I am writing this series of posts to and from a male’s perspective.
Bible Lesson. Teen Bible Lesson.
Note For Parents and Teachers:
I urge you to review this material to assess its appropriateness for your child (children). Remember to be age appropriate and open the lines of communication early. Consider the cultural, ideological, educational and technological trends (influences). If you think your child is too young to be exposed to these and other topic surrounding sexuality (and gender identity), you maybe the only one.
“In the Lord’s name, I tell you this. Do not continue living like those who do not believe. Their thoughts are worth nothing. They do not understand, and they know nothing, because they refuse to listen. So they cannot have the life that God gives. They have lost all feeling of shame, and they use their lives for doing evil. They continually want to do all kinds of evil.”–Ephesians 4:17 – 19 (New Century Version)
“Christ suffered here on earth. Now you must be ready to suffer as he did, because suffering shows that you have stopped sinning. It means you have turned from your own desires and want to obey God for the rest of your life. You have already lived long enough like people who don’t know God. You were immoral and followed your evil desires. You went around drinking and partying and carrying on. In fact, you even worshiped disgusting idols. Now your former friends wonder why you have stopped running around with them, and they curse you for it. But they will have to answer to God, who judges the living and the dead. The good news has even been preached to the dead, so that after they have been judged for what they have done in this life, their spirits will live with God.
Everything will soon come to an end. So be serious and be sensible enough to pray. Most important of all, you must sincerely love each other, because love wipes away many sins.”– I Peter 4:1 – 8 (Contemporary English Version)
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”– Galatians 6:1, 2 (English Standard Version)
Review of Part 1
In part one of this series, we briefly considered the distinction between (1) temptation & sin and (2) sexual desire & lust. We also considered six attitudes and behaviors we need to start developing if we want to become more healthy, godly and authentic in our sexuality as men. We closed out the lesson (post) by asking ourselves to identify triggers (that spark sexual lust and temptation) and to create preventative strategies and action plans for the purposes of combat and discipline.
Masturbation & Pornography.
When was the last time you heard a sermon or was involved in a Bible study/class that addressed these topics? Many people are painfully aware of the problems. But churches have generally done a miserable job in the practical education and support of people who are trying (or want) to resolve these (and other) sexual issues. Just telling people their behavior is immoral or wrong won’t set them free.
We need to cultivate a church culture that facilitates healing and growth. Too many churches are silent concerning any sexual issue or topic. And many are not proactive regarding Biblical and Christian-oriented sex education. Even getting parents and church leaders to have serious, open and redemptive conversations about these subjects is a challenge.
Habitual (or compulsive) masturbation with sexual fantasies is an area many guys struggle with. Furthermore, there may be sexual addiction issues. But please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying we’re sex addicts. Yet I am saying there tends to be varying degrees or levels of intensity depending on the person.
Cultivating a gracious and loving heart (along with being open to the Lord and those who are contending with these sexual issues) goes a long way towards understanding and reaching out. These issues are complex. We can’t process through them alone or in isolation.
Alone, isolated and defeated is where Satan wants to keep us. My goal in these series of posts is to get us thinking (and hopefully moving) along toward healing and redemptive actions.
Seven Considerations Regarding Masturbation
(1) The often-cited sin of Onan (Genesis 38:6 – 11) was not masturbation. He withdrew from Tamar and ejaculated on the ground. He was disobeying a specific Biblical law.
(2) For children and adolescents, masturbation is a part of self-exploration and self-discovery. Even though many male teenagers and adults usually resort to masturbation to relieve sexual tension, the behavior becomes even more problematic if one depends on it to deal with insecurity, broken relationships, the lack of fulfilling relationships, psychological pain and loneliness.
(3) Struggles with sexual sin and brokenness always start when we are teenagers (and many times even younger). The younger a man was when he was first exposed to distorted sexuality, the deeper the wounds and the tighter the cords that bind him.
(4) Click the Scripture reference to take another look at Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:27, 28. We know that looking at someone lustfully encourages the creation of sexual images in the mind and causes sexual arousal. The sexual fantasy (or stimulation) leads to intent and one usually acts out sexually – either with another person or through masturbation. And even if a tiny percentage of masturbation does not involve sexual fantasy or pornography, the vast majority does. It is a form of idolatry. The words of Christ are centered on lust and the attitude of our hearts.
(5) As a Christians, we do not have the freedom to use our bodies anyway we want (I Corinthians 6:19, 20; I Thessalonians 4:3 – 8).
(6) Masturbation usually progresses from a habit into a compulsion. Habitual masturbation consistently creates distance and separation from God. Sin is always progressive (Isaiah 30:1; Romans 1:18 – 32; I Corinthians 6:12). A person’s emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual growth (health) will be hindered. It is God’s will that Christians should not be enslaved to destructive habits.
(7) Masturbation does not fulfill the God-ordained martial functions of sexuality: procreation and mutual pleasure/satisfaction/edification (Genesis 1:28; 2:23, 24; I Corinthians 7:1 – 7; Ephesians 5:22 – 33).
In Part 3, I will share two self-assessment surveys that can help to identify and measure (in part) the severity of a person’s difficulties with pornography and masturbation. I will also offer some suggestions on how to overcome compulsive sexual behavior.
Note: If your concerns are homosexual attractions (feelings), I have included a modified version of this series on my other blog. You can access it by CLICKING HERE.
How old were you when you first realized what pornography was? How did you react to it then? And now?
How were (are) the topics of pornography or lust treated in your church (or religious community)?