Question: I have been reading the write ups on your website recently and I have found them very helpful and inspirational.
I am 28 years old and a Christian but I have struggled with masturbation and pornography since I was 11 years old. There have been times I have enjoyed temporal victories and stayed away from it for a while, but I seem to fall right back into it.
At some point during the end of last year I started praying to God to end my life if I did not stop, and it seemed to help me because I stopped for a while but I fell again and since then I have not really been free from it. I feel very ashamed when I do such and it affects my Christian life, because when I do it I feel ashamed and guilty and I can’t even pray for a while.
I am close to giving up hope that I can stop it. I intend to find a Christian lady and get married soon and hope it will help. I told a friend of mine who prays for me. I need your prayers and counsel on this because I am afraid that maybe God might be running out of patience with me since I have gone on for so long without being able to stop it.
Answer: I appreciate you writing, and I hope to write more later on this subject, but since many people have asked, and I know it is needed, I will finally write what I believe God wants people to hear on this subject of “masturbation.”
God loves you, and it is a trick of Satan to tell you that you should take your own life. Most, if not all, Christians struggle with these temptations and thoughts that you mentioned. You need to realize this and keep on going and looking for victory. Using pornography is not of the Lord, even when you are married. Jesus said, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)
Also, God does want most people to get married. He wants most Christians to have a family and so this is a good desire to want to get married, but not just to stop masturbating, of course. Paul says, “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:8, 9)
Here is what some people say about the subject of masturbation, and they use these verses in a wrong way: And Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother. But Onan knew that the heir would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the Lord; therefore He killed him also.” (Genesis 38:8-10.) These verses are speaking of a man who did not want to do the Old Testament responsibility of raising up children for his brother’s name.
I believe that if a person is married that they should save this act for sex in marriage. What happens is that they begin to defraud the other one when they masturbate. But Paul says, “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:5)
The thing is that from time to time a man or woman may succumb to this temptation of masturbation. I believe when this happens we should ask for forgiveness and go on with our life. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 TNIV) Don’t beat yourself up for this sin, but trust the Lord to give you get victory over it.
When the temptation comes, get away from the area, go somewhere else, think about other things. Go to be with other people, but run from it. This is what Scripture says: “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:2) “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:7,8)
The other day I was putting the cardboard and newspaper in the city bin. There in front of me were a whole lot of Playboy magazines. I did not look at them, but tried to cover them up so others would not be tempted. Then I had to leave the area as fast as I could. I know of another brother who was jogging and he came across some pornography in the road, so he had to go to the other side of the street.
Yet another brother ended up throwing away his computer. For me, I feel I can be victorious even with the internet, but you need to do what is best for you to get victory. Save yourself for your wife. If you are not married, God has a natural way of relieving this. It is sometimes called a “wet dream.” Your body will take care of the pressure by giving you a “wet dream.”
I believe many men and women have problems with masturbation, but will not talk to others about it. So you need to talk to other Christians about this subject. You will have to strive to have victory over this area of your life. It might continue through your whole life, but God is faithful and will give you victory as you ask for His help. I know that even Bible school teachers, pastors and Christian workers have these temptations, even in their old age. So you are not alone. Please don’t let Satan trick you into thinking you are any different than any other Christian. God loves you dearly and He will help you.
Just because others will not talk about this subject does not mean that they don’t have the same temptations. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Your brother in Christ,
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