The easy answer is that the Bible is silent on this issue. However, the act of masturbation usually involves one or more of the following:
- Lust – Jesus condemns this (Matthew 5:28) (Prov 6:25) (1 Thes 4:3-5)
- Addiction – Are we being mastered by Christ or by someone/thing else? (Rom 6:19-22) (1 Cor 6:12 & 19)
- Self–centredness – This is the root of all sin (Gal 5:16) (Mark 14:36) (1 Peter 4:1-2)
- Done in secret - Is masturbation something we feel comfortable doing in the light? (1 John 1:6)
If we consider carefully what the Bible teaches in these areas, I think we would have to conclude that masturbation is something that Christians would be better off to avoid. Galatians 5:22-23 teaches that the fruit of the Spirit includes self-control. Perhaps this is a part of life where we have an opportunity to put that into practice?
Practically, the first step for a Christian might be to ask the Holy Spirit why you masturbate and to reflect on the Bible references above. Once you have identified what drives your need to masturbate, here are some practical ideas for breaking free:
- Lust - Intentionally move your mind on to more wholesome things (Phil 4:8) and allow your mind to be renewed (Rom 12:2)
- Addiction - Remember that Jesus has set Christians free (Rom 6:19-22), so don't settle for slavery to a comfort behaviour. Perhaps reflect on what you are comforting with this behaviour
- Self-centredness - We all struggle with this. What are you willing to sacrifice day by day (Luke 9:23)?
- Done in secret - Try finding an accountability partner with whom you can check in on this (James 5:16)
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