Daily Devotional for Saturday April 26, 2003

Masturbation, sin or not?

(1 Peter 2:11, James 1:15)

Masturbation, sin or not? For those of you who have read my Daily Devotionals know, it is NEVER my goal to condemn you, but to challenge you. I will also NOT shy away from those issues most face during this life, just because they may not be comfortable. Never a day goes by that I don't get several emails with this question, so today let me tell you what the Bible says about this intimate issue that most every person alive faces at some point in their life. Even though it is normally thought of as an issue young males deal with, trust me, this is an issue young men AND women face, and an issue older men and women face as well. This is not isolated to any one group.

There is no verse in the Bible that says "thou shalt not masturbate". There is however much scripture that does show us this act is sinful. The three best cases for this conclusion are as follows. First, masturbation, or sexual self gratification is NOT God's plan for sexual activity. That part of our life is to be saved for a man and women who are married. Now of course this can get complicated, such as when your spouse may be unable to perform sexually, or for some reason is not interested.

The question arises, isn't masturbation better than having an affair? Again, I am not here to judge you or condemn you. I will say in those type of cases, every effort needs to made through open communication and possibly even professional help, to have your partner involved in some way, since not only was sex designed by God to be shared by a husband and wife, but it is part of a husband or wife's duty to their spouse.

Second, masturbation involves fantasies and lust. We know clearly from scripture that sin starts in the heart. The physical act is simply the manifestation of that sin. Jesus said if you lust in your heart, you have already sinned. Masturbation involves fantasies that lead to lust, that lead to sin before you even commit the physical act. Again, the act is simply the manifestation of the sin already committed in your heart.

Lastly, as we know from Paul's letter to the church at Corinth, that our bodies ARE the temple of the Holy Spirit. Just like in the case of drinking, is an act like masturbation one that honors our temple? Is this a proper use of our bodies since it is a perversion of God's plan for sex? Is this the act we want to be involved in, if at that moment our Lord returns?

Masturbation is like any other sin issue in our life. It is a battle. Today's word was not meant to hurt you, but to help you if this is an area you struggle in. Like all battles, you MUST have a battleplan. For those who have struggled with this issue, how many times did you say "never again", only to fall? If you could do it in your own strength, you would have already.

You can only win a sin battle like this in HIS strength and with a real plan you can consciously work each day. You need someone in your life to share this battle with who will hold you accountable, and stand with you. God never intended us to make this walk alone, or fight our battles alone. That is why He has put loving brothers and sisters in Christ in our life to help us overcome these battles and be victorious.

I love you, and care about you so much. Count on the fact that I will be praying for you today. For those who are struggling in this area, I will pray that God gives you the conviction to fight this issue rather than just accept it, to get that battleplan of action, to have someone in your life to walk with you, and to have HIS strength each day so you are victorious. Never forget, with God ALL things are possible.

This may not seem like an important issue, but ALL sin keeps us from that close intimate walk with the Lord. This sin is no different which is why it must be addressed, and victory must be won. The time to deal with it is now. You have run from it long enough. God is speaking clearly to you today, this very second, to go to 1 John 1:9 in your Bible. confess your sin, accept His forgiveness and cleansing, and get serious about getting total victory over this area of your life. With God, ALL things are possible. I am here, praying, and will be cheering you on to victory.

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller