1 Corinthians 7:5-9
Well this is kind of awkward.
Anytime you hear the word “masturbation” in a sermon, a small group, or just in the presence of another human, all kinds of uncomfortable things start to happen. The room goes quiet, faces get red, throats are cleared as people shift in their seats, we all avoid eye-contact, and everyone tries to act like they didn’t just hear that word.
Awkward or not, as Christians this is a topic we can’t ignore. Our churches and community circles are filled with people who silently struggle with this sin, too embarrassed to seek the help they wish they could find.
Perhaps you are someone who struggles with masturbation. Or perhaps you have no clue why this is a temptation for people but would like to be someone others can confide in and get advice from. Either way, here are five practical pointers that will help Christians overcome the sin of masturbation.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” – James 1:19-20
What does the Bible say about anger? It’s a poignant question considering the state of American affairs right now. I’m sure you’re as sick of talking about politics as I am after one of the most brutal Presidential elections in recent history, so I won’t turn this into another online vent sessions – God knows there’s enough of those at this moment in time.
But people are angry right now, on both sides of the political ticket and the ideological spectrum. So what does the Bible say about anger and bitterness? Where does anger come from and how can we manage it? Is trying to manage anger even biblical? Can we be angry without sinning?
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest . . . for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” –Matthew 11:28-29
Pain, who can escape this part of our reality? No one. Though we all try to avoid it, pain eventually catches up to us all.
Whether through the loss of a loved one, the lack of the life we’ve planned for, or through relational heartache, pain never discriminates. It eventually finds us all, brings us to our knees and makes us yearn for relief. Pain is raw, real, excruciating to go through, and completely unavoidable. This is a broken world, and no one escapes without some painful wounds.
But in the midst of it all, God speaks.
1 John 1:8
There are always reasons why we sin, but there is never an excuse. In a day and age where everyone who attends high school is required to take a course in Psychology 101, where you can turn on the TV and watch Dr. Phil do a live counseling session, and where every behavioral problem in children is apparently linked back to a genetic problem solvable by medication, we are a society prone to look for the “root issue of the problem.”
It’s certainly not wrong to take a deeper look at how someone was raised, what genetic dispositions they may have, or how society has negatively shaped an individual. The Bible itself makes clear that bad actions (sin) are rooted not in the surface decisions being made but deeper, in the sinful nature (Galatians 5:17).
Throughout Jesus’ time on earth, he promised that his people will, without question, experience much pain, turmoil, and persecution on this earth. What is often overlooked is that he also promised that the prize for enduring these things for the sake of Christ will be far greater than the pain. Mark 10:28-30 explains:
But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.-Luke 15:31
I certainly don’t agree with everything the Amish believe. Their extreme legalism and shunning practices are not a reflection of God’s grace. But some Amish communities do have a practice which I find beautiful.
“Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her.” – 2 Samuel 13:15
One common expression many Christians say is that we should all try to be balanced. But what does being balanced really mean? And what does the Bible say about being balanced?
In one sense this is not a hard question. As Christians, we should be “balanced” in such a way where we are level headed, not overly dogmatic, and respectful of other people’s beliefs even if we don’t hold them ourselves.
Christians should also be balanced in that we should not hone in on one doctrine, trying to make the Bible and the Christian faith all about this one point, for as John Stott said, “Every heresy is due to an overemphasis upon some truth, without allowing other truths to qualify and balance it.”
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” Matthew 12:43-45
Put simply, we will never find God and live free by just avoiding evil but rather through pursuing Christ.
Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see . . . .”-Acts 9:18
Have you ever taken hold of an idea that completely changes the way you view the world?
A paradigm is one’s theoretical views or beliefs that create one’s perceptions of the world, shaping the way one thinks and lives. A “paradigm shift” happens when a new idea or viewpoint changes the old way of seeing.
For example, people use to believe the earth was flat. This belief shaped the way they lived because they feared they would fall off the face of the planet if they traveled too far. This was their paradigm.
However, once the truth was revealed that the earth was round, a paradigm shift happened in the minds of men. It changed everything.
I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. Hosea 11:4
While there is really only one true God, in our fallenness we often times idolize many other things, thus treating them like gods. But how do we identify idols of the heart?
Control is the name of the game when it comes to being a god or God. One of the qualities of divinity is doing what you want, when you want, and why you want. This truth can help us identify idols of the heart.
When we idolize someone or something, we will be controlled by them. Therefore, if you want to know what your gods are, all you have to do is identify what controls you.