The Way Forward
Last month we looked at the topic no one talks about, yet is ever-common, called masturbation or self-stimulation (from now on referred to as SS). We looked at the topic from every angle. Yes, it is correct that the Bible does not explicitly mention the practice, so hence there is no blanket commendation or condemnation. It provides a temporary release of energy and there is no danger of catching sexually transmitted diseases.
Yet, at the same time, we learned that SS is often, even mostly, motivated by lust, visual stimulation like pornography, or worse. It can happen even when the person had not planned for it, at awkward times, hence implying a lack of self-control. It is not an easy habit to quit. Another problem is that there can be a terrible sense of guilt, even though no one (but God) is watching. Along with the guilt is a puzzle: why do many married men practice SS?
Do you do SS or know someone who does? If so, it is up to you, and you alone, to decide whether you want to continue this practice. If you are of the conviction that this is not good for you? Are guilt and lust part of your experience? Despite its addictive side, do you want to break free?
Remember that human effort is normally not enough. After all, it’s not only your actions that have to change, but also your thinking. It must be a holistic effort. Lust in the heart has to be conquered in order to control your actions of your hands. Like in many things, we need God’s help. And, if necessary, confide in a trusted person who can pray and keep you accountable.
Martin Luther was credited with this quote: I can’t stop the birds from flying over my head, but I can keep them from nesting in my hair. Our world is sinful, seductive, and visually stimulating, ever-beckoning to its dark sensuous ways. Proverbs 7:26: For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.
The following Scriptural practices can help. They can help you overcome in this area, and in any area, which has control over your life. Seek pastoral or mature Christian advice. Some practical tips include:
- The Word: Psalm 119:9,11: When you hide God’s word in your heart, you won’t sin against Him. Take a few of the many scripture promises, meditate, memorise, then confess them aloud before the Lord.
- The Cross of Jesus: Religion, good works, education, cannot overcome the lust-sin issue. Only the gospel of Christ, with the cross at its centre, can hit a death blow. Romans 6is your declaration of independence from the sin dominated sex-saturated self-life. You are encouraged to focus on verses 6-14 especially. Again, read, meditate, memorise, and confess.
- The Holy Spirit: Be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and pray in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18). The Holy Spirit is able to put to death the deeds and thoughts of the flesh, which includes lust (Romans 8:13). Remember the injunction of Jude 20 to build yourself up in your most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit. Prayer in the Spirit is powerful and edifying – while you are doing Spirit-prayer, it is virtually impossible to practice the bad habit you eagerly want to break.
- Quality Christian music: Listening to anointed music has a great effect on causing lusts to flee.
- Praise and worship: Again, if you know how to offer heartfelt praise to God, and you are in a place where others do the same, it also can keep the ‘birds of lust’ from nesting in your hair and head.
In overcoming habits and sins, one of the redemptive features is the more we work with God, His Word and Spirit, the stronger we will become. As Revelation 21:7 promises: He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.