The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

I am a 14 year old guy, and I have many questions that I would like answered, not from words preachers have said, but verses from the Bible. I have searched and almost read the Bible cover to cover, and I haven't found much over these subjects, if I overlooked it then may I have an answer please?

I talked to a Swedish guy a month ago (Sweden is mostly athiest) and he got me agnostic, but not all the way into doubt. I had set some things for myself about what not to do -- don't make jokes about religion, never convert someone to agnosticism, don't harm others for their beliefs -- and went on my way. But when school started again, there was a Christain girl in my class whom I like. I immediately reconcidered what I believed, and realized I never left but went on a sinning spree and never felt guilty about it. I now feel guilty, and want to go back, but I must know a few things about some habits I have gotten into that need answering.

Sex: I know sex before marriage is a sin, including oral sex, but what about masturbation? What about lust? I don't want answers from the pope, a preacher, or from someone else, but answers from the only thing that is holy, the Bible! I have read through the Bible and haven't seen anything about these things, other than the Ten Commandments. Is masturbation bad? Is it bad that I have a hard time keeping my eyes from looking into a girl's eyes? I want to know!

Music: I am into Alternative Rock (Linkin Park, Breaking Banjamin, Green Day, etc) and pop, rap (Eminem, Jay-Z, Drake, Young Jeezy, etc.) I want to know if I have to keep my music taste within church limits or if I can keep listening to these guys. The only reason I wonder is because they talk about sex before marriage, marijuana, lust, etc.

Marijuana: One question I wonder is if marijuana is something that is okay. It comes from the same soil we bury our loved ones, it does not cause cancer or any of that nonsense some people make up, and no one has died from marijuana (unlike cigarettes or tobacco). I do not smoke marijuana, but I wondered if it is okay. If so I will probably try it myself. If the Bible doesn't mention drugs or marijuana, then I will be uncertain and will have to ask God, but if the Bible does talk about it, I would like to hear what it has to say. :)

Please provide some way of stopping habits that shouldn't belong to me. I'd rather not be so evil.


Answer

You cover a lot of territory, all of which have biblical answers. Where I've discussed things before, I'm going to direct you to the material so I don't have to repeat myself. I'll try to keep my answers brief and to the point, but you are welcome to ask all the questions you want.

Masturbation

While the word "masturbation" does not appear in the Bible, it is alluded to. There are several passages where ejaculating is mentioned that does not take place during sex (Leviticus 15:16-18; 22:4). There is also, by the way, a mention of wet dreams (Deuteronomy 23:10-11). These all are mentioned in the context of the laws of uncleanness. Being unclean was not sinful; for example, a woman having her monthly blood flow was unclean but she had not sinned. But breaking the laws concerning uncleanness was a sin under the Old Law. To learn more about uncleanness see Uncleanness.

Masturbation is often mixed together with the topics of lust and pornography. It is easy to see why. Many guys use lustful thoughts and pornography to get themselves sexually excited so they can masturbate. Yet men can masturbate without lustful thoughts or pornography -- the evidence can be found in your own memories; almost every boy discovers ejaculation before he connects it to the idea of sex. I've written a lot about the topic, so I would like you to start with Is masturbation sinful or not? It links to other answers in a chain, so you might be a while reading all the links, but it is worth it.

Lust

First, we need crisp definitions to distinguish the ideas of desire, temptation, and lust, so I would like you to read What is the difference between temptation and lust?

Since lust is the acceptance of breaking God's laws, it is a sin that leads to more sin. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:21-23). This is why Jesus said, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Jesus is not talking about looking a girl and thinking she is pretty or that you would like to date her. He is talking about looking at women and dreaming about having sex with them. When you look at a woman and start imagining them without clothes, then you've moved into the realm of lust.

Lust is the reason pornography is wrong. It used images of sexual situations to get a guy aroused for sex. It is not about marital sex, it gives guys the ideas of having sex whenever, wherever, and with whomever they can. "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God" (I Thessalonians 4:3-5). "Passion of lust" is a way of saying lusting for lust, or using lustful ideas to generate lust -- in other words, pornography. See Why is pornography tempting? for more on this topic.

Music

Words can be good or bad depending on what ideas are being communicated. In the same way, what makes music good or bad is not the style of music but the ideas being communicated. You mention that some of your music promotes the idea of having sex without being married. Consider what Paul said, "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them" (Ephesians 5:3-7). Talking about something means you are thinking about it. Keeping something running through your head long enough and you'll start accepting it as normal. And then you are back to the problem of lust. See Can music be bad if I get some good from it? for more on this topic.

Marijuana

Marijuana is not nearly as harmless as you have come to believe. You said no one died from marijuana, but that is a false statement. Just over a week ago it was announced that a third study has again linked marijuana use in young men to doubling the odds of getting testicular cancer (Marijuana Use Linked to Testicular Cancer). Marijuana was also shown in a very large study to permanently lower the IQ of teenagers who use it (Marijuana Permanently Lowers IQ). What I find sad is that it is common knowledge that marijuana users are particularly dumb when they are high. I even had a user of marijuana tell me that about another user. I guess that is why he couldn't make the connection to himself. "Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation" (I Thessalonians 5:6-8). I want you to pay particular attention to the word "sober." See Sober Minded for a letter I wrote to a friend caught up in marijuana addiction. See also Why is marijuana wrong when it is only a plant?

On drugs in general see: Recreational Drug Use Is Sinful and Legalizing Drugs.

Thank you! About time I find someone who sees this stuff in the Bible. Well, time to get over old habits and start the new. Thank you very much!

You're welcome. Write anytime.

I'm currious if you noticed the topics you had asked about. For hundreds of years and crossing just about every society the three topics that illustrate a life given over to pleasure-seeking is "wine, women, and song." Ian Dury in 1977 came out with a song called "Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll" that captured the essence of the risky behaviors in the Rock and Roll industry and its decadent lifestyle. So I found it humorous that the topics you wanted to know most about involved the same three topics. Somethings never change.