Question from a Site Viewer
I have been suffering from masturbation. I try to suppress the urge most times but I sometimes fail. It often leaves me so dry spiritually and I feel guilty. I no longer have the boldness to talk to God for mercy.
In answer to your question, first I suggest we need to think rightly about this matter. People do not suffer from masturbation; they choose to masturbate. Masturbation is not a disease that is afflicted on us; it is a choice that we make. It is not like a sneeze to be stifled; rather, it is a fire to be avoided. And having become a slave of the sin, one will never win the struggle without first changing the way the mind thinks. Sin almost always begets more sin. This is what Romans 6 teaches. Conversely, if we pursue righteousness, such righteousness will beget more righteousness.
So, we have a choice. We can pursue sexual sin that leads to bondage, despair, and death; or we can pursue Christ who leads to freedom, hope, and life. Every moment of every day we have that choice. If we think about masturbation, we will masturbate. If we think about Christ, we will pursue Him. One can never win the battle by entertaining thoughts of sin in one’s mind and trying to hold the line on the outward action. One wins the battle by winning the battle in the mind. We need to guard what we let our minds think. We cannot afford to be lazy or undisciplined in our thought life. Scripture tells us to think about what is good (Philippians 4:8). This is a command that comes to us. We are told to bring every thought into captivity (2 Corinthians 10:5). We are told that, because of the great love God has demonstrated on our behalf, we need to present our bodies a living sacrifice and be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). Life is to be lived by choosing what we will allow into our minds.
This does not mean that we can keep all evil thoughts out of our minds. But it does mean that when they enter we can immediately and consciously think about other things. We need a holy diversion kit readily available to deploy when the thought enters. Sing a song of praise to God, recite a verse, pray for someone in need, or praise God. But have something ready to fight the temptation to linger thinking about the sinful thought. Because, if we linger on the thought, we will fall. This will often include a need to keep away from situations where we may most be tempted. The more we think about the thought, the more the thought will reappear. The less we think about the thought, the more rare will be its reappearance. So, we must purify our hearts from these thoughts by not letting them linger when they first appear. We must put them away by replacing them with thoughts that will be pleasing to God.
And, always, we must ask God for help. We can talk to God about our desires for sexual intimacy. We can ask Him for mercy and grace to give strength to avoid what is displeasing in His sight. We can affirm to Him our love and our desire to live a holy and chaste life. And we can seek to serve Him by serving others. I think one of the greatest antidotes to sin is a life focused on helping others through good deeds, petitions, and love.
Finally, we should not despair if we fail. As John writes, if we sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One (1 John 2:1). We need to return immediately to our merciful Father and seek to strengthen our lives and our love for Him to carry out His will. Ultimately, when our love for Him surpasses our love for sexual experience, we will find the battle won. What He offers far exceeds anything one can experience in this world. We need to train our minds to understand this truth; and to take up our crosses and follow Him in this life so that we might lay hold of the eternal life offered to us.
May the Lord Jesus and His Spirit strengthen your mind to obey the truth and live a life of blessing to God and humanity.