Today’s topic is brought to you by Dr. Jim. He explains how single Christians should deal with their natural urges like masturbation and how to seek what God really wants from us.
Dear Jim: What does God say about masturbation?
Here is a topic that is seldom discussed in Christian circles but certainly one very applicable to the single life. I do not find a “black and white” answer in the Bible, but there are some elements that we can draw out of it. Let me share some personal perspectives first.
When I was 11, my stepmother handed me a book that she had obtained while attending Moody Bible Institute. The book was about sex and how a Christian male should approach these urges. Wow – did that book get read faster than my schoolbooks! As I recall the essence of the book, it said that one should masturbate occasionally – but do so without thinking of any woman. Huh??? May I be honest – 50 years later I have not found out how that is possible.
In the 1980’s a professor from one of the Southern Baptist seminaries came to our church for a seminar. I do not remember the topic of the series but do remember that masturbation was one of the topics when he was speaking to adults only. He made the statement something to the effect that newer thinking on this subject revealed that they did not think it to be as harmful as previously thought. Huh? What did he mean harmful – or not? Well, being the good conservative group that we were – no one asked – and I was not about to take the lead.
Where in the Bible does it talk about masturbation?
I cannot recall any direct scriptures in the Bible that address the subject of masturbation. But it does address some topics that apply:
Matthew 5:28 God tells us not to look upon a woman to lust after her, for to do so is to already commit adultery in our hearts. And the scriptures are very clear in how He feels about adultery.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us that our body is the temple of God (for those who have become His children) and that whatever we do we should glorify God.
So how does a single not lust, glorify God and handle the sexual urges that are “natural” in his or her body?
Oh, you want me to give you the answer? I suggest that it is a moment by moment, thought by thought process – and ongoing. It is not something to be answered once and for all. How we handle any thought is part of our Christian living and should be approached and carried out differently than others who are not adopted by Him.
I can say that I believe to find yourself having a frequent diet of masturbation can lead to some serious complications. For example, it will increase one’s appetite for sex – and that the Bible is clear about not having Sex Outside Marriage. If one finds the need to use the Internet or any form of pornography to feed this appetite, they are literally playing into Satan’s hand. Those pictures, etc. form a permanent impression in our minds and are most challenging to be rid of – surfacing sometimes years later when you do not wish them to surface. Frequent masturbation can lead you to only see single gatherings as “meat markets” and your eyes are really wandering from body to body seeking gratification.
Seek a good Christian counselor
If you find a strong appetite to masturbate and are finding yourself doing this frequently, I would encourage you to seek the services of a good Christian counselor. This could be an outward action striving to fill an inner void. A good counselor can serve as a guide to assist you to find the underlying forces and on to the freedom that will bring a more satisfying life to you.
Philippians 4:8 is where Paul was led by God to share “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
You will need to develop your own understanding in how to handle this subject for your single life. God made you – sexual drives and all. Ask Him to lead you in honoring these drives in a healthy and pure way.
The answers provided in this site are intended to be as one provided by a minister. It is NOT intended to take the place of a licensed counsellor. Dr. Rives encourages all who are seeking to resolve deeply rooted psychological, emotional or behavioral needs to seek the services of a trained and licensed counsellor. The answers provided in this web site are intended to be words of encouragement and spiritual guidance as one would obtain from a licensed minister as well as the sharing of Dr. Rives’ personal experience.