Masturbation and the Believer


Is masturbation okay?


While it is not directly condemned anywhere in the Bible, masturbation usually has its issues rooted in something else that is condemned by Jesus himself:

Matthew 5:28 - ...whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Looking on a woman does not necessarily mean with your eyes. In fact Jesus is dealing with what's happening in your mind, and as Paul also tells us, what goes on in our mind is very important:

Romans 8:5-13 - For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh... To set the mind on the flesh is death... For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God... those who are in the flesh cannot please God... for if you live according to the flesh you will die... (RSV)

How do we overcome these things?

The Bible's instruction is clear. It is by setting our mind on the things of God, rather than "the pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 12:25). We see this repeated in both Old and New Testaments:

Psalm 119:9 - Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Philippians 4:6-9 - Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you. (NET)

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

2 Timothy 2:21-22 - If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Notice how we overcome these things:

  • Reading, studying and paying attention to the Bible
  • Prayer, thanksgiving requests to God
  • Actively changing what we think about (changing what we watch, read etc.)
  • Actively changing how we live
  • Associating with others of the same mindset (with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart)

Our lives are to be lives of self-sacrifice in the service of God, not lives of self-satisfaction.

Written by Matthew Smith