Dear Liberty – Why do pastors, teachers, and counselors never speak or teach about self-control and the guilt that is consuming so many church people because of practicing masturbation. The guilt is horrible, but I don’t how to stop.
Liberty’s Answer – Masturbation is an issue that both men and women struggle with. Perhaps one reason that it is not spoken about in sermons, classes, or therapy groups is because there are people who do not want to believe that masturbation is a sin. There is no direct Scripture verse in the Bible that condemns it by name. Yet, it would seem that any secret behavior practiced to achieve sexual satisfaction outside of the area of married sex would not be the will of God. There is no reference in the Bible recommending physical self-gratification of any kind. The act of fornication (sexual activity with someone other than a marriage partner) is certainly addressed in the Word. Perhaps masturbation is a form of fornication, too, as it is seeking sexual satisfaction outside of married sex. Not all people would want to believe that.
Paul told the Roman Christians, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:11-14, NIV).
The Word also tells us that the believer’s body is the temple of God. In 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, Paul told the Corinthian Christians, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (NIV). The temple of God seems to be an unlikely place to pursue self-gratification of the sexual kind. It also seems unlikely that masturbation could be a way of honoring God with our bodies, doesn’t it?
Paul told the Ephesian Christians, “Don’t waste your time on . . . the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see.” (Ephesians 5:11-12, The Message). An activity that consumes one with guilt, a secret thing that would devastate a person if it were revealed in public, and an act that must be hidden in darkness where no one will see it cannot possibly have the light of Christ within it.
Now, having addressed the subject, what is the answer to stopping this behavior? Until people are taught or learn on their own to open up to letting Christ live in them and through them, many will continue to struggle with unmet needs and unhealed hurts. When those needs and hurts get too strong for them to control in acceptable ways, many give into the temptation of resolving the drives of their needs and pain however they can. Pornography and masturbation are sensation-producing behaviors that can be practiced in complete privacy, which can make them more difficult to control. That Christians are attempting to deal with their unmet needs and unhealed hurts in this manner is not too hard to believe when full-blown pornography is available in our homes on the Internet and near-pornography is available in our homes every night over network television, on videos, and in the magazines we read.
The human body reacts to everything going on in the unsurrendered soul, good, bad, or otherwise. Much of the body’s reactions to the pressures and drives of the unsurrendered soul are manifested in behaviors that seem to bring a temporary sense of well being so that the unmet needs and unhealed hurts seem to calm down for a while. Desires to repeat these behaviors are not just psychological, coming from the soul (psyche), as I once thought. Masturbation produces a release of endorphins, feel good hormones that our own bodies (soma) manufacture and store. Pornography also produces the a release of endorphins.
God created our bodies to release these feel-good hormones through certain godly behaviors. The problem we can get into is that endorphins are released in the body whether a release-inducing activity is God-ordained or not. The opiate receptors of the brain that receive these feel-good ‘hormones’ have no idea of whether or not they are even natural endorphins from within your body. These same opiate receptors also happily accept chemical stimulants such as drugs and alcohol as well.
The answer is not to stress and feel great guilt over the masturbation or pornography. That might sound strange, but stress and guilt have never healed anyone of the sources of their wrong behaviors. The answer to stopping these behaviors lies in deconstructing the soul’s self-gratification patterns by using the binding and loosing prayers.
You need to understand how to tear up the actual pathways that have been laid down and etched into the brain by each repeated act of self-stimulation. This is a wrong mind/body agreement and can be very hard to break if you do not have the understanding of the Keys of the Kingdom prayer principles to help you. Pray this prayer whenever you feel that you are beginning to be tempted to indulge in this form of behavior, or any other self-gratifying behavior that does not honor God:
“Father, I want to be free from trying to comfort myself with acts of physical self-gratification. The best way I know to get close to your strength to overcome this desire is to bind my will and my body to your will and to bind my mind to the mind of Christ. I choose to do this, I choose to place myself in your will that I might be free. I bind my emotions to the healing, balancing control of the Holy Spirit.
“I loose all wrong mind/body agreements that I have made knowingly or accepted ignorantly. I loose, strip, and tear up the psychological and physiological tracks that my brain has laid down, even deeply etched into itself, turning back to them every time I long to physically console myself. I loose wrong patterns of thinking and wrong beliefs that I deserve to be consoled and stimulated in this manner to make up for others things that I have never had. I loose all layering and stronghold thought pattern building that my soul has put in place to protect its right to try to appease my unmet needs and unhealed hurts.
“I loose soul ties that I have ever had with any sexual partners from my past. Lord, thank you for these keys that give me something to hold onto in prayer when I am seeking to change. I want to change, Father, and I am asking for your divine help as I make the transition to being free from these thoughts and behaviors. I want to stop all wrong behaviors and I want to be healed. You are my Healer and you are my Lord. Bless you, Lord, and thank you. Amen.”
I do not think that the best form of praying is ever the guilt-filled, begging, or fearful prayer. God hears those prayers, too, but I am sure that faith-filled prayers brimming with confidence in His loving care are the prayers He loves the most, actually the prayers that agree with His will. Binding your will to the will of God, binding your mind to the mind of Christ, and binding your emotions to the Holy Spirit places you into a position to become aligned with His will. His will is that you would experience the blessing and satisfaction of the fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5. 22-26, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (NIV)