The Destruction of Pride: An Interview with Micah Johnson

June 28, 2024

Host: Dr. Isaac Crockett

Guest: Micah Johnson

Note: This transcript is taken from a Stand in the Gap Today program originally aired on 6/28/24. To listen to the podcast, click HERE.

Disclaimer:         While reasonable efforts have been made to provide an accurate transcription, the following is a representation of a mechanical transcription and as such, may not be a word for word transcript. Please listen to the audio version for any questions concerning the following dialogue.

Isaac Crockett:   Welcome to the program, to this Friday edition of Stand In the Gap. I’m Pastor Isaac Crockett, the pastor at East Lawrence Baptist Church. A little church out in the middle of the hay fields in the northern part of Pennsylvania that we’re actually replanting. It’s been around for 180 some years, but we’ve been replanting it the last year and seeing God work. But I’ve also enjoy being a co-host on this program. I’m usually on with Sam Rohr, sometimes some of the other co-hosts, and so it’s just me as the host today. But I have a special guest who’s been on a while back with another one of our friends, pastor Matt Rucker from New York City was on and Micah was with him. So I’m really happy to introduce today. Micah Johnson. Micah, thank you so much for taking the time even out of your busy work schedule and ministry schedule to be on the program with us today.

Micah Johnson: Yeah, sure, Isaac. Well, it’s wonderful to be with you today and thank you for inviting me on the program to talk about a very important issue, an issue that’s personal to me. And as you mentioned, my name is Micah Johnson. I’m originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado, but I’ve been a New Yorker now for 27 years. My career for two decades was in fashion and advertising and working at magazines and doing photo shoots for various clothing brands. But more recently though, God has led me to work in a family business, which really allows me more flexibility to focus on lay ministry through my church, which is Heritage Baptist Church in New York City. And through that ministry, I’ve had the opportunity to do a weekly radio program with my pastor for three years. We were just talking about it before we went on the air. I’ve been given the opportunity to preach, to lead men’s bible studies, to counsel people to teach the youth in Sunday school and many other things. So I just praise God for every opportunity he brings.

Isaac Crockett:   Well, thank you for that and I can relate to you with that, with the family business side of things that it’s neat to see how the Lord can use that my life with my wife Jill and the kids and I, we have family business that sustains us so that we’re able to get into the ministries like what I’m doing here on radio today or when I’m preaching so that we’re able to support ourselves and even help support those ministries. It’s just awesome how God providentially works in different places, unusual places, sometimes behind the scenes. But your friend slash maybe mentor someone who I look up to very much in a mentor type of way. Pastor Matt Rucker is a friend of this program, a personal friend, and he had suggested you as a guest for today’s discussion, and I think you were on for part of discussion with him a while back on this, but that has to do with the L-G-B-T-Q pride issue especially. We’re wrapping up this month of June Pride month as it’s known by many. Can you just kind of share your own personal connection with this issue, Micah?

Micah Johnson: Yeah, I’d be happy to. So I’ve known the Lord my entire life. I grew up in church. I even went to a Christian school for most of my years, and I’ve always had a strong sense of right and wrong. I’ve always believed that the Bible was God’s authoritative word. I always figured if God can create the universe and the mountains and the oceans and even me, then it was fully within his strength to get the Bible his word to humanity exactly how he intended it. So I always believed that, but I didn’t always live out my strong beliefs. When I was younger, I was definitely different than other little boys. I wasn’t interested in football or BB guns or motorcycles like my older brothers were. They had a paper route and they would save up their money to buy motorcycles and instead, I like gymnastics, I like drawing.

Micah Johnson: I even played mostly with girls and we don’t have time to go into all the reasons why, but I always felt a distance from my father and my brothers. And I know that that had an effect on me. And so by adolescence, my difference, it manifested in a way that I couldn’t have expected because all of a sudden one day I realized that I was attracted to men. And I can tell you that for years, Isaac, this was an extremely painful internal struggle for me. I remember lying awake at night on my bed, crying out to God, asking him to take away these desires, but he never did. I didn’t want to go against the word of God, but I was just asking him. And at the time he just didn’t take those away. So after high school I moved to New York City and by my second year in New York, I gave in to those homosexual desires.

Micah Johnson: And I remember finally telling my parents and I said that I knew what the Bible said and that I believed it, but I was just not strong enough to live a life where I didn’t get to experience a romantic relationship with another person. So for the next 13 years actually, I lived in that lifestyle and when I look back, I can clearly see how saying no to God in this big area of my life led to a million other ways in which I said no to him. But eventually, and through a series of events, God really started working in my heart. He brought me back to church more consistently. I fell into a Bible study. He surrounded me with Christian friends. I started listening to Christian music. And through that process I just remember saying to the Lord, God, what do you want from me?

Micah Johnson: And surprisingly, he actually answered spiritually, not audibly. I felt God speak to me. He tapped me on the shoulder and he said, for whosoever will save his life, shall lose it and whosoever will lose his life, for my sake shall find it. He said, remember when you told your parents that you didn’t have the strength to live the life that I’m calling you to live? Well, you still don’t. So you have to rely on me for that strength and I will give it to you. I am with you. So needless to say, letting go of what I was holding onto most tightly, it was almost impossible. But God brought me to that place of surrender and what happened next? It really felt like a miracle. It was as if there had been a wall between me and God which came tumbling down and it was almost like a dam was broken and the Lord just rushed in.

Micah Johnson: So all of a sudden I could sense God’s leading for the first time in my adult life, I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. And the most surprising part of that I had was a real sense of joy that I didn’t even know that I was missing. You look at the Bible and you see the word joy throughout the pages, but until you really know what it means, until you experience it, you don’t even know that it’s missing life. It still had its ups and downs, but it was like joy covered every other emotion. And the one thing that I asked of God at the time when I really surrendered was that the previous 13 years wouldn’t be wasted, that he would somehow use them for his glory and use me for his glory. And I can tell you, Isaac, that he has, God has fulfilled that promise. I mean, even being on the radio with you today is one small part of that. And I am just so thankful,

Isaac Crockett:   And we’re almost to the break here, but I’m just thinking for others who might be struggling with something, a desire of their heart that are saying the same thing, I want to have that spiritual joy that I’m missing. What would be something that you would encourage them to do?

Micah Johnson: Well, I quoted that verse, Matthew 1625, just now for whosoever will save his life, will lose end whosoever loses their life, for my sake shall find it. And Jesus, that’s actually Jesus’s most repeated statement in the entire gospel. So I would say, look at that and really study that out. What is Jesus saying that you have to surrender in order to have the life that he intends for you to have? Study that out, read it’s six times in the gospel. Study each one of those six times out, read the context and say, what is God asking of me? And I promise you, if you’re sincere in that study, he will reveal himself.

Isaac Crockett:   That is awesome. That’s great advice. That full surrender to God is the opposite of pride. Full surrender to God is the opposite of human arrogance. We want to talk about that much more with Micah Johnson when we come back from this brief time out here from our partners. Welcome back to the program. I’m Pastor Isaac Crockett, and today joining me is Micah Johnson, who is a lay minister at Heritage Baptist Church in New York City. And some of you maybe remember him being on our program a number of years ago, or maybe you remember his pastor, pastor Matt Wrecker, who’s been on this program with us a number of different times. And we’re talking about as finishing up this month of June, which has been taken over in many ways by people in our culture who talk about Pride Month and L-G-B-T-Q and all the things that go along with that.

Isaac Crockett:   And Micah, you told about your situation where you surrendered. First of all, you were starting to surrender to the things of the flesh, the natural man, those things that were drawing you in that led you into a homosexual lifestyle. For all of us, when we give into the flesh, were tempted and then we give in it’s sin. And sin we know brings forth death. It doesn’t bring forth joy. It’s a death style, not a lifestyle. And so whether it’s somebody tempted to eat food that they shouldn’t or too much food or tempted to blow up in an angry way, in a way they shouldn’t, or towards infidelity or pornography or any sexual deviance like that, as we give into it, we find ourselves surrendering, being caught in this trap of the flesh. And Paul talks about that a lot, the New Testament. And yet the way out of it is returning to the word of God, the written word of God, and our relationship with the living word of God, Jesus Christ.

Isaac Crockett:   And as you talk about that, Jesus asks us to surrender everything. I think of the old song that’s often sung at camp meetings or at the end of the sermon all to Jesus. I surrender. I surrender all. And that really caught a hold of you, Micah. So I’d just like to kind of go down that road here looking at some of this. Let’s look at a biblical definition of pride. Micah, our culture is celebrating pride, especially the month of June, L-G-B-T-Q pride. It’s important to know what does the Bible actually say about that. Could you maybe just give us a quick summary of what the Bible describes pride as being in scripture?

Micah Johnson: Sure. So there are several different words used in the Bible to express the idea of pride. Sometimes you have the same Hebrew word, but it’s translated different ways. So there’s arrogancy, haughtiness being lifted up, loftiness, pump, presumptuousness, and of course pride. And there’s actually one verse in Jeremiah, which I stumbled across this week, which uses five of those words to really get the point across. And I’ll read it, Jeremiah 48, verse 29. It says, we have heard the pride of Moab. He is exceeding proud, his loftiness and his arrogancy and his pride and haughtiness of his heart. And when I read that verse, the thing that I zero in on is that each of those words is used as a description of negative characteristics. And in fact, I did a word study of pride and the word proud and it appears 97 times in the King James version.

Micah Johnson: And I couldn’t find a single time that it was positive. It was negative all 97 times. Probably the most famous verse that mentions pride is Proverbs 16, verse eight, which says, pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before the fall. And that’s where we get the famous idiom pride goes before the fall. And if I could just read one more scripture, pride is also one of Paul’s descriptors of how wicked and selfish men will behave in the last days. And I think that this really relates to us. So second Timothy three, one and two says this, no, also that in the last days, perilous time shall come or men shall be lovers of their own selves. Covetous Bos proud blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, and he goes on. But the takeaway here is that there is never an instance where the Bible uses the description of pride in a positive way. It’s always negative, Isaac.

Isaac Crockett:   That’s very telling. That’s always negative. What about people that are described? Any significant examples that come to mind of pride in the Bible?

Micah Johnson: Yeah. Well the Bible, it’s really filled with a sort of pride hall of fame. It includes Pharaoh from Egypt, the giant Philistine, Goliath. There’s King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. And at times the whole nation of Israel is put into that category and we see each one raise themselves up in pride only to then be knocked down by God. Pride goeth before the fall. But the ultimate example of pride in the Bible is Satan, as he was the first one in history who desired to be equal was God. We see this when the prophet Isaiah describes Lucifer this way, it says, for thou has said in nine heart, I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit also upon the Mount of congregation. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the most high.

Micah Johnson: And then the prophet Ezekiel adds this detail. He says, thou has said I am a God. I sit in the seat of God. So I would argue that not only was Lucifer’s pride, the very first sin ever committed, it’s actually the sin out of which all other sin in the Bible flows. I say that partly because when we get to the fall in Genesis chapter three, the first human sin, the devil as the serpent, he actually appeals to Eve’s potential for pride, telling her that ye shall be as God knowing good and evil. And that was the last thing he said to her to kind of seal the deal just after he said it. Eve bit into that forbidden fruit, as did Adam. And then again in Genesis 11, the same satanic temptation of pride at the Tower of Babel, the people wanted to build a tower to reach heaven. So they were lifting themselves up to the level of God.

Isaac Crockett:   So Micah, it seems pretty clear from scripture the pride is of the flesh and it’s a sin. But what about people say, oh, Micah, how dare you do that pride month? Isn’t that kind of pride, the L-G-B-T-Q pride we’re talking about is different? Do you see a connection? Do you see a correlation there?

Micah Johnson: Yeah, well it is interesting when you search the definition of pride these days using online sources or dictionaries, the first thing you see is you get some version of having pride is the opposite of having shame or pride is simply having positive self-esteem. And then you really have to read down further to finally get to the negative aspects of pride described. I don’t know exactly when that sort of changed in the definition, but that’s what you get these days. But when you look at the LGBT Pride movement rather than simply positive self-esteem, we much more often see sort of a fist raising defiance. It’s a defiance against rules, norms, tradition, historical morality, authority, and ultimately it’s a defiance against God. And when we read the most explicit illustration of homosexuality in the whole Bible, Sodom Gamora in Genesis 19, again, we see that same defiance.

Micah Johnson: So remember all the men of the city of Sodom, it says young and old, they surrounded lots house intending to rape the angels who appeared as men. And when lot tried to reason with them, they defiantly said to him, who are you to judge us? And then they actually tried to kill him before they were struck blind by the angels. And when you get to the prophet Isaiah in chapter three, he compares the prideful wickedness of Sodom to the behavior that he saw in his day. And it says the show of their countenance, thus witness against them and declare their sin as Sodom. They hide it not. And so at its worst pride, it leads to the flaunting and celebrating of sin without shame. And that’s really what we see today with the modern day pride movement. And to paraphrase, Ezekiel the prophet, he said of Sodom, he said, because of their pride, they committed abomination before God.

Isaac Crockett:   Mike, I’m so glad you went down that road and I’m so glad you quoted from Ezekiel there because I think there are many people who say, well, I’m not a homosexual, but they have this pride, they have arrogance, and they have, maybe there’s addiction to pornography or other things that they’re proud and they’re defying God and they’re not humbly surrendering to him like we talked about. And there’s no shame of sin. And I hear sometimes people try to defend the people’s Sodom say, oh, well, it wasn’t their sodomy that was leading, it was their violence against the angels. But it all goes back to this issue of pride no matter what the next outcome is that pride leads to destruction as we’ve seen in a literal way with Sodom. I’ll let you finish. What are some of the reasons you see as Sodom and Gomorrah being so important, significant for us to look to the result of pride in scripture?

Micah Johnson: Yeah, well, just going back to that Ezekiel passage that we both just mentioned, people will say, oh, it wasn’t the homosexuality. If you look at that passage in Ezekiel, but when you read verse 50, it says they committed abomination before God. So everything that’s leading up to it ends at that point, the abomination before God, and that is a reference to their sexual deviance as far as Sodom gaur and why they’re so significant in scripture. It’s again fascinating to do a word search on the word Sodom. It occurs 48 times from Genesis to Revelation and it’s mentioned in the law, in the prophets, in the gospels, even Jesus referenced Sodom. And other than just a handful of times prior to Genesis 19 where it’s spoken about just as a place, Sodom is always mentioned as something like a byword for utter wickedness and God’s swift destruction.

Micah Johnson: And so when the biblical writer spoke of Sodom, the readers knew exactly what they meant to a much lesser degree. It would be like when we talk about Las Vegas as sin city and everyone sort of knows what that means. So most often, especially in the prophets, the mention of Sodom, it’s used as a standard of wickedness which God’s people are approaching and he’s warning them, he’s sending his prophets to say, don’t do this. And then you get to the New Testament and one verse in Jude actually describes Sodom sin both as literal but also as an example to us like a parable illustrating how the wicked will ultimately suffer in hell. And so I’ll just read Jude verse seven. It says, even as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them in like manner giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh are set forth an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Isaac Crockett:   Well there you have a very clear differentiation there between the full humble surrender to the Lord and full out defiance against God. Pride is defiance against God and it brings forth judgment and destruction. And when we look at the L-G-B-T-Q movement and their defiance against God and their support of this abomination of a lifestyle that’s really a death style, I think that tells us what we need to know right there. Well, we want to talk some more about that. We’re going to continue our interview here with Micah Johnson and talk about his church and some L-G-B-T-Q history When we come back from this time out, well welcome back to the program. I’m Pastor Isaac Crockett and I’ve been talking with our friend Micah Johnson, and we’ve been looking at the destruction of pride. We’ve been looking at it biblically. We’ve been looking at it just from the practical sense and even in Micah’s own life of living for 13 years in the homosexual lifestyle and the things that it can do.

Isaac Crockett:   And really pride is the opposite of what we as Christians should be doing. Pride is a defiance against God. Pride is showing no shame for sin, and Christ calls us to humble ourselves to come like little children and innocence before him and to fully surrender our lives to him, be willing to give our entire lives in full surrender to him and for the kingdom of God. So it’s been a great program. If you’re just tuning in, we still have a lot of good things to talk about and I would encourage you to go back and listen to or read the transcript from the earlier part of the program. But before I go back to asking Micah more questions, I’d like to go to Tim, our program producer. Tim, could you let us know some of the things that are going on maybe at American Pastors Network or Stand in the Gap?

Speaker 3:           Well, yes, Isaac, I certainly can. Good afternoon to everybody. We have lots of resources and I say this from time to time, if you only listen to our radio program or check out our TV program, you’re missing an awful lot of the resources that we have, so please take advantage of some of the stuff. If you’ve never seen it before, please consider going and looking it up and see what we’ve got to offer. One of those things is that we have shorter audio segments of somewhere between two and 11 minutes covering various topics discussed on our Stand in the Gap radio show. We call these podcast q and as. These are podcasts, which are good for listeners who desire to hear a short segment on a certain topic. We have many different topics, over 3000 of them from finances to Islam to biblical worldview, the Constitution, we have L-G-B-T-Q items.

Speaker 3:           We have a lot of different things that have been accumulated over the years. We’ve had radio programs. You can go and listen to this shorter segment podcast q and a than find the whole show in our archives. If you desire, check out our podcast q and ass on our app and at our website stand in the gap Also, we have podcasts. You can subscribe on your phone through Apple Podcasts, tune in Spotify, iHeartRadio. We’re on all the major podcasting platforms and streaming platforms, so please sign up for this if you like to get your information and your podcast through that. And every time a new one is downloaded, it’ll be sent right to your smart device every time it is sent out. Also, if you’re a subscriber to our podcast through one of these platforms, please make sure you rate us ratings will allow other like-minded individuals to find us as they search for podcast. And thank you in advance. Also, we have two great websites, American Pastors on there. Please consider looking up articles and other things that are on there, lots of information. Also, you can sign up for e-newsletter and you’ll find out about all the information that’s happening in the American Pastors Network. Also stand and gap We’ll help you find archives of TV and radio programs. So like I said, Isaac, always lots of do behind the scenes and lots of things that we offer, but I’m going to go ahead and send on back to you.

Isaac Crockett:   Alright, well thank you for that Tim, and we appreciate all of our listeners and really love it when you can come online and see and use some of our other resources. Micah, you and I have gotten to know each other well through Pastor Matt ER and through the ministry there at Heritage Baptist Church. I’d love for you to just talk a little bit about your church. I guess one of the things that you have there that’s very unique is literally where it’s located geographically, where it is within the city, and how that is related to what we’re talking about right now with the L-G-B-T-Q Pride Month, all of that. Could you just maybe tell us a little bit about that connection?

Micah Johnson: Sure. Well, as you mentioned Pastor Matt Wrecker, he actually came to New York City in the mid 1980s, so as soon as he graduated from Bob Jones, he came to New York City to minister and he first planted a church in Brooklyn and then another church in Queens. And then 28 years ago, actually, he felt the Lord’s call to plant a church in Manhattan. For the past 10 years or so, we’ve been meeting at a public school in the area of New York as the West Village. For those listeners out there who aren’t familiar with the different neighborhoods of Manhattan, the west half of Greenwich Village is really known as sort of the worldwide center of the modern gay pride movement because the climactic historical event, which launched pride back in 1969, it happened there at a bar called the Stonewall Inn. And it’s not that Pastor Recer specifically had a desire to be in this neighborhood. It’s really just a place where God opened a door and a space became available right when we needed one. But we do however believe that our presence is spiritually significant. So our congregation actually meets on the exact stretch of blocks known as Christopher Street, where the New York City Pride march every year. It reaches its culminating point there, and even the name of the street is sort of ironic because Christopher means Christ bearer. And so we trust that we as a church are the ones who are bearing Christ in this otherwise sometimes dark place.

Isaac Crockett:   Could you go into a little more of the significance of the Stonewall Inn, and I think some of this, Matt has mentioned real briefly on past radio programs, but I know even myself I associate some of those words, but I’d just love to hear you tell a little bit more of the significance there.

Micah Johnson: Sure. Well, I can honestly say that I’m not exaggerating when I say that this bar is significant because just a couple days ago I read that who is going to actually be at the Stonewall in today on the last Friday of Pride Month? Well, the leader of the Free World is I kid you not Isaac, president Joe Biden is going to be joining the musician, Elton John at this bar today on Friday. Again, it’s just 0.3 miles away from where our church meets and the president is going to be there commemorating the history of L-G-B-T-Q Pride. It was actually President Biden’s former boss Barack Obama, who designated this bar as a historical landmark based on the fact that the Stonewall uprising occurred there in 1969. So just a quick history, the uprising or Stonewall Rebellion as it’s called, it was a series of violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT community against the police who had raided the bar several times. At the time, there was all kinds of illegal activity going on in the bar including prostitution and drug use, but the gay community really felt like they were being unfairly targeted by the police because of their homosexuality, which was also illegal at the time. And so these violent protests and the riots that followed, they’re widely considered to be the historical beginning of what they call the fight for L-G-B-T-Q rights in the United States and the movement quickly spread across the world. So all of that happened just blocks away from where our church meets

Isaac Crockett:   That is truly incredible. Some might call it ironic, but I could see we could call it providential and seeing God’s providence and putting Matt Wrecker’s desire to go back to New York City area to plant these churches and to bring him there. There at your church, heritage Baptist Church where you’re a lay minister, you are involved with a lot of things. You’ve helped with the radio program and the youth group and you get to do some preaching and teaching and things. How does your church, again, you’re right in that neighborhood, that gay pride neighborhood where it’s not just one month out of the year. And it’s interesting that President Biden is there today and in all of the, again talking about we should have shame of sin and instead we have this defiance of it, how does Heritage respond to the parades and to the Pride month and just that overall, the L-G-B-T-Q movement that’s going on?

Micah Johnson: Yeah, well first of all, we have a bold and fearless lead pastor. He really doesn’t pull any punches when he preaches. And while he doesn’t make a hobby horse of talking about the issue of pride, he does talk about it. And when relevant, he goes through the Bible exponentially. But when it comes up, he definitely mentions it. And he also takes the opportunities that he has to bring news items or cultural issues to the attention of the church because he knows that his flock is being bombarded with the anti-Christian bias of this culture. And not every single one of us is paying as much attention. We actually meet across the street from an Episcopal church, which has been there for many years, probably hundreds of years, and it has a big pride flag waving in its garden all year long. And then during the month of June, it has all kinds of extra flags and decorations for Pride month.

Micah Johnson: But the presence of our church is also known. We meet in a school, but we put out signs and we’ve done door hangers in the neighborhood, and we’re going to do that again this coming month for our vacation Bible school. But because of the boldness from our pulpit, it also allows us to be bold in our other ministries. Our church does a monthly service at the country’s oldest rescue mission. We do a homeless outreach. We do, as I mentioned, vacation Bible school and we did the radio ministry for 23 years. And so I do believe that our voice is heard, but it all comes down to the matter of sin. We’re not out there specifically preaching on pride all the time, but we do want people to be convicted of their sin only because it leads people to Jesus Christ.

Isaac Crockett:   Micah, in about 60 seconds that we have left here, what would you encourage pastors or other leaders, church people to do about this issue?

Micah Johnson: Yeah, well, I would beseech every church leader who’s Bible believing to talk about the issue of pride. I would say remember that many in your congregation are only going to get the biblical perspective from you. Think about the high school students who just survive years of woke propaganda. And about nine years ago, actually, I left a church where I had been attending and serving because they refused to talk about this issue from the pulpit. On the one hand, they thought they were relevant, they would quote the New York Times, but then when the issue of gay marriage came to a head way back in June, 2015, they were totally silent and in my mind they became irrelevant. So before I first stepped into heritage, I went back and listened to Pastor Matt Sterman on that day, and he did mention it. He made a statement about it. So I think the excuse that some pastors sometimes make that they just want to focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ and they don’t want to be controversial, well, I would just say, how are you following Christ? When he was so often controversial, he never backed down from confronting sin. Yes, he did it in love, but he did not avoid confronting sin. So how can you as a pastor, as a shepherd, as a leader, do that?

Isaac Crockett:   Michael, that’s great. What a great challenge to all of us that we are living our lives as light and as salt. Not to be offensive and just to be jerks, but that light will blind people, that salt will stain, and we need to be in there living for the kingdom and seeking the righteousness of God. Going back to what you told us already in your testimony, full surrender. Well, it’s hard to believe how fast our program is flying. We’re going to take another time out and come back and talk with Mike about the hope and the redemption for those who maybe are struggling. Or if you know somebody who’s struggling, we’ll be right back on Standing the gap today. Welcome back to the program. I’m Pastor Isaac Crockett talking with our good friend Micah Johnson. And when I’m talking with my kids, whether they may be homeschooling or something else, and we’re applying things always with the biblical worldview, trying to reinforce truth.

Isaac Crockett:   What is true, what do we see in the world and what does the Bible say about it? And when it comes to looking at God’s truth, I always want to encourage my children. I want to show them hope. I want to show them the way God redeems things, even if there’s somebody that has a lot of maybe problems, but to look at what God can do and to give them illustrations of that. The same thing as a pastor at my church when I’m preaching on things, I love giving the hope. That’s what the gospel is. It’s hope. God’s grace is our hope, and I love talking about that redemption that I have gone through. And so Micah, as we’re talking with you today, and you look at what God has done in your life, the grace that he has given you, the providence of putting different things at different people in your life at different times in the hope that you have found the joy that you described in your testimony of coming out of the homosexual lifestyle and embracing full surrender to God, instead, as we’re finishing this up, this discussion, what is that hope of redemption for those who are struggling with their homosexuality or those who now it’s more common, this gender identity issue that maybe wasn’t as a big a deal a few decades ago, what hope would you give them in the redemption through Jesus Christ?

Micah Johnson: Yeah. Well, this week, as I was just reviewing all the verses that mentioned the word pride, I stumbled across Psalm 10, four, which says, the wicked through the pride of his countenance will not seek after God. So the first thing I would offer is you must seek after God. Don’t be so prideful as to hide from him in your sin like Adam and Eve did, and don’t try to keep God hidden from you. The Lord will reveal himself to the one who is sincerely searching. The second thing I would recommend is just remember that you’re not alone. Each follower of Christ, as you were saying before, Isaac must come to a moment of true surrender when they lay down whatever it is that God asked them to do. And in that way, we all have the same challenge. We’re all in the same boat. And I’d surely suggest for anyone struggling specifically with the L-G-B-T-Q pride issue, try to find a person to talk to who you trust, preferably someone who has found longstanding victory in the struggle, pastor, a counselor, but somebody who is going back to the Bible and can counsel you just from the perspective of God’s word.

Micah Johnson: Jesus did say that our relationship with him needs to be the most important. So another thing I would say is that just pay attention to Jesus’s words. He said that whoever loves father or mother or son or daughter more than him is not worthy of following him. So he must be number one in your life. And then also just remember that you can trust Jesus when he says that if you lose your life for his sake, you will actually find it. So you can believe that whatever you’re giving up for the Lord, he has something better for you and something better may be a life full of joy. And that was my experience, and I believe it can be everyone’s experience in obedience. We can each have an abundant life filled with joy, filled with purpose, filled with love, and filled with ministry if you want it.

Isaac Crockett:   Amen. That is so great to hear that. The good news is always good to hear in dealing with parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and siblings of people who say, I have a family member. I mean, not too many years ago it seemed like as a social worker in counseling and pastoral things, I had a lot of people dealing with young people that struggled with anorexia and bulimia, things like that. But now it seems that the main struggle is they see their gender differently. Not that they see their body as too big, even though it’s not, is that they think that she thinks she’s a boy or he thinks he’s a girl, and all this confusion, and I see people who seem outwardly to love the Lord, they seem to be quick to compromise in order to try to build that relationship with their loved one and quick to instead of putting God above father or mother or son or child or sibling, they put that person first and say, well, I know God teaches this, but let’s just set that aside and let’s try to get somewhere with, I love how you took us back to God’s word, back to God and his faithfulness.

Isaac Crockett:   If you’re struggling, and it’s important to hear the truth from somebody, not to hear what you want to hear, but to hear the truth, to find real true everlasting joy, and I think that’s what everyone’s looking for is satisfaction. At the end of the day, they’re trying to be satisfied and find joy, and at the end of the day, we don’t find it in ourselves, we don’t find it in other people. We find it in God. He created us to have that fulfilled life in him and through him, through the word of God, through the spirit of in dwelling us through that relationship, that union we have to God through Jesus Christ. Well, Micah, I think we have time here. For those who are not, this isn’t their struggle, but they have a loved one, a friend, a family member who is struggling with this issue, how would you advise them? Because you are very close with your family and different friends now who you had struggles with at times. What would you tell that loved one right now who’s watching somebody struggle with L-G-B-T-Q issues and they’re wanting to help?

Micah Johnson: Yeah. Well, first of all, I would just say that I empathize with you. I’ve been on both sides of the coin. I’ve definitely also grieved for somebody else who’s struggling with sin. It doesn’t have to be this specific sin, but let me give just four pieces of practical and scriptural advice to those who might be grieving for a child or grandchild or a loved one, identifying as L-G-B-T-Q. So the first one is be not conformed to this world. Romans 12, two, it says, basically what you just said, Isaac, is do not compromise in the same way that you wouldn’t simply accept it or even celebrate it if your child was a heroin addict. You cannot condone this sin either. Just like drug use will eventually lead one to physical and spiritual death. So will living an L-G-B-T-Q lifestyle, as you said earlier, the program, the second piece of advice is pray without ceasing.

Micah Johnson: One Thessalonians five 17 as the apostle Paul encouraged us, do not stop praying for your loved one whether you’re seeing things go in the right direction or the wrong direction. And I would say when you get discouraged, even find a prayer partner, have a family friend or member of your church praying right alongside you, encouraging you to keep going and keep having faith. The third thing I would say, speak the truth in love. Ephesians four 15, chances are your loved one is surrounded by those who affirm their lifestyle and they need you to lovingly tell them the truth. Again, if you don’t tell them the truth, then who will? But of course, it’s delicate to navigate the when and the how. And so you must allow the Holy Spirit of God to lead you and let his love for your loved one motivate your actions.

Micah Johnson: I surely remember my sister and also a really good friend of mine who lovingly confronted me. I wasn’t happy to hear it at the time. They might not be happy to hear it at the time, but eventually your confrontation, it will make a difference in their lives. The fourth thing is just remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways. Isaiah 55 verse nine, remember that God exists outside of time. I even believe that our prayers exist outside of time, so don’t get discouraged when God doesn’t work as fast as you want him to. I recently counseled the mother of a teenager who is struggling in this journey and she’s praying for her son, but she’s losing hope or she had lost hope at one point, and I just told her to remember that her son’s young and it’s going to feel like a roller coaster. She needs to stay on that roller coaster with him, deep trusting that the Lord is moving and that he hears your prayers and that the Lord is faithful.

Isaac Crockett:   Amen. We’ve all seen the Lord faithful in our lives and forgiving us and sins that we’ve got caught up in. But to hear that from you, Micah, with all of this information, biblical information, taking us back to the Lord, it is so helpful and so timely. Thank you very much. Thank you for being on with us. Thank you for being willing to share these things so openly and helpful information. Let’s just close in prayer. Father, we come to you as our eternal and almighty creator. Father, we love you. We thank you for giving us life and giving us life more abundantly and eternal life through Jesus Christ our savior. We pray now that your Holy Spirit would work in what has been done and said today to draw us closer to Jesus and his righteousness. It’s in the name of Jesus we pray, and thank you, father. Amen. Well, Micah Johnson, thank you for being with us today. Everybody who listened to us. I thank you for listening and hope that you’ll share this with others who may need it. And until next time, I pray that you will stand in the gap for truth wherever you are.