The Sin of Masturbation

Looseness in thinking can lead to indisciplined indulgence of the body's sexual desires. A Christian can never afford to do this. The apostle Paul said,

"And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: now they do it that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway." (1 Corinthians 9:25-27 ).

Again he said,

"That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour: Not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles that know not God:" (1 Thessalonians 4:4-5).

C.G. Scorer in his book, 'The Bible and Sex Ethics Today', says,

"It is from these words (of the Apostle Paul) that advice may be found on another matter to which the Bible apparently makes no reference - that of secret and solitary indulgence, or masturbation. The New Testament does not attempt to analyse the secret aspect of a man's life. Modern psychology may try to do so; Christ and His apostles do not. But it is difficult to escape the conclusion that such self-gratification carries with it the wish to rebel against God's authority over our bodies. It consists in making sexual experience an end to be desired and sought after for its own sake. A man or woman becomes a servant to his or her own desires instead of master of them. It is a general principle that sexual thinking counteracts spiritual insight and power; if the impulses of the body rule our lives, the Spirit cannot. Psychologically, such sins often represent an immaturity of character or a self-consciousness and self-preoccupation which need to be overcome. Of course, it cannot be considered serious in the sense that fornication is, for it does not involve anyone else....[but] it puts a man out of sorts with himself for the very good reason that it represents an upsurge of an impulse over which he has to admit he has ineffective control. It humiliates him and hence it may well nullify his witness as a Christian, simply because of this confusion of his own self-esteem. The solution lies with the will and the adoption of the common sense attitude that sexual stimulation can always be successfully resisted if it is avoided at the outset".

Masturbation may not lead to any disease but it does lead to depression, a sense of guilt and a weakening of will-power - all of which finally rob a person of his fellowship with God and his spiritual effectiveness. If indulged in excessively, it can also cause problems in the sexual relationship after marriage. Masturbation is a sin because it is an abuse of God's gift of sex. It must be repented of and forsaken.

It is often because young people learn the facts of sex in perverted form from their worldly friends that they easily fall into the grip of this evil habit. Once this habit is indulged in, it grips the person so strongly that he is compelled to yield to it again and again. But Christ can set him free.

Many young people are taught by their friends that they must indulge in masturbation, lest their sexual organs be rendered useless through non-use, just as a muscle is rendered useless if unused for many years. This is however a totally wrong idea. Medical authorities are agreed on the fact that the non-use of sexual organs can never lead to a withering-up or an impairment of function. Control of the cravings of sex does not do any psychological harm either. In fact there is no danger whatsoever in keeping sexual desires under control. On the contrary, when a person does discipline himself thus, his will-power becomes stronger and his mind more alert. A man can live all his life without once using his sexual organs and yet be perfectly strong and healthy in mind and body.

Some young men may be concerned about seminal emissions that they have when asleep. These are only part of the normal functioning of their bodies in the expulsion of excess matter. They are neither abnormal nor cause for concern.

Every man must learn to control his sexual passions before he gets married, for self-control will be greatly needed thereafter. There is a place for self-discipline in sexual relations even after marriage, for marriage does not grant license for unrestrained sexual intercourse. One who has not learnt self-control prior to marriage is unlikely to learn it afterwards.

Those who are already in the grip of this evil habit may perhaps be wondering how to find deliverance. The way of deliverance is by recognizing that through our union with Christ in His death and resurrection, sin's hold on us is broken. Victory can be a reality in our lives now as we present ourselves to the Lord and to yield to His Holy Spirit. 

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:2).

We must also plan a busy daily schedule for our lives. Our minds and especially our bodies should be kept occupied throughout the day in some activity or the other. It is the idle, unexercised body that falls an easy prey to sexual desire. The person who lives a hard life will find very little difficulty in this realm. God intends that man should work hard. Adam was to obtain his bread by the sweat of his brow (Genesis 3:19). Science however has now discovered so many time-saving devices for us, that the modern young man finds plenty of time hanging idly on his hands - which the devil is quick to use. I do not mean that we should therefore not use any time-saving devices. Use them by all means. But we should try and spend our spare moments profitably in some form of creative activity.

The energy of the body can be expended in four ways - in physical work, mental activity, emotional experiences or in sexual indulgence. If our bodily energy is not expended in the first three ways, the pressure will be very great to expend in the fourth way. But such sexual indulgence drains the body of its nervous and physical energy and vitality more than any of the other ways do.

Some men are under-sexed and do not feel the pressure within for sexual release as much as others do. Those who feel this pressure greatly because of excessive sexual desire need not feel that they are abnormal. It is an indication of surplus creative energy within them that can be sublimated or expended in very profitable ways. God does not want us to be perpetually fighting lust. He wants us to redirect our bodily energies (which are pressing for sexual indulgence in thought or deed) into paths that would glorify Him and help our fellowmen.

Let every Christian man therefore keep his body exercised through daily physical activity. Let him also spend his spare moments in serious Bible Study and prayer (this will exercise his mind), instead of an idle talk. He will then find at the end of the day, not only that he has accomplished much, but also that he is so tired that he falls asleep almost as soon as he gets into bed. Instead of being plagued on his bed at night by lustful thoughts and the temptation to masturbate, he will find himself sinking into a blessed slumber. The Bible tells us that: 

"Sleep is sweet to a labouring man" (Ecclesiastes 5:12).

The task of controlling our sexual passions can be made easier if we discipline ourselves in the simpler matters of eating and sleeping. Many are defeated in the realm of sex because they have never disciplined themselves in these latter realms. There is a very real connection between over-eating and the stimulation of sexual desire. Sexual sins abounded in ancient Sodom because of over-abundance of food, prosperous ease and idleness (Ezekiel 16:49).

Let those who are mastered by their sexual passions discipline their eating habits and seek the Lord's face earnestly in prayer with fasting, and they will very soon find deliverance.

Above all, we should seek to practice the presence of the Lord at all times by being conscious of the fact that the Lord is always with us and watching us. We would obviously not indulge in masturbation if another believer were observing us. How much more should we fear God!

If, in spite of your best efforts, you are unable to shake off this temptation at any particular time, then the best thing to do is to seek to be around other people immediately - (preferably believers). This will help strengthen you for victory.


The Sin of Masturbation