Is there hope for a teenage guy who struggles with lust and masturbation to be able to stop sinning and be free of the guilt and temptations?
I am a teenage guy who wants to follow Christ but I struggle with lust and masturbation and I’m also attracted to men and have visited male internet sites. Is there hope for me to be able to stop this sin and be free of the guilt and temptations?
Answered by Dave Bryant, EPM Volunteer
Thank you for sharing honestly about your struggle as I know this can be a difficult thing to do. Wow, the Lord hears your heart cry out and He is pleased with your desire to be faithful to Him. One thing I know about the struggle with lust is that the more you feed it, the more it will desire to be fed and the more it will consume you. That is why it is vital that you cut out anything in your life that is a point of temptation. Yes, this could even include eliminating internet access (or your computer altogether) and if you have access to inappropriate shows on television then that also must be cut out. An example for me is that when I travel on business I do not turn on the television in my hotel room in order to avoid temptation. This is in line with the Apostle Paul’s admonition to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:22) “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Flee has a strong connotation of running intentionally and with purpose away from temptation and towards something much better.
Another thing to consider regarding the internet is the prevalence of predators that seek victims to abuse. Simply put, this is not a safe place for you to be given your struggle. I would suggest that you read the book Every Young Man’s Battle as it will help you better understand the little things that you must do to avoid temptation. This includes looking away (from images all around you during the day), taking your thoughts captive (not continuing to lust), and filling your mind with thoughts that are pure rather than impure. This is not an easy battle but you can have victory.
You also need to know that Christ is with you in this journey, just has He has walked alongside Christians for generations. He has a deep love for you, a love that led Him to give Himself willingly as a sacrifice in your place. In his letter to the Galatians (Galatians 2:20), Paul states “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” None of us have the power in and of ourselves to abstain from sin, it is Christ living in us that gives us that ability. No matter how frustrated you get, please never forget the depth of Christ’s love for you. Romans 5 and 6 are great sources of inspiration for me. Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Don’t ever think that you need to be “perfect” before God can love you, as Jesus has already done that work for you (all of us).
Regarding accountability, my strong recommendation is that you find some mature male believers in your area that you can meet with on a regular basis. Given the nature of your struggle, you may not feel safe sharing this with young men your age. I can understand this, and would recommend that you contact a pastor or youth pastor at a strong local church. You may also want to check out the website for Exodus International (http://www.exodus-international.org/), as they have resources specifically for young people and can help you make connections in your area.