If you are addicted to masturbation, and you have already acknowledged your addiction, most likely you desire to find some easy, no-cost way to get rid of that habit of yours as quickly and as easily as possible—or at least a good answer to the above-mentioned question or practical advice that you could begin to implement in your life. If that is the case, this post might be for you. Here I will share insights that were important in my own journey to freedom from addiction to masturbation as well as in the journeys of others, to whom God later gave me the privilege to serve.
I dedicate this post mainly to those readers who already bear in their hearts the question of how to overcome masturbation; to those who desire to break free from this addiction, and may have tried to do so already; and to those who have tried to help someone struggling with this addiction, even if just once, or who perhaps constantly serves as pastor or counselor. However, some of you readers may still be openly doubting whether or not to fight masturbation; whether it is important and worth paying attention to, or whether it is insignificant.
Others may harbor such doubts deep in their hearts. And some of you probably just accidentally came across this site, only looking for more information about the topic and you are full of questions, other than the title states. Some of you may never even worry about masturbation and you feel fine about it in your life. But from time to time, you encounter an awkward, almost irrational anxiety after an act of masturbation or when the topic is touched upon, which produces certain discomfort in you, questioning the essence of what masturbation is in general, and what it is in your personal life.
Well, I just can affirm that to have the right answers to such questions is extremely important. Just from good, in-depth answers to such questions usually we become able to move towards love and freedom in our lives with fuller dedication of our hearts. I pray that everyone reading this and seeking answers will get them answered. I pray for answers that will point you to more life and love, because those two are priceless! I also hope in my future posts, God willing, to cover some of those important questions, too. However, here I write for those who already distinguish the difference between love and masturbation; who already know why masturbation is harmful, and want to expel it from their personal life or to help someone he/she cares about.
I will not discuss whether masturbation is normal, or whether it is wrong, or whether it is a sin. If it is, then why? These good and necessary discussions are important, but this just is not the post for that. Here I intend to overview main “ways out” from addiction to masturbation so that journey to freedom may begin on the right path and would be as easy as possible.
How to begin?
The internet is full of articles on how to overcome addiction to masturbation, and a lot of good practical advice can be found there. Nevertheless, while searching the internet, I have noticed that some crucial and important aspects are often not mentioned. Yet I have found them to be significant to know for my own journey and in ministry as well. Some of us, in certain moments of our lives, come to the point when a question, “how to overcome masturbation?”, starts to bother our hearts, implying the need to seek something better in our lives. To seek freedom.
In this age of almost unlimited internet availability, especially in the Western world, we usually can easily get thousands of proposals & words of advice for how to achieve that, even with just one click. However, such an easy way to find the answers is not necessarily helpful. If the answers are the right ones, then yes, they will direct us to the right path. But what if they are misleading? What if they are wrong, especially if they are provided to us by an authoritative person? Then we encounter high risk of being misled, especially if we lack experience, knowledge or a good foundation in sexual issues. What’s more: even good therapeutic methodology or advice, if used inappropriately, or at the wrong time, or in the wrong situation, or for the wrong person, can also fail a struggling heart. Sometimes this even leads to more wounds and deepens our problems.
The right approach
In my experience, the most important thing for a fluent start in breaking free from addiction to masturbation is to begin with the right approach to this addiction and the one who deals with it. To put it shortly: the best approach is love. Love that never condemns and is quick to show mercy, but which never affirms the lesser good for the person than the one the person was created for. Love that tells the truth, no matter how difficult to hear or say it might be, yet enwrapped in hope and understanding.
The importance of the right approach
The right approach lays a foundation for freedom to be built in an addict. Without a strong foundation, no building will stand long. Love is the most important grout in this foundation. Love, which as I discuss here, must go in all directions: an addict has to approach his/her addiction with love as well as oneself and his/her flaws and brokenness in sexuality. In same way the one who tries to help an addict, must approach him/her with love, and the broken parts in their sexuality. This love doesn’t spoil the person, nor does it affirm wickedness, but rather it fights with patience, prudence and compassion.
For the right approach to be really settled (and I could progress toward more practical ways to overcome addiction to masturbation), I want to mention a few more aspects. I have found them to be very important as well. They serve as bricks, which make the foundation for freedom firm and strong. The first brick is the right authority. The second brick is a clear agreement (from the beginning) on what masturbation is in its essence.
Which person is your highest authority in sexual issues will indicate and define how much you are prone to be misled from life and love in your journey to freedom from addiction to masturbation. To know who your authority is (to whom you turn to know the right answers to the questions in which you are not sure where exactly the truth lies) is determined easily, just by answering simple questions. I will provide examples of such questions in the next paragraph.
I invite you to read this list and to try to be as honest with yourself as you can in finding the answer that would most precisely describe your beliefs. Here is the list: who do you believe has the most correct answers to the questions regarding masturbation? Other questions connected to sexuality? Maybe that person is your doctor? Or maybe you believe that medical science could provide the best answers? Or someone from the mass media? Or maybe your more experienced colleague, or a friend? Or maybe your mother, or father? Or maybe a psychologist? Or sexologists? Or maybe a priest? Or your pastor? Or maybe you alone know everything? Or someone else? Who, then?
Please, spend at least few seconds to find the answer to these questions for yourself. It’s important to understand on what ground you are standing if you want to begin the journey to freedom from addiction or to help someone else to do so.
The essence of masturbation
The next step I will invite you to, is to answer the other important question: what do you think masturbation is in the first place?
The purely “technical” definition, if you will, of masturbation is as follows: masturbation is sexual self-stimulation in a variety of means and a variety of ways with the purpose of achieving sexual self-satisfaction. (Know at least that I refer to such behavior when I use the word “masturbation” in my blog posts.) However, here, when I challenge you to describe the essence of what masturbation is, I refer not to the technical definition.
I do not invite you to meditate on what the best scientific definition of the behavior would be, but rather to look honestly at your beliefs about this kind of behavior. I encourage you to find the answer to what you think masturbation is in its essence: maybe a normal and healthy act of humans in general, but which in your case simply became excessive? Or maybe a sexual perversion? Or a simple pleasure, the same as all other pleasures in this world, not worth worrying about? Or a disease? Or a flaw? Or a way to love oneself? Or a way to compensate for a lack of sexual intercourse in your life? Or a way to compensate for what your partner is not capable of offering? Or a sort of medicine to relieve anxiety or boredom in your daily routine? Or a sin? Or just an extra attribute to your porn addiction? Or the most shameful act a person can practice? What do you think masturbation is? How does the answer sound that seems most true for your heart now?
What do my bricks look like?
My personal answers (I believe it would be honest to share those with you) to the two above-mentioned important questions are as follows:
1. My highest authority in questions connected to sexual issues is God. Yes, God. Because He created sexuality. He knows us deeply. For me, He is the most credible source to look to for the true answers regarding human sexuality. Still, to my regret, He was not always my highest authority.
Almost half of my life I believed in and relied on many other sources other than Him. And I was misled. And I made wrong choices. And now I live with the consequences of those choices and must heal from some deep wounds. But at least I can compare different sources. And now I can joyfully declare how good it is to find the good and nourishing source of truth, which sets us free and heals even deep flaws and wounds of our hearts!
For about nineteen years I have already lived as Christian by God’s grace. I would never change the best day of my life before that even to the darkest day of my life after becoming Christian. The peace, light and love, which through Christianity God implemented in my life are so incomparable to anything I had before and are so priceless, and growing day by day! I wouldn’t change that for anything. (Well, at least I sincerely hope and pray I would never exchange that for something less.)
To know more about my reasons for why God is my authority, you can read in my other blog post here.
2. For me, the essence of masturbation is that masturbation is a sin. It is an act opposite to love, setting us apart from one other, from God’s grace, from ourselves, and from all the world around us. Of course, such awareness came gradually. It was not always obvious.
During my first fifteen years, I barely knew what sin was in general. Nor did I understand why masturbation could be a sin, too. My understanding of the essence of masturbation grew with my growing maturity in Christianity, and as I tasted more true love from God and His lead in my own struggles, in wounds and addictions connected to sexuality, later – while serving others by prayer and counseling, or accountability.
Though the personal severity of masturbation sin may differ among individuals, and can be extremely reduced by different factors, or even almost nullified by them, the essence of masturbation remains… it is a sin. Masturbation, in its essence, contradicts the purpose of our sexuality and the good gifts that we are called to be for others. (I will not go deeper here on this topic, but you can read a little bit more about why masturbation is not love in my other post here, if you want.)
If you do not agree with my beliefs, is freedom from addiction to masturbation still possible?
My friend, freedom has a lot of definitions… and different depths, I would add. People can change, but they cannot become better by their own power. We all need God’s help, which, living in us, can make us truly better. Without Him, no authentic goodness is possible. That is what I believe in and what Christians believe in. So, if your freedom is just about change, then yes, it is definitely possible, but if your freedom is also about becoming better and more capable of loving authentically and with all of your sexuality included, then, I would say, no.
I do respect you and your beliefs of whatever kind and secretly hope that you will try to respect me in my beliefs too, in case they do not match yours.
I already mentioned that, in this post, I will not provide in-depth answers to the question: why is masturbation a sin? Even so, before approaching the answers to the question of how to overcome masturbation, and to provide help to others who are dealing with this sinful habit in their lives, I have found that it is extremely important, firstly, to clearly define what masturbation is in its essence. It is hard to fight an enemy, if we do not know or agree upon who and/or what our enemy is, don’t you think?
I am strongly convinced that, before answering how to overcome masturbation, we must be in agreement on what we are actually dealing with. Otherwise, many of the answers can mislead from true freedom or even push into deeper problems and addictions. In the case of blurred agreement, it also may happen that the one trying to fight addiction, becomes busy with cutting smaller or thicker branches of weed, but is never able to grub it out with all of its roots from his/her life.
It is easy to get lost
Why did I write all of this? Because when we read and/or write articles about how to overcome masturbation (or some other sin), it is so easy to be trapped in (or propose) self-salvation. Self-salvation from any sin is not possible for human power alone; so we Christians believe. Articles or proposals, advice, even good advice, which implies the “truth” that it is just a matter of the right method, and basically anyone can become free, are misleading.
Often such “truth” puts an unbearable load on the shoulders of an addict. He/she tries and fails and then often gives up: “I tried a lot, and nothing helped. Maybe it means I am flaw and hopeless, or maybe it means that masturbation is normal? Why fight it, if the change is not possible for me? Every relapse proves the truth, that it’s unchangeable.” Such, and similar, thoughts start to bomb an addict and he/she indeed needs a lot of inner will power to resist them and to keep searching for freedom and to fight for it.
What’s so important about masturbation as a sin?
God defines sin as slavery. Slavery, which ends up with death. The wages of sin is death, as apostle Paul writes (NIV Bible Rom 6:23). Can a human break the slavery of sin by his/her own efforts and good deeds? We Christians believe the answer to that is: No. Just as the Lamb of God, the Crucified one – Jesus Christ – bears such authority in this world.
Dear friend, here I want to draw to your close attention that all of the answers to the question of how to overcome masturbation, no matter what, are always built on certain beliefs; it can be Christian, non-Christian, or anti-Christian. That is the most important aspect to understand.
You might encounter a lot of different approaches and they will always be based on certain beliefs about what masturbation is in its essence, and then, how it can be overcome. And, what’s more, no matter where you are starting your journey to freedom, for sure, you will come to a point where the need to choose what you personally believe will be thrown at you by life. No one can skip that. And from your choice, you will derive the direction of your further journey. The end of it as well.
A fake change
I have seen people changing their certain sinful habits. Some of them did it very quickly and easily, and others, not so quickly and easily. Nevertheless, they did not become freer individuals. For instance, a person stops masturbating, but by doing that, he/she falls into a more intensive cigarette addiction, or relational co-dependence, or an eating disorder, or becomes more anxious, or bitter and mean to others, or he/she seems quite fine and free for some time, but after few weeks /months/years, or in more difficult life seasons, a relapse happens. And sometimes an even stronger addiction, in comparison to the previous one, follows that relapse.
Have you ever seen or experienced something like that? To experience such fake freedom, and/or to witness it, is a really sad experience. I call such cases outer freedom, because they lack true inner freedom. It is freedom from slavery to sin. Freedom to choose authentic love and to resist sin in whatever “dress” or season it might approach them.
We cannot avoid temptations in this life. Freedom is defined not by the absence of them, or by our ignorance to the mild, daily temptations we face, but rather by the ability to resist any kind of temptation, of any intensity and in whatever season of life; the ability to stay sober from unwanted behavior and to persevere in love.
Any addiction deforms and breaks our ability to love authentically and to engage in relationships with others. Especially sexual ones are extremely damaging for all parties involved. Thus, they are so poisonous for us and others around.
A beautiful freedom
True freedom is not possible until the addict bows down to something: be it specific source of pleasure or to another human being (idolatry, codependency) or even oneself (pride, victimization). True freedom in a person begins just from the moment when he/she learns to stand straight in his/her own dignity, which the Creator has granted him/her. When one becomes able to recognize the dignity of oneself and the others around them, and becomes safe in it, becomes safe and satisfied by the love of the One, who Created them and loves them first… loves them eternally!
Through the abundance of such love, the experience of it, a former addict is able to resist anything that is less than the true love he/she has already tasted; anything that hurts his/her own dignity or dignity of others around. Then, the former addict becomes able to bless others with authentic love and the gift he/she is created to be for the opposite gender and same gender as well; to all of the brothers and sisters around.
Isn’t such freedom beautiful? Isn’t it wonderful to meet such people in our lives? Those, who are able to love us in an authentic and gentle way, in God’s way? What a privilege! Isn’t this the most beautiful cause for life for each of us – to love like that?! To love till the end?
The good news
The good news is that such freedom and the ability to love authentically is not impossible for us. It is possible. Even here, in this earthly life full of pain, injustice, suffering, and shortcomings. I have met men and women who have experienced such transformations in their lives, and the inner freedom in them was beautiful and blessed me deeply. To meet them was a huge encouragement for me to persevere in my own fight toward more authentic freedom and love.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (NIV Bible Rom 6:23). God is for us, not against us. No matter what swamp we are in, His grace is more powerful. Through Saint Faustina, Jesus once spoke: “I am love and Mercy Itself. There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy, neither will misery exhaust it, because as it is being granted – it increases. The soul that trusts in My mercy is most fortunate, because I Myself take care of it” (1273, p. 459 Divine Mercy in My Soul, the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska).
No one is hopeless for God, no one is lost for Him, unless it is his/her own choice. We are His beloved people, called for a great love, joy, and happiness, yet, so often wasting our lives and our precious time for trash. Still, NO ONE is hopeless for Him.
Is there any shortcut?
The sad truth is that many addicts usually want to get rid of bothering addiction by whatever mean (even sinful!), just as quickly as possible, as easily and effortlessly as possible. I was one of them. They may even be willing to do a lot of sacrifices to make themselves nice and clean on the outside, either to themselves, or to the others, or both, but do not bother much about becoming free indeed; free in the depths of their being. Of course, before judging them, we should bear in mind that a lot of them have only a blurred understanding, or none at all, of what true freedom looks like.
The easier the way someone can propose, the more popular a helper they will become in the eyes of such addicts. Yet, such ways always fail our hearts and the hearts of those around us, whom we are called to love.
God, as Creator, created us for true freedom, and to true freedom He keeps inviting us, every one of us. And He grants it as a gift to anyone who turns to Him. True inner freedom is our natural state, as humans and the children of God, created according His image and likeness. We all long for such, consciously or subconsciously.
Slavery contradicts our hearts and our authentic inner longing. It is not natural for us. We do not feel comfortable in any slavery, no matter how pleasurable it might be sometimes. Something in us keeps calling for something more, for more life, for higher greatness than even the greatest pleasure, arising from our bodies, can offer.
The best shortcut to freedom is to choose the right path leading to it
If true freedom is our goal, in order to begin our journey (which is called: how to overcome masturbation), successfully, it’s extremely important to choose the right path. Every journey starts on a new path. But, is the path I propose for this journey the right one?
I have tried different paths, and my personal journey had a lot of suffering and failure. Here, I will propose the one that led me quickly to good progress toward freedom, brought peace and love to my fights and failures, and faithfully strengthened me in times of doubt and longing. I also witnessed in others, fighting the same or similar sexual addictions, whom I had the privilege to know on deeper and more personal level, that this path was the safest, and actually, the only one leading to the true freedom. Walking this path led to the profound transformation of hearts. This path has a name. And the name of the path I am referring to is: Jesus Christ.
The need for a Savior
We, Christians, believe that there is the only one – Lamb of God – who takes away the sins of the world. We believe that just through Christ true freedom is possible. The beginning of any true freedom starts from Him and becomes accomplished in us through Him. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. (NIV Bible ACT 4:12).
If you already had acknowledged your addiction, that is already a powerful sign of God’s mercy, working in your heart and your life, urging you towards freedom… And that mercy in you will keep insisting towards true freedom, not the fake one, despite what you will choose and wherever you choose to wander… I pray for such insisting mercy for everyone, who is reading this post…
If masturbation is a sin, so the only person who has the authority in this Earth to break the bonds of that sin in our lives is Jesus. And He is there for you, me, and for anyone, who would want. Because He came to set captives free. And He promised to be with us to the very end of the age. And His presence is visible in so many, who turned to Him and witnessed His saving power pouring over them in a variety of ways.
The crucial step
In my experience, before moving to practical aspects on how to overcome masturbation, firstly it is important to step on the right path: to surrender one’s life and all the journey to Jesus as the personal Savior. This step is crucial. Only if we stand on the right path, day by day grow into deeper intimacy with God (in myriads of ways), we begin to experience all the practical advice and good methods, proposed worldwide, becoming truly fruitful in our addiction and helping us to eliminate it. We inevitably begin to taste the freedom that God starts to accomplish in us.
I believe that every one of us needs the Savior. No method is capable to set anyone free from addiction to masturbation and establish profound freedom in the heart. Jesus is. Plain methods can mask our addictions, transform them, shift them, but they cannot make us more free and more able to love authentically.
Nevertheless, the best news is that there is the One, who can, and who is very willing to accomplish that in your life, if you only allow Him… Also the truth is that Jesus saves us through many methods! A huge truth, which so often is disregarded…
So often we turn to experts or methods forgetting or even denying the true Source of freedom, to which the method is referring us to, and then the disappointment is so close… We put our trust just in the method or certain expert and throw ourselves into a situation, similar to the one Jesus describes in his famous parable: Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? (NIV Bible LUK 6:39)
…even good methods and experts can end our journey to freedom with disaster… if the Savior is renounced in the process and not allowed to lead, the end is quite clear and quite sad. Not even mentioning all those false helpers and openly misleading methods, which also are very popular nowadays, and to which it is not so easy to stay uninvolved, if we lack experience and knowledge.
Beware of danger, I friendly warn you… I sincerely wish and pray for the good shortcut and for the right choices, which would open life for every reader, instead of closing it to them even more.
What about practical methods?
Am I against methods and practical advice, therapeutic approaches? Not at all. Yes, Jesus is the breaker of our sins and the only Savior, however, the way, how He breaks those chains of sin and saves us, include our very practical cooperation. He never disregards our free will to choose either to walk His ways or ours, either to choose life or death. Such freedom is always ours. And every day new.
After many years in my own journey as well as alongside others, I came to the point of understanding that those myriads of creative and unique ways “how Jesus saves” produces that huge variety of different methods, therapeutic approaches, good advice and practical aspects, or whatever we may call them in our human experience. No wonder we enjoy sharing them with others. What was useful for one soul, can certainly feed and assist the other!
I am not against all the articles on how to overcome addiction to masturbation written by other authors. On the contrary, I am “for” every good method, even the smallest one, which leads to more freedom in our lives. I just want to draw readers’ attention, that all is not about the method, but about the Source of freedom – about Jesus.
Even the best practice, method, advice, if it denies Jesus and eradicates the need of Him from our journey to freedom, will lead us further away from true freedom. At least that was the profound lesson I got in my way to freedom as well as in my ministry to others…
I had seen some addicts who became terribly lost and distressed by trying to implement all possible good methods offered by mass media in order to get rid of addiction to masturbation. Yet, by doing this, they did not put any effort to grow in relationship with Jesus and in obedience to His ways and lead, and finally it ended with exhaustion, frustration, anxiety and failure.
I also had seen addicts and experienced myself how those same methods, and huge variety of good practical advice and approaches, which failed others, were used in different seasons by Jesus and served well for inner healing and growth to more profound freedom in many hearts (mine including). The difference between the above mentioned failure cases and success stories was indeed small, sometimes indistinguishable from the outside, yet profound: the latter simply responded to the initiatives Jesus was leading to, and implemented only what He was urging them to implement in their lives instead of trying to fix themselves by their own reason and preferences.
No same addiction – no same method either!
There is no same human person. There is no such thing as same heart or same wounding. Every person is unique. Every story is unique. Every addiction is unique. Even if it looks very similar from the outside, sometimes even from the inside, but it is not the same as someone else’s addiction.
I believe, and my experience doesn’t contradict that belief, that the worst thing, which we might do, is to try to heal people’s hearts and solve their spiritual problems (and addiction to masturbation is one such kind) by same methods or one “right” therapeutic approach. If we respect the truth that every human being is unique, we will understand, how damaging and even hurtful such an approach can be for the addicted heart, who already is wounded severely enough… Yet, so often we do act like that… or at least are tempted to approach others in such a manner and even ourselves.
“I know, how you feel”, “I have seen that already”, “I know exactly, what you are going through and what you need to do”… etc. Sadly, but even among professionals, such an approach can be encountered.
For more than nineteen years already I walk with Jesus. And the more I proceed, the more astonished I become by His ways to heal our wounded hearts. Jesus is so powerful, yet so gentle and dedicated healer. And so creative. He gives us time. He waits patiently until we give Him permission to heal us. And He never grows weary in healing us or urging us to choose more life.
He knows our hearts, He knows our thinking, our gained teaching and experiences through life. He knows our inner and outer struggles, He knows our current responsibilities, our work and our rest. He knows our weaknesses and our strengths. He knows our value, and the gift we are called to be. He chooses the best medicine and most appropriate dose of it for us and for the context of life situations we are in. He cares that the healing would reach us as quickly and as fluently as possible, but acts gently and respects our limited ability to receive deep healing at once.
Addiction to masturbation often is just a surface of our deeper wounds and darkness… Jesus cares about all our heart. Sometimes He starts to heal us from a completely different angle we would like. But it is just that He sees better, where we are literally bleeding and our life is in danger, and which wounds can wait for a while, until the right timing will come.
Sometimes we are not able to receive all surgery at once, and have to persevere different stages of His treatment… But there is no safer place than the hands of Jesus for anyone. Our constant yes to Him in whatever treatment He is leading us to is the best choice ever. So many times I saw Him leading me and others into life situations, which implemented profound healing, which suited best for specific individual and at the same time were unexpected and unpredictable… Sometimes surprising or even hard to accept at first, but so nourishing and needed, when evaluated in time perspective.
Of course, not all His methods and healing situations were always pleasant and without any suffering, or the need to sacrifice own pride and “perfect me image” in the eyes of others. But all were so rewarding later – new life, health and ability to love emerged. It is so worth it to cooperate with Him! When God invites us into something, He also provides strength to persevere and accomplish everything.
Allow me to write once more: if we seek freedom, when we should firstly worry not about what method, but just about how to surrender ourselves to Jesus and to allow Him to lead us daily. This is the best investment we can do for our future. And just the next step is to dive into studying the methods or available ways about how practically we should shut the doors to masturbation and live out the freedom and love, which is won for us by His blood.
Some methods and approaches will be better for one person, and will not suit at all for the other; can be even harmful or will burden and frustrate. Along the healing process, we also experience the truth, that even for the same person for different reasons most appropriate methods will differ, depending on the healing to come. Often, what was good for the beginning of journey, will not be useful later or can even become harmful… The discipline, which suited for the spiritual childhood, doesn’t suit for a grownup’s journey…
So how not to get lost?
Wisdom and prudence is really needed. If we give our lives to Jesus, we open ourselves to His divine wisdom and lead. In such case, we will not get lost. If God is for us, so who can harm us?! We have the best leader ever: He died for us, He keeps fighting for our best daily, He loves us and really cares about us and our victory, and He has the highest authority over any wicked power of this world! With Jesus, our victory is inevitable and we are invincible. So we can be calm that no way we will get lost, if just Jesus is our path. He is mighty enough to save us from anything. But really, can we?
Well, the truth is that in this earth we live our lives in faith. Faith is a daily choice. And all about Jesus is always a matter of faith. Not that Jesus stops to be for us in any moment of our life, but we may stop to choose Him… And that can make a tremendous change to our journey.
No matter how long I count myself as a Christian, how many miracles I have seen in the past, still each day I must choose: who will be the Lord of my life today, in this very moment? I am not dismissed from this obligation to choose daily by life… Neither is my brother or sister atheist. We all are always left with the possibility at every moment to choose either life, or death, and our God or gods… Freedom is ours.
So, if one day my daily choices start to deny Jesus, I can easily get lost. Each choice in my journey, which contradicts Jesus, will lead me further away from true freedom…
What helps to stay on the good path?
A lot of things… In short – following Jesus.
What does this mean in practice?
Daily personal prayer. Begin to practice daily personal prayer. It is not so important how or what you say during it… or how often you get distracted in your prayer. It is your presence and the availability you approach God with that is important.
Through spending your time and putting efforts to be present for Him by your personal prayer, you make yourself available for Him – to heal and change your heart for the better. He treasures that a lot and will reward every second of such time abundantly. There is no such person who cannot pray. So, courage and perseverance! And NO to any excuse not to pray.
The most intimate friendship with God grows mainly through personal prayer time. We all need such friendship. We all can have it. We can pray anytime and everywhere. Try to pray whenever it is possible for you and very quickly you’ll start to notice the difference of life without prayer to life nurtured by prayer. By no other way so profoundly we experience fighting and present for us living God, than in our personal prayers.
However, if you have never prayed before, or you come with deep wounds from your childhood (bad parenting, abandonment, neglect etc…), or have experienced abuse of any kind in your past, or you are deep in sinful addictions, it is normal to have difficulty (sometimes even extreme) to come and stay in personal prayer. And to drink that life, which I just referred to. Yes, for such cases it takes time to learn to receive through personal prayer … But again – courage!
It will be more difficult for you, than for those less wounded ones, but it is not impossible! The deeper wounding calls for deeper healing and greater mercy, which God will pour on your heart and you will have the privilege to experience such abundance, which others, not so deeply wounded, never taste. So, courage! Be gentle, patient and nonjudgmental towards yourself or God. Fruits will definitely come.
Try to come to personal prayer at least a few times a day, maybe just for a few minutes, but do that with all your heart and stay as open to Him as you manage at the moment. Even short prayers can move mountains. Do not be discouraged. It will get better with time. You will see and rejoice!
Bible. Read it, study it. At least the New Testament. If you never had read the Bible, start from Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. You have to get acquainted with Jesus, if you want to follow Him.
Start reading, after you have prayed that God would give you the Holy Spirit, who would help you to understand what you are about to read. Pray that He would speak to you, guide you through the Word and teach you. The Word of God is so powerful to heal us and to direct us towards good. So many life changing miracles I have experienced through reading the Bible, and I am not an exception! Rather a most ordinary case.
However, bear in mind, that sometimes Satan also uses Scripture in order to tempt us away from God. It is normal to experience times, when to read the Bible is an easy and nourishing experience, and also times, when we can barely understand what God wants to tell us through the verses we read or even become scandalized.
Still – persevere in reading the Bible. Make this your daily habit. At least one verse a day and then, live according to the word. Because only in so doing do we become Christ followers… And you will experience the goodness of the Word and God leading you through it.
Make love your aim. Freedom is a good aim, but the apostle Paul teaches us to follow the way of love (ac. 1 Cor 14:1 NIV Bible). Our first aim should always be love.
To fight masturbation is of course important, as masturbation is opposite to love, robs it away from us and poisons our heart and relationships. However, this your fight should not become an idol for you: should not overpower you or overwhelm all your life, should not paralyze it.
The priority is to follow the way of love in whatever season and whatever situation. Sometimes we cannot change our addiction instantly, but we always can instantly choose to love. Make simple acts of unselfish love your daily priority and a lot of freedom will be established in your life almost automatically. Love is the opposite to masturbation and by choosing love response in life, you automatically reject masturbation.
Love accomplishes miracles in our wounded hearts and those around us… It’s worth spending most of our time and creativity for that. God is love. We have to focus on Him more than ourselves…
For a heart, which desires to get well as quickly as possible, such advice directs it a bit away from its wounds and problems, away from too high a concentration on itself and helps not to miss what is most important in this life. Such distraction can be very needed and helpful for many of those who became tired, frustrated or exhausted from constant focus on becoming free from addiction to masturbation or daily fights with temptations to sin in old ways.
Yet, do not use this advice as an excuse for you not to fight masturbation addiction at all either. That would be a mistake. That would mean immaturity and choice to continue to live a poisonous lifestyle with the hope that just by concentration on love you will survive. The truth is that you are not capable to love authentically with addiction present in your live – so this fight must be fought and won, just as it should not become too exaggerated in your life. You are much more than your wounds or even deep addictions. So much more…!
Find Christian community and authentic relationships with other Christians (as they are the body of Christ). If I do not allow the body of Christ to know me and touch me, and teach me His ways, and serve to my wounds, and assist in my struggles – no way I am following Jesus: maybe I am still gazing at “Jesus, as the Head of the body” (through my personal prayers and religious practices), but I am walking my own ways…
There is no following Jesus without being in His community really present and following Him together with others. Authentic Christianity includes accepting Jesus as the head of the Church and accepting church members as His body.
In my experience, I would say, Jesus especially likes to heal addiction to masturbation (and other sexual addictions) through His community. Not only encouraging us through inspiring victorious testimonies of others but also through real, intimate and authentic relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We experience such Christian relationships (and Christ among us in specific ways as He promised), in moments of intersession prayers or Christian counseling, or authentic lifelong friendships, or accountability practices and similar. A lot of powerful tools are available.
The real presence of the brother or sister in Christ. Jesus often uses us for one another to encourage and bless the talents and gifts we have. He might use the voice of your brother or sister in order to speak to your heart the words of life and truth, when you are still too weak, or too wounded, or too inexperienced, or mislead and unable to receive directly from His heart during your personal time of prayer. He also gives us each other in order we could easier resist the sin of masturbation, which pulls us into loneliness, by what is opposite to it – friendship, relationships, and love.
Many of us, who are deep in addiction to masturbation, become in a sense used to the bitter taste of loneliness… Even some of us become assimilated with that taste in such a way that we start to identify ourselves with it. We accept loneliness as a part of who we are and how we are in this earth. We might even begin to count it as good and pleasurable way to lead our life. Our personal treasure. Sin mixes all things up in us…
In the beginning of the journey to freedom, such a person might often find it very difficult to follow Jesus’s lead, when He starts to urge him/her to open oneself to His body, specific people, and all his/her ugly weaknesses to them as well. When He starts gently, but firmly to invite the person to live his/her life with pure heart: practice life without hiding in dark secrets of his/her own.
Jesus often starts persistently to approach us through some trustful Christians and urges us to allow them to speak to us, to pray for us, to walk with us a mile or two towards our freedom. Yet, many of us would prefer more sterile way out…: “make me holy and whole, Lord! instantly, I beg You! without a need to tell anyone about the ugly prison I am in now, without a need to name my sin loudly to concrete someone…” But this is not the way that holiness is established in us by Jesus…
Nevertheless, courage! The price is worth paying. For some of us, at the beginning, such coming to light experiences may feel like close to death ones, but the price is worth paying! Those experiences are always victorious ones and establish good fruits in us and make us more whole and authentic. Our old self dies at the foot of His Cross and the new self is raised with Him for more love and life to share with those around.
The first steps for the journey
To sum up a little bit of what was said, and to proceed in answering the question of how to overcome masturbation, allow me to write the following:
- The first, most important, step is to begin from the right path. To turn oneself to the true and unfailing source of freedom – Jesus Christ – and to surrender to Him your whole life and journey to freedom from addiction to masturbation.
- Next, to grow in your knowledge and relationship with Jesus, do what you need to do: start praying, read the Bible, get to know Christian community, learn about faith, open yourself to safe and trustworthy relationships with Christians. Just a precaution: take care of good boundaries, even in Christian faith-based relationships! Especially if you struggle with sexual issues. Every Christian is not only an instrument in Jesus’ hands, but also a sinful human being – same as you are. Do not fall into the temptation of making someone else your personal savior or disregarding someones weaknesses or even sins just because that person declares oneself as christian. Make Christ the Center of any of your relationship, and staying faithful to Him and His teaching in any relationship – your highest priority… that helps to keep ourselves safe (and others as well).
- Make love your aim. Once we start to know what true love is all about (and without the first two steps mentioned above that is impossible to do), and learn to seek it and to practice it in our lives, a lot of temptations toward masturbation fail to have the same power over us that they used to.
- Ask for intercession prayer, if possible (accountability relationship), from other Christians. Try not to stay alone with your addiction and fights. Even if you fail many times a day, let someone concrete know it. Let someone pray for you, and with you, about it. Sometimes, freedom starts from faithful acts of humility and obedience, when we stop hiding in secrets and under a “perfect me” image, but rather become transparent to God and His body (brothers and/or sisters) with whatever weaknesses we face. Those constant efforts to stay in the light can have different practical expressions: through mature Christian friendship, accountability, counseling, or spiritual fatherhood by priest or pastor. Indeed, walking in light and transparency to my brothers or sisters is one of the most powerful weapons serving in the fight against despair, addiction, and temptation. I pray that you will all be blessed by such relationships with Christ’s body members.
- It is also very helpful to understand that, in addiction to masturbation, we deal not only with the sin of masturbation, but also with a strong damaging habit. To know how habits form in our brains, and how they can be changed, might also offer a lot of good insights and provide ideas about how to organize your daily routine in order for your freedom to come more easily.
- Many of you also will be lead to the deeper layers of your souls by the Holy Spirit, where the root causes of masturbation addiction, false beliefs, or hurtful experiences lay, and you will be invited to surrender all of this to Jesus too, in order to gain reconciliation or healing in the most intimate places of your soul. Just note that, usually, Jesus does not force us into such a season, until we have appropriate help available around us for in-depth healing to come. Yet, sometimes we, by our own impatient initiative, or led by an inexperienced helper, immerse ourselves in detailed self-examination and dig into our wounds from the past, hoping to find the root cause of addiction and eliminate it, but instead, we fall into suffering from unneeded guilt, pain, fear, or scrupulousness and a lot of other blocks that rather postpone our healing, instead of accelerating it. I do not advise diving deeply into self-examination until you have at least one trustful and mature Christian, experienced in inner healing, available to you personally, who can intercede and walk next to you in your journey, at least for a while, and when deep healing begins, provide a good voice in your times of need.
Everyone is precious. We often do not treasure one another as much as we should. But God never stops treasuring us. He keeps inviting each of us to develop into the best version of ourselves in this life. And it’s never too late for Him.
He is dreaming about us as free and happy people, His children, eternally beloved and loving. And He is doing everything that we might live like that. The gates of heaven have been re-opened for us through Christ.
No matter whether you believe in God or not, He doesn’t stop loving you and seeking your happiness. Masturbation doesn’t bring happiness – love does. I encourage you to choose love and to take whatever step you need in order that love can be strengthened in you and in the relationships that you share. My prayers are for you my friend, be blessed!
If you want to know more about my personal journey to freedom from addiction to masturbation and porn, you can find it here.
If you have any questions about what I have written here, you are welcome to post those as a comment just below this post, or write to me directly (especially questions referring to your more intimate personal situations or struggles), at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.
I wrote a lot about Jesus… He is so precious.
Please, allow me to end this post with short prayer, which might assist those, who have never surrendered their lives to Jesus or do not know how to do that, yet would like to do that after reading this post. If you find desire to make this concrete step in your heart, and want to give Jesus a chance in your life, and to surrender to Him, and you find this prayer appropriate, you are welcome to join me:
God, You are my Creator and you know everything about me. Now I approach You with this, my simple prayer, and I give permission to Your Son Jesus Christ to come and rule in my life. Jesus, now I surrender to You my life; all of my strengths and weaknesses; my sins; all of my past, present, and future; all of my relationships with others (including myself); and everything that I have. I acknowledge the truth: that I am a sinner, I cannot save myself from any sin, and no other human being or method can. I declare today that I choose You as my only Savior and Lord. Lead my every step toward freedom and help me to know Your will. Make me such as You wish me to be. Teach me to live and to bless others with authentic love and life. Free me from any sin, from addiction to masturbation and any other addiction, in the ways that only You know suit me the best.
As a sign that I choose You, Jesus, today, with all of my heart, I also renounce any idolatry, any sin, and any impure spirit (here you can be even very specific and name the exact sins – like masturbation, pornography, lust, seduction, etc., or idolatry – to a sex cult, gods or goddesses, to certain people through codependent relationships, to extramarital sexual relationships, etc. that you wish to renounce, which maybe you recognized as your own, while reading the post, or previously. I do encourage you to be as specific as you can. The more concrete we are in prayers, the better.) that I have, consciously or subconsciously, ever allowed to be in my life and of influence. In Your Name, I renounce any wickedness or anything that came into my life that was not from Your Holy Spirit.
I declare that, from now on, I choose You, Jesus, and Your ways as my ways too. By Your authority, Jesus, may every sin and slavery be broken in my life and in my relationships with others. May love and freedom be established. Grant me the mercy to follow You as I should and make me whole again, with all of my body and soul.
Jesus, I trust in You.