for each other. Brothers, we need each other. We shouldn’t be going at this alone. We need to keep on praying for each other, that God gives each of us strength to resist temptation, healing in our souls, a healthy masculinity based on God’s word (not cultural stereotypes), healing for our marriages, assurance of God’s forgiveness and grace, healthy joyful activities in our lives that replace crossdressing, conviction of sin, strength to cut through the lies about crossdressing, and so on. Let us keep lifting each other up in prayer.