The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

I started watching porn when I was about 12 and ever since I had an issue with it. No one told me it was bad, so I watched it. Then I came to Christ when I was 15 and prayed to God to help me end the temptation. The temptation was gone for about two months, but then I fell into it. I couldn't last more than 2 or 3 days without watching it again. Now it's like I can't last a day without it. There are times where I'll watch porn, repent, and then 30 minutes later I'll watch it again and repent again. This can happen sometimes three times a day.

I want to stop, but I want to know if I can still be forgiven. I have this feeling in my chest that feels like anxiety and guilt. It won't go away. Will God and Jesus forgive me for sinning constantly? I will admit most of the time when I repented, I did so with half a heart. I'm really scared that God won't forgive me because God says you can't mock Him and I'm afraid I've done that and lost my forgiveness. Can I get baptized and start over again or what? Please, this feelings killing me.


Answer

I'm going to guess that you basically only ejaculate when you've been watching pornography. You've locked the two ideas together in your mind so that whenever your body has the urge to ejaculate you search out pornography to look at while masturbating.

Yet masturbating and looking at pornography are two different issues. A person can masturbate, going through the motions with no particular thought, without pornography being involved. I will grant that you can reach a state of orgasm faster by getting yourself aroused with pornography, but my point is that pornography isn't require.

Pornography is sinful, in part because because it warps your view of sex and women. It glorifies sex without commitment or even concern for the other person. The other person is merely an object for having sex with. You know nothing about the person, their character, ambitions, likes. You don't even have to like a person in the world of pornography because sex is goal. "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). See A Look at Pornography for more information.

Masturbation by itself, without the use of pornography or lustful thoughts, is neither right or wrong. It is merely a way of trigger an ejaculation. It can be used wrongfully, but that doesn't necessarily make the act itself wrong. See: Is masturbation sinful or not?

I've noticed that people in desperation often will go overboard in trying to remove sin from their life. This is not to say that a little bit of sin is acceptable in anyone's life, but we do have a tendency to impose extreme rules upon ourselves -- rules that we cannot meet because they are man-made in origin. Then when we cannot keep our man-made rules, we decide we are a failure and give up. That is why Solomon warns, "Do not be overly righteous, nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself?" (Ecclesiastes 7:16). Paul puts it this way, "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). I believe this is why you have failed in the past. You want to stop pornography, so you imposed on yourself rules that can't be met. You tried to give up all ejaculations, and then found that your body conspires against you. So you swing to the other extreme of looking at pornography and masturbating multiple times a day -- which is why Solomon also warned, "Do not be overly wicked, nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time? It is good that you grasp this, and also not remove your hand from the other; for he who fears God will escape them all" (Ecclesiastes 7:17-18).

A basic fact is that the male body constantly produces semen. After a point that semen has to go somewhere. To handle this, God designed the seminal vesicles to produce an increasing sense of sexual desire in you until the semen is released. It is not that much different from the urge to urinate when your bladder gets full, it just operates more slowly. Because your use of pornography, you haven't allowed yourself to manage your sexual desire. So I'm going to give you a series of tasks:

  1. Drop the use of all pornography. At first you will feel like you can't ejaculate without thoughts of pornography. That is fine if you can't, but eventually the sexual desire will build up to the point you feel like you can't ignore it. You will find it much easier in that state to be able to ejaculate without thinking much of anything at all.
  2. Then for a week or more, instead of masturbating daily, I want you to cut it to every other day. Prove to yourself that you can control the urges and to give yourself encouragement you can always tell yourself that you will take care of the urge tomorrow.
  3. When that becomes easier, try stretching it to every third day.
  4. Continue to try to stretch the time between ejaculations. The goal is not to never ejaculate, but to keep control over the impulse to do it and to keep control over your thoughts.

What will eventually happen is that you will stretch the time long enough that your body will take over on its own. You will start experiencing wet dreams where you ejaculate in your sleep (Deuteronomy 23:10). Your body will then cycle on its own without your intervention and you will experience a wet dream periodically. Some men don't like this lack of control and many Christians find the dreams that accompany wet dreams to be disturbing even though they know they are just dreams. As a result, some keep track of their body's sexual urge and when they know a wet dream is likely that night, they use masturbation to eliminate the excess semen. Because the sexual urge is so high, it is easy to do this without lustful thoughts. If a man can do this without thoughts of sinful action, then I cannot argue that such an arrangement is wrong.

The major goal at the moment is to prove to yourself that you can control your impulses. You are not a slave to your body. "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).

As you begin to see that you can control yourself, you then can take care of the matter of your past sins. If you haven't been baptized (having been baptized as an infant doesn't count), then you need to do so to enter into the covenant with Christ. See What Must I Do to be Saved? If you have done what God requires to be a true Christian, then you can go to God in prayer confessing what you did wrong and asking Him for forgiveness. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).

Hi,

I think you're right.

Something that's been bothering me a lot is that long time ago I was a Christian but my faith wasn't very strong. I believe in God, but I didn't know about different sins, so I committed them without repenting. I've repented for those but in those times I played a game and got angry at God and swore at Him. I thought I couldn't be forgiven but I repented anyway. One friend said I could be forgiven. After something happened in my life, I came really close to God and now I worry if I sin or not. I have a battle in my mind constantly. My mind will say I love the devil and I'll argue with myself, no I love Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit.

I was reading funny auto corrects on Google and it was talking about this guy calling someone a witch. I  think I wanted to say, "Oh, because witches are evil," but I said Jesus instead. I felt a huge chill and I asked for forgiveness. I want to know if I can be forgiven.

I did some research on the unforgiveable sin and people say the unforgiveable sin is if you ignore God's voice telling you to stop sinning but you carry on sinning, then God gives you over to sin. Is that true? When I masturbated I would hear voices in my head saying this is wrong, it's a sin, but then another part of my voice would justify it, and after I was done I would repent. I used to watch porn and feel the terrible feeling, but it started to get less. When I was done I would think, "Oh no! I must repent." I repent, but I justified my sin every time I watched porn. I'd get mad at myself and I'd repent. Does this mean I've committed the unforgiveable sin. If I get baptized, can I start again?

Thanks for the help.

Let's start with a basic fact. Sin is the breaking of God's laws. "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness" (I John 3:4). Feelings, or your conscience, can serve as a warning that you might be sinning, but those feelings can never actually define sin. Your feelings can be manipulated. Your conscience is trainable but can be trained wrong. "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26). Walking wisely means following God's standard and not your own ideas of right and wrong. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil" (Proverbs 3:5-7).

This is where you've been getting mixed up. You weren't taught a firm standard of right and wrong when you were young. So you did things that you should not have done without regret at the time because you did not consider them wrong. In this your feelings and your conscience were wrong. But overtime you learned better. Then you went to the other extreme, calling things wrong without knowing if God actually said they were wrong. Now your feelings and your conscience bothers your, but again in some cases they are still wrong because you are using your own feelings as a guide.

In ancient Israel there were false prophets who were condemned because they spoke their own thoughts and attributed them to God. "I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying, 'I have dreamed, I have dreamed!' How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart" (Jeremiah 23:25-26). People have a bad habit of lying to themselves. God has chosen not to speak directly to people as He did in the past. "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds" (Hebrews 1:1-2). God told us everything we need to know about life and godliness in His Word (II Peter 1:2-4) and that word was delivered once. "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). Any claim that God is speaking directly to you is false. God speaks to us today through the words already written by the Holy Spirit.

You end up arguing with yourself because you have been using your changing feelings as your standard. There would be less uncertainty if you would use the Bible as your standard. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17).

That is not to say there won't still be a battle. Your body still has its passions and desires. Satan is still going to twist them to tempt you to sin. "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish" (Galatians 5:16-17). While we battle against sins, sins do happen despite our best efforts. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 1:8-2:1).

There is a distinct difference between unforgiven sin and an unforgivable sin. An unforgiven sin could, in theory, be forgiven but the person needing forgiveness has not taken any action to change his ways and ask God for forgiveness. An unforgivable sin would mean that God refuses to grant forgiveness for a sin done. The Bible talks about unforgiven sins, but it never says there is any unforgivable sin. Quite the opposite actually. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). God doesn't refuse forgiveness. Rather, men refuse to repent and ask God for forgiveness. "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear" (Isaiah 59:1-2).

To be a Christian, you must be baptized. As Paul said, "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?" (Romans 6:3). All Christians have been baptized. That is how you become a part of the church. But with baptism also comes a fresh new start. "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).