WARNING: The following content may not be appropriate for all readers.
Yesterday I wrote about the delicate topic of masturbation. Because masturbation is outside God’s plan for our sexuality and because it is something done alone and in secret, it is usually accompanied by a great deal of shame. It can also be very difficult to overcome.
We’d like to help. Maybe you’ve been playing with fire. You know that this is an area of your life that needs dramatic change. Now what?
Nancy and Dannah outline four helpful steps to freedom in Lies Young Women Believe:
1. Identify the areas of bondage and sinful behavior.
“As we make sinful choices based on the lies we’ve believed, we find that the Enemy has set a deadly trap for us—and we end up in bondage. You may have begun to recognize this progression in your own life” (Lies Young Women Believe, 173).
This leads me to ask, do you believe that masturbation is sin? If not, re-read yesterday’s post. If you do agree that it is sin, move on to step two.
2. Identify the lies(s) at the root of that bondage. Stop fueling those lies by listening to them and dwelling on them.
“Are you in bondage to a sinful habit or attitude that’s being fueled by lifstening to and dwelling on lies? If you want freedom, you’ve got to identify what those lies are and eliminate anything that has been pouring fuel on those lies” (Lies Young Women Believe, 176).
Maybe you think it’s a normal part of exploring your sexuality. Maybe you think it’s not really sex, and therefore, it’s harmless. You might even think it’s a way to protect your purity by keeping you from experimenting in sexual behavior with another person. These are lies. Which brings us to step three.
3. Replace the lie(s) with Truth.
For a recap of why this behavior is dangerous, check out yesterday’s post. There are some serious doses of God’s Truth there. But I’m not interested in hitting you over the head here. It’s a great move to replace any lies you’ve been believing in this area with God’s Truth about why it’s not fitting, but I also want to point you toward some Truth laden with hope.
One of my favorite tests for the holiness of any behavior is the “whatever” test. Philippians 4:8 admonishes us this way, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Masturbation isn’t noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable. It isn’t a safe place for our thoughts or behaviors to dwell. But you might need to replace that behavior with something safe. When you are tempted in this way, meditate on this verse. What can you think about that is pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy? When you are tempted to return to this sin, what can you do with your time that meets the same criteria?
Here’s another important Truth that you can seal in your heart to combat this sin. First Corinthians 6:18–20 says:
“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.”
There is a lot of powerful Truth contained in that small passage. First the danger of sexual sin is made clear. You are sinning against your own body! Second, there’s a reminder that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. You don’t have to do this alone. God has given you the Holy Spirit as a helper. In verse 19 we read “you were bought at a price.” God paid a high price to redeem you. He thinks very highly of you. There’s no room for feelings of worthlessness or shame here. He has already paid the price for that. In light of that beautiful Truth, what’s your action step? “Therefore honor God with your body” (v. 20).
Memorize these verses. Write them out, and display them in a place you can easily see. If you’re going to successfully uproot this lie, you’re going to have to get serious about replacing it with God’s Truth!
4. Don’t fight this fire alone.
This is the kind of fire that is tough to put out by yourself. And the secrecy and shame often associated with this particular habit can be a breeding ground for deception. I strongly encourage you to enlist the help of a wise, Christian, female mentor as you endeavor to make a change in this area.
In fact, confessing sin first to God and then to a godly mentor or friend is a critical step in the restoration process.
James 5:16 tells us, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
In 1 John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Because this is a delicate topic, you need to be careful about who you tell. In order to protect the innocence of others, it is probably best to go to an adult with this one. I know that seems like a scary step, but the verses we just read promise that bringing our sins out of the darkness leads to a powerful result—forgiveness. In other words—freedom!
Our goal in addressing this topic is not to make you feel dirty, ashamed, or trapped. Instead, we want to expose the lies connected to this area of sin and point you toward the grace and freedom freely given by Jesus Christ.
We quote this verse a lot here on LYWB.com, but in this case, it bears repeating: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). We are praying for freedom for you, sweet girl!