2006-07-19 - Summer Questions
#8 2006 ~ Questions on Sex
Parental Notification: Tonight's devotional speaks to a topics that we know, from subscriber's questions, are relevant to a good number of readers. Also because of their prevalence in our society, we at cfdevotionals / webservants ministries feel strongly that they are topics that cry out for Biblical treatment. However, some of the content will not be suitable for children. The topics are oral sex and masturbation. As such, we wanted to warn parents and guardians, so that you can make a appropriate decisions concerning the possibility of youth reading the devotional.
Psalm 139:2, 3, "Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar. Thou does scrutinize my path and my lying down, and art intimately acquainted with all my ways."
I am going to lump two questions together today. One from somewhere in America and one from somewhere else. I rarely rewrite the questions, but I have done so today and I am only reproducing the question on masturbation here. The question respecting oral sex I have not reproduced. Questions of this nature are the second most common to come in for the summer questions. Will of God questions come in a little more frequently, but between the two of them, they make up at least half the questions that get submitted for the summer questions. Please forgive me for going a little longer today than usual, but based on how many write in questions of this nature, I think it is justified. Here are the questions:
"What faith are you? How would you deal with the disabled concerning marriage and sex masturbation in this world today. I am single and live with my parents. I am a adult and have adult feelings. If I marry legally I will loose my benefits. I am a Christian. I am 40 years old."
So as it stands we are going to look into the two topics of oral sex and masturbation. I do understand that however this is handled I will be viewed as a prude by some, and by others as giving license to sin. Such is the nature of diving into a very personal and sensitive topic. Let me begin by saying that, at the start, I have in mind relations between those who are not married, and this is where most of these questions are based. In both cases I would like to set the tone by laying down a seemingly irreverent question. What would Jesus do? This is a helpful question to ask ourselves sometimes. As followers of Christ we as seeking to model Christ in our lives and practice, but also in our thoughts and in our heart. We commonly call this seeking to be Christlike. And Christlikeness is a part of our everyday walk as followers of Christ. As those who are trusting in His atonement for the forgiveness of our sins, we live a certain way.
It is not uncommon to think that Christ probably never had to deal with issues of a sexual or physical nature, but that is probably not true. He has, Hebrews 4:15, "...been tempted in all things as we, yet without sin." As I already said, it seems to be an irreverent train of thought to take this path, but let us be blunt here. What we know of Christ is that which is revealed to us in Scripture. Based upon that revelation can you see Christ masturbating or engaging in oral sex? Every thinking person would say "of course not," and much of that shock, of even the thought, of Christ going down such a path would center upon it being wrong for Him to do so. We can make a larger generalization here and conclude that if it would be wrong for Christ, it is wrong for us also.
Respecting masturbation, it seems that this opens a door into an area that someone who is outside the structure of marriage can't enter. The common argument is that, "I have needs, and masturbating allows me to meet those needs without sin." This may be true, and I, as I have when we have dealt with this topic before, think it really is up to the individual. However, there are some important things to consider. It may be that masturbation can quell the "felt needs" for a time in a way that doesn't hurt anyone, but it also feeds those very needs. It is a giving in to our desires and certainly does not fit into the practice of mortifying the flesh. "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to lusts," Romans 13:14. In addition, I would ask about your thought life while you are masturbating. What are you thinking about during masturbation? Are you, 2 Corinthians 10:5, "...taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,"?
Respecting oral sex, I am going to be blunt again. It is sex. It is an aspect of the sexual relationship between two people. Scripture tells us that sexual intimacy is limited to the relationship that exists between a husband and wife. There are many who will say that they want to wait until marriage to have intercourse, and to make sure they don't go too far, they substitute oral sex, but abstain from intercourse. I struggle with a metaphor here, but I would liken that form of reasoning of purchasing a generic brand as a substitute because it is cheaper. Yes, oral sex is a substitute, of sorts, for intercourse, but it is still sex, and it is part of the intimacy that is to be reserved for marriage.
I would also make note of a helpful God-given guide in these matters. I would like to bring in our conscience. Conscience is not a perfect guide, but is often a good one in determining if we have violated God's standards on any issue. A good rule is that if you are wondering if something is right or wrong, or might be displeasing to God, then err on the side of caution. We are prone to be a lot more gracious to ourselves, our lusts, and our past than we should be. If you are wondering if something is right or wrong, wisdom would lean towards abstaining from the practice until you are sure it is right and pleasing in God's sight.
Lastly, what about if you have crossed the line and feel that you have acted unwisely in this area? If you are involved in a relationship where oral sex is practiced as a substitute for "real" sex, or if you struggle with the practice of masturbation, and if you feel uncomfortable afterwards, wondering if you have crossed that line into sin, then confess it to the Lord, and have an meaningful discussion with your partner about the issue and how you are uncomfortable with it, and change the behavior. There is a simple rule that if your girlfriend/boyfriend will not respect your standards and beliefs sexually, he/she is screaming, "I don't love you." He/she is saying, "I don't respect your views, I place my needs as more important than your needs, and I'm not a leader because I can't even control myself." This is not a good foundation for a relationship of significance. If you really believe these things are wrong you may have to walk away from the relationship. That is a painful solution, but it is better to have a clean conscience before the Lord than a seared conscience that doesn't even blink at sin, or a wounded/nagging conscience that can paralyze even the strongest of people.
I think we have covered the question of oral sex, but I will quickly sum it up. It is my opinion, and I want to make sure that I speak for myself only here, not for the staff or leaders of CFDevotionals, or for the Christian Church in general, that oral sex should not be practiced apart from the commitment of a marriage relationship. The second question is a little more involved. Your statement, "I am an adult and have adult feelings," is powerful. I suspect that because you are disabled, and I don't know what your disability is, that you feel like you may not find that someone to share intimacy with, but I don't want to read more into your question than is there. Again, as stated above, I think masturbation is really a matter that you have to come to terms with on your own. Does the practice drive you forward in your walk with Christ, or is it a feeling of two steps forward, three steps back? In other words, is it a feeling that I took care of my need, and thus I can move on, or is it, yes, I gratified my needs, but now I feel guilty about it? In addition I would suggest some of the writings of Joni Erickson Tada. She has a new book recently out, and you can learn more about her ministry at http://joniandfriends.org. She is disabled but has a thriving ministry to those who, like her, struggle with being disabled. She is, at least last I knew, happily married.
Sexual issues are not easy things to delve into for anyone. I know that many struggle with the guilt of past sexual practices and histories. I want to make it perfectly clear that there is no sin that is outside the realm of the over-arching forgiveness offered in Christ for sin. In spite of what you may have done in your past, and I am being all inclusive hereno exceptions, Christ has offered release from the guilt of your past. Paul and Silas answer the Philippian jailor who asked, "What must I do to be saved?", by replying, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved..." Acts 16:30, 31. You can be forgiven for your past, and you can live, by coming to faith in Christ or re-dedicating yourself to following Him, in newness of life.
Soli Deo Gloria,