The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

Hello,

I am worried terribly for I have did something truly wrong. And I've grown close to God and He's been there every step of the way in my life. I am truly in love with Him and I'm heartbroken for I have failed one of God's tests.

Last December I decided to actually kneel and spend time in prayer and worship in my room beside my bed every night and the read the Word. At first was a drag because the Bible wasn't something I found interesting at all. But with prayer and God's encouragement and understanding He has helped me to dig into the Word and love the Word! Since connecting with God more and really seeing Him clearly, now He has tested me greatly: losing unbelieving friends, showing me that people will go and hurt you, but that He's not going anywhere. He has showed me that I must cling to Him with total trust when I'm all alone. He has never failed me, and He has always brought me through every storm.

Through this all with repetitive asking of Him to use me and show me His will, I have realized and been told that God has been calling me. I now come to know and officially can say as of now I will be going to Bible school to get my pastoral degree in little over a year. My first recognition of my passion of this is adoring the fact of how Paul and the disciples pretty much totally sacrificed their lives and put themselves in great danger to spread His word. They risked their lives, but they were never afraid because they all knew exactly where they were going to go when they die. Their entire lives laid on the trust of God. This shocked me at first, but with time He has made me excited for His plan and continues to show me signs.

During this time He brought me back to a girl I had met at a youth rally, but later broke up with. Since daily prayer, worship and study of the Word, God has led me to this girl, who is also going into ministry. Through time we have grown into a slow growing, loving godly couple who both have extreme desires to serve God. This relationship has been put through many storms to test our faith in God and at our darkest days (deciding to end it all, thinking the whole relationships was hopeless) He has made us stronger and learned to lean on God and not on our own understanding. He has truly taken us out of the shadows of hurt and pain and made us so strong. God has made an awesome transformation in us. And I tell him to continue to test us because I rejoice in these sufferings because they always strengthen her and me.

One late night, first time ever, I decided to be romantic and enjoy a night sitting under the full moon on the beach with my lovely lady and chat. God knew it was time to test our faith in Him once again only not in a trusting way but by a temptation to teach us devotion to Him and His laws. We were innocently kissing, lying on the beach when she began to touch me. We are virgins and strictly would never change that until marriage. Temptation filled the place and being a young guy for the first time I let sexual temptation take over. It felt like I lost all control. I said nothing has she continued to touch me while kissing. We did not have intercourse -- we would never do such a thing and hurt God like that. But she made me lose control and masturbate. Can you say we felt terrible? She immediately said she felt bad. That night I know we both begged for forgiveness. She was tore in guilt, and I was devastated that this act of sexual immorality would maybe make God result in thinking twice about me being a pastor. I sobbed in prayer the next morning, I felt like I hurt my best friend.

We made a decision to move pass the situation and both realized God tested us and showed us temptation is always there and that He would forgive us.

At the end of this week we were kissing and the desire was there, but I felt much stronger. I felt as if I was going to masturbate so with God given strength we stopped. For the first time I self-masturbated alone afterward. This was an escape from the risk of doing anything to wreck my relationship and hurting God. This at the time felt great, so great that a week later I did it two more times. But I seemed to be fantasizing about my girlfriend.

Thus I come to my conclusion: I am not drowning in guilt for masturbating, is this sin? I'm seventeen and this is the first time I've ever did or had such a desire. I'm scared and not going to do it again. Am I hurting God by doing this? Will my and my girlfriend's sin affect our callings to go into ministry together? I feel terrible and really am in my darkest time. I want to be a pastor and she wants to lead the youth. What do I do? I know masturbation can be dangerous and addictive. I do not want to do it again, but the temptation is strong. I love God and I feel so terrible.

Thank you for your help. God bless.


Answer

"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).

While God does allow Satan to test people, we cannot say that the temptation and its consequences come from God. Ultimately the temptations come from within ourselves and we bear the burden of our choices.

There are points in your story that leave me uncertain as to what you meant. I have the impression that you are using masturbation as a synonym for ejaculating, but I'm not certain. Are you saying that while you were on the beach your girlfriend put her hands down your shorts and masturbated you? Or are you saying that you put your hands down your own shorts while she was there? Or are you saying that you got so sexually excited that you ended up ejaculating in your shorts?

Regardless, you two got involved in sexual touching. "Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman" (I Corinthians 7:1). It goes the other way around too. The problem with sexual touching is that it flames the desire for sex, leading to another sin: lust.

Lust is what you are struggling against at the moment. Masturbating by itself is not wrong, but when you are imagining yourself committing fornication while you are doing it, then it becomes a sin. "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). While masturbating keeps your sexual urge down, so that you can control your behavior, lust breaks down the barriers against sin. You justify sinning in your mind, which means when temptation strikes heavily again, you will have the inclination to follow the behaviors you've been playing out in your mind.

What do you do? You change your behavior to be in accordance to God's teaching. No more touching to inflame sexual desire in the other person. Don't trust yourself to be alone with your girlfriend where others can't see you. You have a build-in instinct for sex, so remember that you have to protect your girlfriend's reputation, even from yourself.

Your sins do not hurt God. Sins are wrong because they hurt you, even when you don't realize it. God continues just as He always has, whether you sin or not. "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). He wants you and all others not to sin so that you may live with Him (II Peter 3:9), but He is not harmed in any way by anyone's refusal to obey Him.

"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (I John 2:3-6).

There are aspects of your note that tells me that while you have a strong desire to follow God, many times you assume that what you think or feel is God's communication to you. Such is never taught by God in His Word. Following God means knowing His teachings from the Bible and applying them to your life. Don't just take people's word that God will be pleased with some idea, examine it against what God said in the Bible, see if the things being promoted are really so or not.

"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. ... Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23).