Pornography, Masturbation, Temptation

Question from a Site Viewer
I struggle with pornography and masturbation and I just can’t seem to stop. The temptation is too great. I’m afraid to even ask for forgiveness (yet again).

Tim’s Answer
Fighting any temptation that has attached itself into our lives can be a difficult thing. God knows this. He tells us in Romans 6 that those who give into sin become slaves of sin. When we yield to temptation, such dulls our consciences and increases our proclivity to future sin. Conversely, when we yield to God, such sharpens our consciences and increases our tendency to walk with Him in the future–making temptation much easier to deal with. But the renewing of the mind is a long-term project. We do not suddenly wake up one day and find that all temptation is gone. One day, when we get to heaven, temptation will be over. But on this earth, it is a present reality.

So, how do we handle temptation? First, I encourage you to fill your mind with Christ and His words. Memorize and meditate on them. Be disciplined in your mind as to what you allow yourself to think. Choose to think about what is good (Philippians 4:8). Make your goal each day to carry out His mission, to love Him and love others. Learn the habit of constantly talking to God, listening to His voice, and seeking ways that He would want you to change. The moment we stop being willing to change is the moment we stop growing in life.

If you do these things, you will find your mind and life over time becoming more and more a vessel fit for our Savior’s use. And He will use you in ways you never imagined. Pursue the good.

But, we all stumble. When we stumble and sin, we must avoid the lie that God does not want us back, or that we must do some penance to come back to God, or that we have finally exhausted His mercy. These are all lies that Satan uses all of the time. What God desires is restored relationships. What God wants is for us not to spend a second longer away from Him than what is needed to recognize we have sinned and to repent and turn back to Him. Every day, all of us live only because of His mercy. When we seem strong and are resisting temptation by focusing our minds on Christ, we still live in His mercy. When we stumble and give in to temptation, we rely on His mercy to restore us. What we sometimes forget is that God delights in those who hope in His mercy (Psalm 147:11). So, having fallen, my encouragement to you is to turn immediately to Christ, ask for His forgiveness, and seek to wash your mind with His word and your actions with prayer to Him. Then, work to strengthen your relationship with Him and your service to others.

Also, it is helpful to have a healthy view of one’s sexual desires. God is not against sex. God understands the desires of His creation in this area. But God also knows that sex outside of marriage is not helpful to making us into men and women of the kingdom. The pursuit of sex can quickly capture our minds, warp our thoughts, and crowd out the holiness God wants us to use in approaching Him and others. Practicing sex is not the answer to the desires; it only feeds the desires. So, unless we are married, the best approach to sexual desires is to take them to Jesus, lay them before Him, then take up our cross and seek to make ourselves into vessels fit for His service.

One practical thing that has helped me in this area is to focus life on others. Others have greater needs than we do, if we have eyes to see. So to be about interceding for them, and seeking to be God’s messenger to bless them can help pull the mind away from the “poor me” attitude that feeds into self-pity and feelings that lead to serving our own desires.

Also, if you desire sexual intimacy, then ask God to help you find a person whom you can marry. Keep this as a matter of prayer before God and keep your eyes open to the ways in which God might answer this prayer. In the meantime, try to be a blessing to all.

May the Lord Jesus help you see that His mercy is not yet exhausted; but He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins if we confess. And no matter how many times we fall, if we confess that we have sinned and seek to live as He would have us live, He is faithful to forgive and restore.

one who also has depended on His mercy,

tim

One thought on “Pornography, Masturbation, Temptation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available