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Pastor Timothy Shumer, BA, MA
Colosse, New York
Masturbation: What's Wrong With Me?

I suspect you're reading this article out of curiosity, or because you have some legitimate questions about masturbation. Here's three questions I believe many of you would like to ask:

  • Can masturbation hurt me physically?
  • Am I a freak if I masturbate?
  • Will God send me to hell if I masturbate?


Setting aside ALL other considerations, strictly speaking the honest answer is no, masturbation will not hurt you "physically." Masturbation will NOT cause blindness, mental retardation, hair to grow on your palms, or other physical weaknesses or abnormalities. However, this question is not the most important question a Christian can ask.

To illustrate the point, let's ask a different question: Could drinking one beer hurt you physically? For most people, if you are legally old enough to drink an alcoholic beverage, drinking one beer probably won't do your mind or body any harm.

I bet you're smart enough to know that asking about the PHYSICAL effects of drinking one beer isn't the most important question. For a Christian it's, What does the Bible say about it? That ought to be the first thing we consider on any subject, and our final authority on every issue.

Here's two verses from God's Word I think about when I think about drinking:

1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Legally, I could drink a beer, but that doesn't mean it would be "expedient" -- "good" or "profitable" -- for me to do so. Ask anyone who became an alcoholic how they were "brought under the power of" alcohol. Every addiction starts with that first step, just one beer.

1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

Again, I might be able to legally drink a beer, but that doesn't mean drinking a beer will "edify" me -- "build me up in Christ, promote growth in Spiritual wisdom, affection, virtue, holiness, etc.." The same principles apply to masturbation. PHYSICALLY there might not be any ill effects if you masturbate -- it might be "legal" to do -- but what good does masturbation do for you SPIRITUALLY? Is it a good or profitable activity for a Christian to engage in? I frankly have a hard time seeing how masturbation will build you up in Christ, promote Spiritual growth, virtue, or holiness.


What you really want to know is are you normal if you masturbate? If you mean, "Am I the only one who masturbates?," then again the honest answer is no. But just because something is popular, or even if "everyone is doing it," does not mean it's something good or right for a Christian to do.

Do you know how many people were alive when Noah built the ark? Millions? Billions? Dr. Henry Morris, a respected Christian / creationist, suggests that there were TEN TRILLION people alive before the flood. How many of them were saved from God's wrath and judgement? Eight. Only Noah and his family believed God and demonstrated that faith by building the ark and getting on board. Pretty much everyone doubted the message, and possibly mocked the messenger.

You are not a "freak" if you masturbate. You are not the only one who has done it or is "doing it" -- but that does NOT mean it's something "normal" FOR A CHRISTIAN to do. As a Christian, you might be in the minority by not masturbating, but it's one way you can demonstrate to God your love and devotion to Him. I'll show you how and why after I answer your third question.


No! The ONLY thing that can send you to hell is if you do not "repent and believe" the Gospel [Mark 1.14-15]. Everyone must accept the forgiveness God offers through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross for their sin if they want to go to Heaven when they die. As Jesus Himself put it --

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John ends that chapter by saying --

John 3:35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. 36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.


I can imagine some of you thinking, "If masturbation doesn't really hurt you physically, is a 'normal' part of life, and won't send me to hell, what's the big deal?" That's a fair question. Will you accept a fair answer from God's Word? What are the three biggest enemies a Christian has? The "world" [1 John 2:5-17], the "flesh" [Galatians 5:3-26], and the devil [John 8:4, John 10:-10, 1 Peter 5;-9].

Let's start with the world's attitude towards masturbation. I did a very brief online search for books about masturbation. I don't mean to judge a book by it's cover, but I know that an author or publisher gives a book it's title to be somewhat descriptive of what the book is about, and somewhat suggestive of their point of view about that subject.

Here are the titles of some of the books I found in my online search --

  • Tickle Your Fancy: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Self-Pleasure
  • Sex for One : The Joy of Selfloving
  • The Joy of Self-Pleasuring: Why Feel Guilty About Feeling Good?
  • The Good Orgasm Guide : All a Girl Needs for a Great Time
  • For Yourself : The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality
  • The Sensuous Woman
  • Men Loving Themselves
  • One-Handed Histories: The Eroto-Politics of Gay Male Video Pornography

What are the common themes suggested by these titles? Sex, pleasuring your self, eroticism -- "If it feels good, do it!" The world emphasizes fulfilling the desires and perceived needs of the flesh.

Let's consider the flesh. Be honest. When you have masturbated, what do you think about? Do you fantazise about an immoral relationship? Do you envision yourself doing something sinful with someone else, something Scripture clearly prohibits, like sex outside of the marriage covenant? In Galatians 5:19 the Bible speaks about some of "the works of the flesh." One of those works is "fornication," which is sex outside of marriage. In that same verse, the Bible also mentions "adultery" [a married person who has sexual relations with someone other than their spouse], "uncleanness" [having impure or lustful thoughts or motives], and "lasciviousness" [excessive, outrageous, shameless behavior, such as acting out an unbridled lust for a person or object]. The passage in Galatians 5, verses 16-21, condemns these practices.

Perhaps you've masturbated while "enjoying" pornography? The word "fornication" comes from the word "porneia," the same root in "pornography" What does pornography depict? Pictures of illicit sexual intercourse, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, sexual intercourse with close relatives or animals. That's what the word "fornication" means. That's why the Word of God condemns it.

Does masturbation cause you to focus your mind on things the Word of God condemns? Has masturbation become something you do habitually? More than once a day? Several times a day? For many months in a row? Do you feel like you're perhaps unable to control yourself? Would it be fair to say you've been "brought under the power of" masturbation, and that it -- and the thoughts associated with it -- control you rather than you being in control? Remember, 1 Cor. 6:12 suggests something that is "legal" isn't good IF it controls you.


Are these the kind of goals we should have as a Christian? Or are the goals of the flesh opposed to what God desires we aspire to, to what God expects of us? And, who should be in control of us, our "self" -- me -- or God? First, let's simply listen to God speak to us through His Word:

MATTHEW 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men....5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

ROMANS 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

1 CORINTHIANS 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

GALATIANS 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me....5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 5:24 And they that are Christís have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit....6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

EPHESIANS 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Perhaps you need a bit more convincing? As I understand the principles of God's Word, Christians are supposed to be Christ-like -- to be like Jesus [Matt. 11:28-30, Matt. 16:24, John 13:15, Phil. 2:5, Col. 3:12-17, Heb. 12:1-3, 1 Pet. 2:19-25]. Do you think you can be like Jesus when you masturbate? If the Holy Spirit is in you, do you think He would lead you to do something that is not holy, that does not glorify God? Why do you think He is the HOLY Spirit? Why do you think He takes up residence in us when we are born again, besides making us alive to God? Do you think He enjoys it when you commit a sin? When you masturbate, do you think you might be either "grieving Him" [Eph. 4:30] or "quenching Him" [1 Thes. 5:19]?

And just a brief word about your adversary, the devil. The world sees nothing wrong in feeding the flesh. God warns us that feeding our flesh has a serious, even deadly, impact on us Spiritually. Do you think the devil would prefer you to listen to, believe, be persuaded by and obey the world and the flesh, or God?


I hope by now you are convinced that masturbation won't hurt you physically -- BUT does hurt you Spiritually. I hope you understand that if you masturbate you're not a "freak" because you're not the only one doing it -- BUT that you should be more concerned with obeying the exhortations of Scripture, like --

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

I also hope that you understand masturbation won't send you to hell -- AND that there is hope and help in Christ IF: [a] you believe you have a problem with masturbation; [b] you want help, and: [c] you really want to have ALL of your life -- public and private -- glorify your Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. If you've been involved with masturbation and you feel convicted that you've hurt your relationship with God, confess it as a sin and ask His forgiveness.

Remember His promise to believers --

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If you want to stop, be encouraged! God will help you! Prayerfully talk with Him about this. Be honest! After all, it's not like you can fool God. Tell Him what you've done and how you feel about it. Ask Him to forgive you, and thank Him for His forgiveness. Ask the Holy Spirit of God to cleanse you, fill you and guide you.

Meditate on the Scriptures I've shared with you. Re-read this article with your Bible open, and look up the Scriptures I referenced. Mark them in your Bible. Memorize them! Claim them as promises. Yield to them when you feel tempted and the Holy Ghost brings them to your mind. Thank God each time He helps you resist fulfilling the lusts of your flesh. And if you stumble and fall, obey 1 John 1:9 again. Feed your Spirit and your flesh will be weakened! Having a regular time where you read and study God's Word, and spend time talking to Him is vital in helping you overcome ALL temptations.

BUT NO MATTER WHAT -- Absolutely understand this: when you are a Child of God, NOTHING you ever do will ever make Him love you less than He loves you right now. You are fully "accepted in the beloved" [Eph. 1:6] the moment you are born again! So, if you do succumb to temptation, remember God still loves you and is willing to forgive you, restore your soul and lead you "in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake" [Ps. 23:3].

OF COURSE, MUCH OF WHAT I'VE SHARED ASSUMES YOU HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN AND YOU TRULY ARE A CHRISTIAN. If you have any doubts about your salvation, THAT is the place to start. Being saved IS the best way to: [a] hinder the world from influencing you; [b] prevent the flesh from controlling you, and; [c] defeat the devil from working in your life and soul.

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE SCRIPTURAL SUGGESTIONS, here are a few other practical thoughts:

Let me recommend an excellent book: Breaking the Bondage of Addictions, written by Mike Keller, formerly of Rock of Ages Prison Ministry. Mike's current ministry, Freedom in Truth, and his book have made a real, Spiritual difference in the lives of countless young people. Yes, the book addresses all types of "addictions," but what Mike teaches in the book will help you mature Spiritually. Especially good with reference to our subject is the chapter on "Godly Character." It's a book that's easy to read without being simplistic. If you'd like to obtain a copy, contact Mike directly at:

Freedom In Truth Ministry

c/o Mike Keller

3920 Weaver Road

Palatka FL 32177

FINALLY, one of the best things you can do is develop some strong relationships with the significant people God has gifted your life with:

  • Your pastor or youth leader wants to see you succeed for Jesus. Listen to what they have to share with you from God's Word, and their heart and life. Don't be afraid of asking them difficult questions about things like masturbation, and pay attention to the Scriptures they point you to in their responses. You are one of the reasons they are serving the Lord! Help them be successful in their service by helping you.

  • As you grow older, having a friend your age who you pray with and pray for is especially helpful. You are both experiencing the same trials and tribulations. So ask God for one good friend who really loves Jesus, and who you can TRUST. Make an agreement with that person to pray for each other, and to encourage each other, in all your temptations. Then be sure to follow through! It means you have to love Jesus the best you know how, and to pray for your friend encourage them in the Lord regularly. -- Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

  • And -- if you have Christian parents -- remember they can be your BEST resource in fighting the world, the flesh and the devil. I think you might be surprised how well they understand your struggles. They really DIDN'T get off the boat with Noah. Honest! They were your age once, and experienced the same struggles. Maybe they'll have a hard time sharing their wisdom and experience with you...BUT I bet YOU know how much they love you AND that they're gladly willing to pray with you and for you.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. May God richly bless you as you yield to His Holy Spirit and learn His Word so you can DO His Word.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Tim

John 3:30 & 1 Corinthians 10:31


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