The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Will God forgive me for masturbation? I am trying to fast, so I started fasting, but I have masturbated twice since the fast. I try to resist my desires and do love the Lord. Because of this, will I possibly not get into heaven? I try to be right in every aspect of my life, even though I realize that I am not perfect. I went to reconciliation yesterday and prayed for forgiveness. How can I make the devil stop tempting me? The Bible says to resist him and he will flee from you, but how do you resist during the times when he is attacking you in the areas of spirituality where heĀ  knows you are weak? I just want to stop! Brother in Christ, please feel my pain and pray for me that God will work a miracle and bind this out of my life forever, and please reply.


"Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations-- "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using--according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh" (Colossians 2:20-23).

There is so much we need to talk about because you are approaching serving God by imposing on yourself regulations which God never commanded. And because you are failing at these things you are assuming that you're failing God.

Read Colossians 2:20-23 again and especially notice the last verse, verse 23. It has long been assumed by people that suffering on our part will make us more holy or make our petitions to God more noticeable. It is a concept you find among the Hindus as their gaunt gurus go about in complete poverty and they are called "holy men." You see it among the Muslims when their practitioners beat themselves on their pilgrimage. You see it in history as you read about the worshippers of Moloch who would sacrifice babies to get their god to answer their prayers. What God is saying is that suffering is not the way to make yourself more holy, it has no benefit in the battle against sin.

Fasting, going without food for a period of time, is something people do when circumstances became dire. It was a part of grief because a person was too upset to eat, but it was also a reaction to the realization of how insignificant people are in the scheme of things. However, mostly people fast because they want a period of time to completely focus on God without any distractions.

What people mix up is that fasting is a response, it is not a cause. Fasting doesn't make a person more righteous or brings them closer to God.

"Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching God.

'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?'

In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, and to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, to make your voice heard on high. Is it a fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard" (Isaiah 58:2-8).

It appears to me that you are trying to use fasting as a way to make yourself more righteous, just as ancient Israel did. It just won't work in this fashion.

It also seems that you don't fully understand the nature of temptation, which is hampering your struggles against sin. "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren" (James 1:13-16).

Every person in this world was created with innate desires. These desires are necessary for us to live in the world. We have a desire for food, thus hunger reminds us to eat. We have a desire for water, thus thirst reminds us to drink. We have a desire to be loved, thus we are spurred to have relationships with other people. As you go through adolescence, you gain a desire for sex, thus we are spurred to marry and have children. None of those desires are wrong in and of themselves. They have a purpose and a function. You cannot stop the desires, not would you want to because it would mean that your body has stopped functioning as God designed it.

However, Satan takes those desires and twists them to use them against us. He puts us in situations where it appears that the only way to fulfill a particular desire is to break a law of God. Those situations are called temptations. As much as all of us would like temptations to go away, they won't until Satan is defeated. No one can stop temptation because they are not causing the temptation -- Satan is doing it. Even our Lord was tempted by Satan, and we are not greater than Christ.

The problem comes in when we give consideration to breaking God's law. When we desire something so strongly that we are willing go to almost any lengths to get it, even to the breaking of a law of God, then we have reached the point of lust. People often confuse temptation and lust. Temptation is what Satan puts in front of us. Obviously we would have to think about it, otherwise Satan would fail to tempt us. But when we dwell on it, give it credence, or think that perhaps we should do it anyway then we have crossed the line (Mark 7:21-23).

Eventually a person caught up in lust finds an opportunity to do what he has been thinking about. The act of breaking a law of God is called sin (I John 3:4). Once the dam is broken, it becomes easier and easier to repeatedly sin. Eventually we no longer care what anyone thinks of our sins, and in such a state we lose our souls. "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

Satan is working to destroy the works of God. Of course he is going to attack and he is going to pick areas where he thinks he can succeed. Since you are new to sexual feelings and don't have long experience with them, of course Satan is going to use that against you. But we have a guarantee from God. Satan doesn't have complete freedom. "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" (I Corinthians 10:13).

This letter is already getting long, but we needed to lay some foundation before considering the main issue: is masturbating a sin? The answer, strangely enough, is that it can be used sinfully, but there is no passage that indicates that ejaculating, in and of itself, is sinful. Rather than repeating all the verses you need to consider, I would like you to read the answer to the question: "Is masturbation unacceptable?"

I'm sure I haven't answered all your questions and doubts, but please consider these points and write back so we can discuss the issues more fully.

I am replying to your response. I don't understand it. Why have I fallen vulnerable to this, as I only want to serve God correctly. I do agree that once the dam has been broken, it becomes more vulnerable for me to sin, but how do I repatch the dam, how can I close the breach in the levee? I really need to know. I have these feelings that God is waiting to bless me with something, but I can't get this, until I break this habit that I started on accident. It wasn't until I had done it a few times, did I grow to understand the dangers of this habit, as I am fourteen year old. I have tried every method, but I always end up giving up and over. My friends do this, and many of them seem to not have the slightest care about it, but every time I do this, or any other sin, I began to feel badly because of it. Sometimes, I have not the intention of doing the wrong thing, but I just am not strong. One of the things that I hope that you saw in my previous letter to you, was to pray for me. The Bible says that the Lord doesn't place more on you than you can bear, and I believe this, and although, this sounds contradictory, I don't think that I can handle this. Of course, God knows what I can do more than I do, but I keep praying and my help has yet to come. Do I need to drink some 'miracle spring water'? Will I die an eternal death, because of this? Please answer this question based on your knowledge as a minister. Please reply.

I'm assuming that you haven't read "Is masturbation unacceptable?" yet. But let me see if I can clarify the issue better.

People have a tendency to create rules and enforce them, even though they have no biblical basis for those rules. Many of the conflicts between Jesus and the Pharisees were over these types of issues. For instance, "Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?"" (Matthew 15:1-3). Is there anything wrong with washing your hands before you eat? Of course not! But the Pharisees had decided that it was a sin if a person did not wash their hands before eating. They declared something to be sinful that God had not put into that category.

A similar thing has happened with masturbation. Taken at its simplest idea -- a guy causing himself to ejaculate by physical manipulation -- is not called a sin in either the Old or New Testament. It can be done in a sinful manner (I get to that in a moment), but God doesn't call masturbation a sin. (I know my Bible well, and know it is not there, but you are welcome to prove me wrong if you can find such a passage). Yet, you are worried about being sent to hell for something God hasn't discussed as being sinful. Since it doesn't come from God, then it must come from man. That is why I quoted Colossians 2:20-23. You are imposing on yourself a rule that is man-made. It might look and sound good, but it is not what God has said. As you are figuring out, this man-made rule isn't stopping the desire, instead it is strengthening it. "These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh" (Colossians 2:23).

Solomon once stated, "Do not be overly righteous, nor be overly wise: why should you destroy yourself?" (Ecclesiastes 7:16). At first, this sounds ridiculous. How can a person be overly righteous? The answer is: when a person tries to set for himself a standard of righteousness that is beyond what God requires. When a person tries to do this, he gets frustrated in being unable to reach his own standards, and then decides he is a failure. But he is only failing at his own rules, not at God's rules.

So let's go back a moment and talk about your reproductive glands. You have two glands next to your bladder called the seminal vesicles. These two glands produce the semen that you ejaculate. You constantly produce semen, but the rate of production varies. If you are exposed to sexually arousing situations, the rate of production goes up. Also the amount of hormones going through your system also affects the production rate. At 14, your hormone levels are in a constant state of flux. Eventually, fast or slow, your seminal vesicles reach a point that the excess must be gotten rid of. When your bladder gets full, you get the urge to pee. You can ignore it for a while, but the urge gets stronger until you're almost dancing trying to hold it back. You can't hold it forever, sooner or later it has to come out. In the same way, when you seminal vesicles begin to get full, it sends out a signal, but this signal makes you easily aroused. You can ignore it for a while, but the demand continues to get stronger until it is completely distracting.

Your body has a natural way of handling this excess through wet dreams, or nocturnal emissions. What literally happens is that you masturbate in your sleep and the ejaculation gets rid of the excess semen. This is why I point out that God didn't say masturbation is sinful. If such a command existed, then all men would involuntarily sin in their sleep. But such a command does not exist. Once the excess semen is released, the sexual desire immediately drops and you start thinking more clearly again.

You cannot turn off this progression. If it were possible, then your body would not be functioning correctly. You might as well look for a cure for hunger or thirst that would cause these not to ever come back. But hunger, thirst, and even the desire for sex has its purpose. What appears to be happening is that you are trying to not have sexual urges by shear will-power and then because you end up ejaculating anyway, you beat yourself up that you aren't able to resist how God made your body.

But like many things, Satan can use the desire to release semen against us. You are right that it can become dangerous, but what is dangerous is the things people do with masturbation. For instance, since ejaculating feels good, some guys become compulsive in pursuing that feeling. They masturbate so often that they end up rubbing their penis raw. Or, to get themselves sexually excited quicker, they engage in looking at pornographic material -- filling their minds with images of fornication and impure sexual scenes (Matthew 5:28). It is how some people go about masturbating that is the problem and not the simple action itself.

Now, if lustful thoughts are the problem, that is an issue we can deal with and talk about at length. But at the moment you are trying to battle your sexual feelings, but those feelings are supposed to be there because that is how God made you.