When it comes to something like masturbation, many churches are unclear as to what their views are. Some will call it a sin and label it as 'solo sex', while others will say 'it's fine!' What conclusion have you come to about this area for Christians?
I think that because there are no scriptures in the Bible that say, "Don't masturbate", that means it can be a grey area. But if we look at the general consensus of the Bible, and the instructions to flee lust and anything that masters us, I think if we take that on board we can see that masturbation is something that has got the propensity to cause you to engage in lust, and so I think the Bible tells us everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.
Some people think masturbation is okay, but to be quite honest, the problem with masturbation is you end up fantasising or taking a legal need and trying to satisfy it illegally. Having a sex drive and wanting sexual pleasure is actually a legal need, but when you engage in it outside of marriage, you end up engaging in lust. And the issue with lust is that it will master you, and you can find yourself enslaved by it - then you will be mastered by it. And so that is actually the issue.
I think with masturbation, and also the fact that the connection and attachment that you are meant to have with your spouse, you end up having it either with a fantasy, or with an image in a porn magazine, or in a video. And so really, it's not healthy for you, it's not beneficial. It might give you fleeting pleasure, but what it actually ends up doing is stealing the capacity to have true pleasure in covenant sex with your spouse. And so it really does rob you of what God wants to bless you with, if you are willing to wait to have sex in in the most beneficial and pleasurable way.
What would you say to the person who agrees with you and feels trapped but is embarrassed to talk to anyone about it?
Firstly, I would say that there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ, and that Jesus wants to come alongside every single one of our circumstances, and every one of our struggles. He wants to be there with us and give us the grace and the guidelines to actually be set free. I just want to break off shame. I want to break off any kind of condemnation.
Really it is a case of rewiring our desire towards true intimacy and seeing masturbation is a counterfeit intimacy. I think the key would be really just to pursue intimacy with the Lord first and foremost, and if that can become something that we pursue with every inch of our being, then that pursuit of intimacy elsewhere fades or causes every other false intimacy to be displaced. And so our freedom is in true intimacy found in the Lord. So run after the Lord with every inch of your being, and he will set you free.
How important is it to share the struggle with someone you can trust?
Oh my gosh, crucial. So, so crucial. I think Satan really capitalises on the shame aspect of it and the fact that normally, or in some cases, someone won't share their struggle and how enslaved they might be. But that is such a crucial part of being set free, actually disclosing your pain and your grief to someone close to you, and actually allowing them to walk with you. And oftentimes, it's bringing it out into the open with someone who you can trust and someone who's going be real with you, and be honest with you, that can actually bring so much freedom and help you to, you know, move towards full liberation.
Have you received any criticism when you've shared these sorts of things in your writing and speaking?
No, I've definitely received so much encouragement, where people have never heard anyone talk about sex like this and they say, 'Thank you so much. I've been set free'. So it really has just been good stuff all the way. Praise Jesus. Thank you, Lord.
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