Dear readers, the following article is for mature adult audiences. It discusses recent comments by Miley Cyrus that deserve a biblical response. Please carefully consider the intended audience when you read this article.
Miley Cyrus made headlines recently for encouraging daily masturbation. While it’s disgraceful that this is what makes the news in our culture, the Bible doesn’t shy away from addressing the scope of human sexuality; it does so in a way that is frank but chaste.
Before discussing the issue, I’d like to say this: when I look at Miley, I see a fractured individual, ensnared, and not at peace. I also see a call on her life. To that end, I declare God’s freedom and grace over her.
Miley’s statement is worth examining in the light of Scripture because it is an issue with which many Christians struggle. Some say that there’s no harm in masturbation. Some think that the Bible doesn’t talk about it and so it must be all right.
Scripture does, however, say this: “When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body with water. He will be unclean until evening.” (Leviticus 15:16). Likewise, Deuteronomy 23:9-11 says, “When you go out as an army against your enemies, you shall keep yourself from every evil thing. If there is among you any man who is unclean because of a nocturnal emission, then he must go outside the camp; he may not reenter the camp. But it shall be when evening approaches, he shall bathe himself with water, and at sundown he may reenter the camp.”
It is clear from these passages that even unintentional self-gratification was considered impure under the Law.
Epheisans 5:3 says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Colossians 3:5 says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”
The lust and impure thoughts which inevitably accompany masturbation are a defilement to God’s holy temple. I’ve heard many teens tearfully confess being in the grip of this sin, and how it made them feel dirty and unworthy, interfering with their relationship with God and inducing self-loathing.
Another component of masturbation is its addictive nature. Instead of relieving lust, it fuels it. Anytime an addiction is in place, there is often a demonic element there as well. The late Bible teacher, Derek Prince, recounts administering deliverance to several individuals over the span of his ministry who had demons that had entered by way of masturbation.
The world says to gratify every whim. Christ says to deny yourself and pick up your cross and follow Him.
If you are struggling with lust and impure thoughts, freedom is available through repentance. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).
Commit your body, mind, and spirit to the Lord.
Ask Him to help you supernaturally overcome sexual sin.
Fill your mind with Scripture daily, especially some go-to verses that encourage you for victory. When I was wrestling with lust and impure thoughts, I meditated on Matthew 5:8, which says “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” When temptation came, in my mind rallied the thought, “I want to see God.”
What difference do you see between what the world says is normal sexual behavior and what Scripture says? If you struggle with lust, what verses will strengthen and renew your mind?