This letter is in response to someone who is struggling with masturbation.
Thank you for your letter. I have been receiving a lot of mail from my appearance on "The Good Life" and have enclosed one of our newsletters as our gift to you.
As for your problem with masturbation - the first thing to do is to rehearse or meditate upon the fact that as one who has given her life to Jesus Christ you are no longer accepted by God based on your performance. Your behavior, your failures, your sins, will never again separate you from His unconditional love. You can turn to Him in the midst of your sin - even after finishing your sin, and He will accept you as if you had never even sinned. Your full and unconditional acceptance by God is now based on the righteousness of Christ that has been accounted to you. You now have a relationship with God and He forgives your sins based on the fact that His Son Jesus died on the Cross to take your punishment upon Himself - past, present and future.
When you consider this fact, you will understand what Titus 2:11-14 means. "The grace of God teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and to live an upright and godly life - eager to do what is good." You see, when you are faced with a totally accepting and loving God at every turn, no matter what your sin, no matter how often you sin, it eventually breaks (melts) your heart and you fall in love with Him at a level you never dreamed existed. As this deeper level of trust and love grows between you and God, your desire to do what He suggests becomes fixed and certain and you begin trusting that whatever He has said is for your absolute good and blessing. You begin to want what He wants - in fact, you become "eager" to do it, just as the scripture says. When the will is fully matured and persuaded like that, then the delivering and keeping power of God is able to operate on your behalf fully.
There is a great deal of self-deception involved in the sin of masturbation. We often convince ourselves that we want deliverance when deep inside, we really don't. It is the grace of God, and His revelation to us of the truth, that helps us over this obstruction.
The next step is then to understand how "spiritual warfare" works - how to respond to temptation and turn to God so that He will not only quench the temptation, but also meet the deep, inner need that you have been meeting through your sin. First, you need to make a change of lifestyle, so that meeting alone with God becomes a permanent fixture in your day to day life. You need to really pursue a deep relationship with Him. Spend time just sitting alone in His presence. Sing love songs to Him. Read His Word. And as the Holy Spirit directs, talk to Him about what is on your heart - just as you would anyone who you had put your trust and confidence in. Ask Him to reveal and to destroy the strongholds of the enemy. Ask Him to disclose what need you have been meeting through masturbation and how He can better meet that need. Pray for a vision of His glory, His purity, His power. As you fix your eyes on Him regularly, you will be transformed into His image (2 Cor 3:18). Two good books on this subject are: The Joy of Listening to God by Joyce Huggett and Hearing God by Peter Lord.
Now that you have a more meaningful relationship with God, you should also meditate on your inheritance - the blessings, privileges, authority and power of being a child of God. Jesus has given you authority to speak to the evil powers that have bound you and tell them to leave, "in Jesus' name". Spiritual warfare begins with regularly praying that those compulsions and temptations that have controlled you in the past be cast out of your life. You need to keep praying that until it happens. When the old temptations return to you, you need to turn immediately to Jesus and ask for His power to put out the fire of that temptation. Do this right away because if you allow the temptation to stay in your thoughts for more than a few seconds, it will start to gain so much power that you may decide not to turn to God. The battle goes on in the mind and in the realm of the spirit. You will find that if you really want God's purity instead of the evil of the temptation, God will always be there for you and will give you the power to turn away from the temptation. God is better able to meet your need than your old sin ever was! And the more time you spend worshiping and talking to Jesus, the more attractive He will become. Then it won't be such a difficult battle, because your desires will have changed so that you will rather turn to Jesus than the lust in your mind. It is when Jesus becomes more beautiful to you than sin and evil that you really start seeing ongoing victory. Two good books on this topic are: The Three Battlegrounds by Francis Frangipane and The Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson.
Remember to regularly get alone and talk to God. Tell Him what is on your heart. Develop the kind of relationship with Him that you would with the one you want to marry. Ask Him to reveal the hidden secrets of your heart - those behaviors and incidents in your past that have caused you to sin and have sexual confusion. Sit and listen for the still small voice of the Holy Spirit to whisper in your spirit what you need to know. God will remind you of things that happened in your past which have empowered your compulsions. He will show you people who have hurt you and ask you to forgive them. He has forgiven you, so you must forgive them. Let God be their judge. Release them into His hands so you can be emotionally free from what they did to you. It may take a while before you begin to recognize when God is speaking and when it's just your own thoughts, but you will be able to tell after a few months of regularly listening for His voice. God's voice is calm, unhurried, encouraging, loving, inspiring and filled with the same wisdom as is found in the Bible. He is never condemning, rushed, compulsive and He never contradicts what He has already said in His Bible. Be obedient to whatever He asks you to do. What you will discover is that everything He asks you to do will always be for your good. He loves you deeply and wants to show you how to live a healthy, godly life.
During these times of getting to know Him, He will begin revealing Himself to you, just as He promised He would in Jeremiah 29:11 and following. He will also begin to change you from the inside out. The reason psychologists are so pessimistic about what they can do is because they are trying to heal people using the wisdom of men. God's wisdom is far greater than that. He will change you from the inside out because only He knows what is going on deep down inside of you. He will recreate your inner man and heal the damage done as a result of your childhood traumas. He will help you forgive those people in your life who have hurt you. This is very important. God will give you the power to forgive even when you don't think you can.
Read the Bible regularly also - especially the books of John and Ephesians. God will speak to you through the pages of scripture. Attend church regularly. He will talk to you through the preacher and through other people. Find a church with a loving and forgiving atmosphere, and one which believes in the Bible and in the power of the Spirit.
A very important weapon against sin is regular worship of God. Buy some praise music (the Vineyard puts out good praise music) and sing love songs to the Lord alone in your room. Praise HIm for His holiness and purity. Ask Him to heal you and to affirm you in your sexuality. Ask Him to make you whole and certain of your future as a balanced, healthy person. Begin basing your life on these truths rather than on your feelings and emotions. Of primary importance is that you believe that God is responding to such prayers, irregardless of immediate or visible change. Faith is a critical ingredient when we ask God for things that He has clearly indicated in the scriptures are according to His will.
Order my Sexual Healing book if you can. (See the back page of the enclosed newsletter for details). It has an extensive chapter on "Masturbation".
God can heal you simply by doing what I have told you. I was not healed by going through counselors and I was an extreme case. I know God can do it just between you and Him if your desire is strong enough and if you rely totally on His power to change you. All you have to do is concentrate on getting to know God as your closest friend and as your Lord and simply do whatever He tells you to do. He will do the necessary changes inside of you in the midst of that relationship and provide you with the power over sin every time you sincerely want Him to. You must seek a relationship with Him with all your heart, however. You must truly want to be pure and to walk in holiness for the rest of your life. You must believe that God has the power to heal you and you must keep pursuing Him to do it for as long as it takes. Never give up! God rewards those who diligently seek Him!
Remember, God specializes in doing the miraculous - the more impossible, the better He likes it! If you have trusted Jesus to pay for your sins by His death on the Cross, your are now a new creation in Christ. The old has passed away and behold, the new has come. Don't let the enemy fool you into believing that isn't true just because your old temptations and memories come back. Resist the devil with the name of Jesus on your lips and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. God forgives you and stands ready to heal your mind, your will and your emotions. Don't rely on man to do it. God may use men to help you along the way, but put your trust and faith totally in God alone.
I hope this has answered your questions. You are on the list to receive my newsletters. God Bless.
Yours for His glory, David Kyle Foster, Director