WHY CAN'T I WIN THE BATTLE WITH MASTURBATION?
1. God made sexual release the greatest form of physical pleasure there is. “During sex, chemicals called endorphins and encephalons rush to the excitement center of a man’s brain…making his brain and body feel their absolute best.” (Dr. Doug Weiss, Sex, Men, and God) When we are down, tired, lonely, angry, or bored, we want to feel good, and sexual release makes us feel very, very good, momentarily.
2. God created men to be sexually stimulated visually, by looking at the naked female body—no relationship necessary. Thirty years ago there were fewer than a thousand X rated movie theaters in America. There used to be social barriers to hinder the pursuit of pornography—going to a sleazy part of town to watch an X-rated movie or asking the drug store clerk to give you Penthouse. Now those barriers are gone; just about any man can view porm IN SECRET, which is what gives porn so much power to enslave.
3. God has designed us so we sexually glue to whatever we are looking at when we have a sexual release—a fabulous idea if we never have a sexual release except with our wife. That way we would never tire of sex with our wife nor lose interest when she loses her youthful beauty. But in a fallen world, we fantasize and look at porn for sexual release. This behavior addicts us slowly to porn, instead of addicting us sexually to our (future) wife. “When a man ejaculates, his brain receives its maximum chemical reward. Whatever he looks at while having an ejaculation is what he will sexually ‘glue to. Whatever his eyes focus on when he sexually releases—a person, image or object—will become etched in his brain as a photographic attachment towards that person, image, or object. I call it ‘sex glue” (Weiss), Repeated use of porn along with masturbation glues us (binds us) to desiring sexual release through porn and fantasy. This bondage explains why 99.9% of married men who had regularly used porn while single eventualyy return to it after marriage.
4. Sexual impurity is a deep-rooted idol that enslaves the heart, and buries it in shame. Many Christian approaches to the battle with lust are more about behavior modification than heart transformation. They may work for a while but the old surrender to lust soon comes back. Breaking the slavery of lust is possible, but it will only happen through a process of heart transformation.
HEART TRANSFORMATION TO WIN THE BATTLE WITH LUST: A FIVE PART STRATEGY
1. It begins with building a deep rooted understanding of grace. Shame is the biggest weapon in Satan’s arsenal to keep men enslaved by sexual lust. Shame convinces us that God may tolerate us, and even forgive us because of Christ. But he really doesn’t like us that much. If I believe that God’s basic attitude towards me is disgust—I will never want to draw near to Him to have my deepest need for love and intimacy met.
The gospel of God’s grace is the only antidote strong enough to overcome men’s toxic shame over their sexual lust. It is the only motivation compelling enough to pick fallen men up, when lust has bloodied them, and send them back into the arena to fight again. It is the only force potent enough to change the heart desires that lead us into sexual sin. As Tim Keller (Prodigal God) points out, “We can only change permanently as we take the gospel more deeply into our hearts.”
At this website, you can purchase a unique, small-group, study that really does enable guys to get free from the slavery of sexual sin. It is unique because it takes a grace-centered approach to men’s battle with lust, and hearts are only changed permanently as they are transformed by grace. Click here to find out more about it.
We also provide a life-changing men's seminar, entitled, Sexual Discipleship 201. This seminar gets very high attendance in the churches where it is held because of the way we insist that churches market it. In the promotional material, we ask the church leadership to say something like this: In today's pornography obsessed culture, we believe it is our responsibility to equip every male in our church with biblical principles for battling lust. We are asking every man and young man over 12 to join us in attending, The Grace Transformed Sexuality Seminar, which is "boot camp for battling lust." Most Christian men who struggle with viewing pornography are terrified that there wife or children will find out. They will not attend a seminar or men's bible study if they believe doing so will be like hanging a scarlet "P" for porn viewer around their necks or if they fear being asked at the event whether they look at porn. The shame that overpowers them drives them into isolation, fearing being found out, yet knowing at another level that THEY NEED HELP. This seminar and study are safe ways for them to begin to get that help. Click here to find out more about the Sexual Discipleship 201.
2. The second part of this strategy of heart transformation is to delight our hearts more and more in the Lord. As John Piper points out, “One reason lust reigns in so many is that Christ has so little appeal. You were created to treasure Christ with all your heart—more than you treasure sex or sugar. If you have little taste for Jesus, competing pleasures will triumph. Plead with God for the satisfaction you don’t have. Quote Psalm 14, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love that we might rejoice and be glad all our days.” Then, look, look, LOOK at the most magnificent person in the universe until you see him the way he is.”
When the Apostle Paul is addressing the sexual sin of the Corinthians, his approach is not to simply say, “Stop it!” Rather, he tells them that the answer to their deepest longings is not the false intimacy of sexual sin but true intimacy with the Lord. “You were made for God and he is the answer to our deepest longings.” 1 Cor. 6:13. In my life, I've learned that I have to keep drinking gulps of intimacy and love in my relationship with God or else the polluted water of sinful sexual gratification will appeal too much to my thirst.
We’ve designed a 2-page per day, thirty day devotional for men, called, Allegiance: Building a Foundation of Loyalty to God, which is written to deepen men's heart-drven loyalty to Jesus, their Commander-in-Chief. For more information about Allegiance, click here.
3. Part three of a heart-transforming strategy for defeating lust is to guard and protect our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 urges us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” The motivation to watch over our heart comes from realizing how much sexual sin costs. Sin always costs—the wage is death. Something is lost or damaged when we surrender to sexual sin. It is only when we realize what sexual sin costs that we can hate it, as Paul commands us in Rom. 12:9, “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Here is just a cursory look at the cost of sexual sin:
- Surrendering to lust inflames your sexual desires making it harder to resist temptation next time.
- Every surrender brings you closer to the destructive life style of sexual addiction.
- Surrendering to lust damages you spiritually. “I urge you to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against your soul.” 1 Pet. 2:11
- Training yourself in sexual indulgence may eventually cost you your wife and children as it has many including King David.
- Pornography inspired masturbation trains and locks a man into impersonal sex, an approach to sex that will eventually be completely unfulfilling to his future wife.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap life.” Gal. 6:7-8.
4. The fourth heart-transforming strategy for married men is given in Proverbs 5:19, “May her breasts satisfy you at all times. May you be intoxicated with her love.” God tells us that when it comes to sexual desire, one of the best defenses is a great offense. God not only wants Christian couples to be drunk with sexual desire for each other , but he tells us that is part of his plan to help couples resist temptation.
When a Christian husband and wife are feasting their hearts on emotional and sexual intimacy with each other, they are far less vulnerable to temptation than when there is a loss of such intimacy. But often, there is a gradual loss of such intimacy in marriage. The intimacy misconnect often sends a marriage into a downward spiral with partners feeling more and more distant and beginning to build resentment towards each other. This problem set into my own marriage. As Sandy and I pushed our way through it, by God's grace, we discovered an astounding fact. We are not alone in this misconnect! 83% of wives say their husband doesn't understand their need for emotional initmacy and the same percentage of husbands say that their wives don’t understand their need for sexual intimacy. That is why my wife and I wrote a booklet that a couple can go through on three dates to help them work through this issue, better understanding and meeting each other’s intimacy needs. It is called Intimacy, God’s Design for Marriage: Three Conversational Dates to Rediscover Intimacy In Your Marriage. We are amazed at how many married men and women want this book, when they hear about it. One Christian marraige counselor ordered 50 copies to use in his practice and another Christian counselor bought three copies, one to eventually give each of her children, even though the children weren't even ten years old yet!! A Christian leader who supervises 25 couples in Campus Ministry ordered a copy to give each of the couples. Click here to find this book in our on-line store.
5. The fifth part of the long-term heart transforming strategy for defeating lust is to stop fighting the battle alone. Satan is ravaging our land because his strategy to divide and conquer is working. Joe Dallas is right when he says, “Sexual sin thrives in the dark. If you’re caught up in any sexual vice, one thing is certain; the secrecy surrounding your behavior is what strengthens its hold on you. However ashamed you may feel about admitting your problem to another person, the reality is this: you can’t overcome this on your own. If you could, wouldn’t you have done so by now?” (Every Man's Battle Counselor's Workshop)
All Christian men fight inner battleswith their sinful nature. Many times we lose these battles for a simple reason—we are trying to fight them by ourselves. Whether fighting in the street or fighting in Iraq, men know they are likely to become a casualty if they fight alone. The same principle holds true with the battles of our inner lives. Tremendous power results from having a brother standing beside you in this battle. We’re not talking about an external accountability that uses shame to bludgeon outward conformity but the power of real, heart-driven connection as brothers who love each other and are committed to encouraging and lifting each other up in their battles.
But how do you find a few close friends to help you in your spiritual battles? You may not be able to find them. But you can forge them. You can build a bond of brotherhood with a few Christian men who will encourage you, love you, and stand with you in your spiritual battles. Our ministry specializes in helping men form such friendships, through our Got Your Back materials.
Click here for more information about Got Your Back
Click here to find out how Gary can inspire and assist the men of your church to forge brotherhood connects through the Becoming A Band of Brothers Seminar
Click here for a five minute YouTube interview with Gary about why the Grace Transformed Sexuality material is so effective.
Click here to a video link (on Vimeo) to our Effective Men's Ministry Tutorial, called, A Church Wide Strategy For Helping Men In Their Battle With Lust