The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

How do I break away from sexually immoral things, such as pornography and jacking off? I willingly looked up hot girls and it spiraled down from there. I could tell God was trying to send me message because my phone automatically exited it three times, and I ignored it. I had nasty thoughts about Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit in my head. I admitted to my mom a long time ago when I did it but just recently started again. I want to go to heaven and see Jesus and my family, but it says the sexually immoral shall not inherit the kingdom. Does that mean I can't? Please help. Sorry, I wind up in the middle of the night feeling guilty. I already prayed too. I struggle with lust and blasphemous thoughts.


Answer

"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:9-11).

Let's start with Paul's actual point. He isn't saying that people guilty of these sins can never get to heaven. After all, some of the Corinthians had been guilty of some of these sins in the past. What he is saying is don't fool yourself into thinking that you can live in these sins and make it to heaven.

I know some translations say "sexually immoral" instead of "fornication" when translating the Greek word porneia. "Fornication" is more accurate, but it isn't a commonly used word these days. But the problem with "sexually immoral" is that it is too vague. Porneia means having sexual intercourse outside of marriage. It includes things like intercourse, oral or anal sex, homosexuality, and bestiality.

Pornography is a sin, but it falls under the category of lewdness and lust. "Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:13-14). Like any other sin, you can't continue in the sin and expect to get to heaven. Being a Christian is about getting away from sin. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2).

By itself, masturbation is not a sin. It becomes sinful when you use pornography or lustful thoughts about sex outside of marriage to get yourself excited enough to ejaculate. See I'm still confused about masturbation. Is it right or wrong? What are your thoughts about it?

Having bad thoughts about God pop into your head is just a form of temptation. Everyone is tempted at times by various sins. What is more important is whether you accept those things as being true or do you reject them as being wrong. You can't stop Satan from tempting you, but you can wage war against the direction he is trying to lead you. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world" (I Peter 5:8-9).

In both things, don't condemn yourself for being tempted. Be concerned, rather, when you give into sin. As I've told numerous young men, we get ourselves convinced that we've sinned every time that we ejaculate. But our bodies are designed such that you have to ejaculate periodically, just like you have to urinate regularly. It is when a guy tries holding off from ejaculating that he sets himself up for temptation. The longer you put it off, the strong the sexual urge becomes. Eventually your body takes over because it needs to ejaculate semen and it pushes you to whatever habit you've developed to ejaculate. For many guys that involves pornography.

Rather than letting your body control you, you need to control your body. When you feel the urge rise, just go take a shower and while in there, masturbate. Don't indulge in any particular thoughts, just treat it as what it really is -- a bodily function that needs to be done every once in a while. Once you ejaculate, your thoughts will calm down and you'll be able to maintain control. Doing it in the shower keeps you from looking at pornography since phones don't work well in the shower (and clean up is trivial).

OK. Thanks, that makes me feel better. God bless.