'I'm Ashamed to Admit I Have a Problem With Masturbation'

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No Christian should ever be ashamed to admit they have a problem with masturbation. There's hope and victory in Jesus (photo for illustrative purposes only). (encasey/freeimages.com)

4. Simple and straightforward truths about the subject

The same goes for entertaining illicit sexual fantasies in the mind that lead to instant gratification. Therefore, aware that the "heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked..." (Jer. 17:9), let's be brutally honest: Is masturbation a holy and honorable way to glorify God, cultivate self-control and avoid sexual uncleanness?

  • The term "masturbation" is derived from two Latin words: manus"-hand and "turbatio"-agitation. Experimentation and stimulation like this often occurs in childhood. Allow me a slight bit of sanctified comic relief here by injecting that this is not the meaning behind Eccl. 9:10. "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might."
  • The term does not appear anywhere in the Bible, neither does it make any direct statement about masturbation. Because the Bible does not explicitly condone or condemn masturbation, we must look to biblical principles for guidance and avoid dogmatic pronouncements on the subject. Some believe it is always a sin; others see it as wrong because it's less than God's ideal, but there may be some exceptions; there are those who view it in a neutral way as a matter of individual conscience; and, as referenced earlier, some see it as a "gift from God."
  • Previously we clarified the Genesis 38:8–10 account of Onan. Other Old Testament references are Lev. 15:16-17; Deut. 23:10-11 and Lev. 22:4, which could be the result of this activity or a nocturnal emission (natural, nighttime release of fluid while sleeping). Here God gave directions not because anything was sinful or "dirty" but for hygiene and emphasizing self-control. Similar guidance was given for women during their monthly cycle.
  • In the New Testament we find a passage similar to the one previously mentioned (1 Thess. 4:3-5), also underscoring self-control (1 Cor. 7:1-5) plus emphasizing the marriage relationship as a practical solution and safeguard for struggling singles who "burn with passion" (v9). In our society overwhelmingly saying "Indulge yourself," God tells us "Control yourself!"
  • As holy/set-apart disciples of Jesus Christ told to "set before my eyes no unclean thing" (Ps. 101:3) [I have this passage on a card affixed to our television] and to never "look lustfully upon a woman" (Matt. 5:28), obviously we're to avoid sexually explicit images that fuel passions often leading to masturbation. Pornography is actually material to be read or seen with one hand, that is, as an accompaniment to solo sex.

    The same goes for entertaining illicit sexual fantasies in the mind that lead to instant gratification. Therefore, aware that the "heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked..." (Jer. 17:9), let's be brutally honest: Is masturbation a holy and honorable way to glorify God, cultivate self-control and avoid sexual uncleanness?
  • For individuals in unique circumstances and seasons of life, we must ask God for wisdom in righteously dealing with legitimate sexual desire, e.g., widows or widowers reflecting on memories of their deceased spouse; living with an incapacitated mate; a husband or wife away for extended periods of time in military service, imprisonment or lengthy business/ministry trips.
  • Finally, for those who ask the inevitable question, "What if I feel helpless or too often slip?" Remember we defeat temptation from a position of victory not one of trying to achieve it! Jesus Christ came to provide us not only forgiveness of sin but liberation from its power! We have the ability to sin but no longer the obligation.

Like Job, make a "covenant with your eyes (Job 31:1); "Flee evil"--don't flirt with it. If you allow Satan to get his foot in the door, he'll come in and try to destroy your whole house! Spend consistent time in the Word of God ("How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your Word" (Ps.119:9); grow in character and self-control through godly accountability with other like-minded Christians of the same sex; and, affirm by faith your liberation from sin's compulsive power.

As a young man, I put on my hallway mirror a scriptural statement to confess regularly. It's from Romans 6:6–7 that I personalized to build my faith and walk as an overcomer. Little by little, my mind was renewed to believe this fact: "I don't have to serve sin today. I have been set free!"

If you're tired of being Satan's Pinocchio with him pulling the strings and manipulating you to walk in defeat, condemnation and uncleanness, then repent of any passivity and reject the lie that this temptation is too difficult to defeat. No Christian should ever be ashamed to admit they have a problem with masturbation. There's hope and victory in Jesus!

Claim forgiveness from our holy, yet merciful Father. Don't plan to fall but if you do, immediately arise to repent and continue your journey to glorify God. There is hope and victory in Jesus!

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Cor. 10:13).

Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with more than 41 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview. He loves awakening people to today's cultural realities and responses needed for a restored, influential church. Please visit LarryTomczak.com.

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