Chapter 8


  Libido (Sexual Drive)  
  Temperance (Self-Control)  
  Parents Instructed to Teach Children Well  
  Masturbation (Causation and Cultural Influence)  
  Instruction for Self-Control (Scriptural Principles)  
  Biblical Usage of Lust (Over-Desire)  

To begin, we need to understand the term before we understand the concept.  The term masturbation comes from the Latin masturbatus, a past participle of masturbari, which means literally to stir up or disturb with the hand.  This Chapter is using the term masturbation as it pertains to the concept of manipulating one's own genitals for sexual gratification.  We do not speak of the manipulation of another's genitals for their sexual gratification as is often included in the modern usage of masturbation.  This secondary usage uses the term as it relates to a sexual relationship.  A relationship, by definition, involves the participation or connection with another person.  All is "individual" in this Chapter so in order to clarify this point, we use the term "self-stimulation" when we speak of masturbation.

Self-stimulation is a subject that is not addressed in the Bible.  Masturbation is NOT a scriptural topic and cannot be addressed as such.  Many suppose that it is immoral (e.g., masturbation is lust) but, that argument is based on a faulty premise.  There are other aspects in life that the Scriptures do address that can indirectly help us better understand how to deal with the subject.  There is no medical documentation to support the idea that masturbation, in its basic form, causes physical harm.

- Libido (Sexual Drive) -

Two concepts should be understood to help us better comprehend the subject of masturbation.  They are libido (sexual drive) and self-control (self-discipline).  Both are scriptural issues that must be addressed.

The sexual drive, as a biological component, is manifested through one's behavior and has existed since man himself (Gen 2:7).  It is the inherent compelling force within man that brings him to the point of engaging in sexual activity.  The libido becomes evident around the time of puberty because of hormonal changes.  There is a demonstration of the libido's effect in scripture.

Song of Solomon 7:10  I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.

The word "desire" is the Hebrew teshuvqah and means to long for or crave.  It is also used in Gen. 3:16 and speaks of the wife's longing or desire toward her husband.  The Hebrew root word from which teshuvqah is derived means to overflow (as water).  When puberty arrives, there begins to appear a longing or overflowing of feeling and desire for the opposite sex.  Indeed, the LXX is suggestive in its use of the corresponding Greek word, epistrophe.  This Greek word means to turn toward or turn about; to change one's way or direction.  Puberty is a wonderful demonstration of the usage of this word pertaining to sexual desire.  When boys are children, they like to play with and spend time with their likeness, boys.  The same is also true with girls.  In principle, the opposite sex, prior to puberty, is repugnant and undesirable.  However, when puberty comes and the libido awakens, the opposite sex becomes interesting and desirable.  The opposite sex produces feelings and desires that heretofore, were unknown.  There is a turning about or a change in one's way as indicated by the usage of the Greek here.  Dawdling with the same sex gives way to dating the opposite one.  The libido has both its time and its purpose.

The principle consequence of the libido can be seen in scripture.  In Gen 4:1, "Adam knew" his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain.  In other words, Adam and Eve had sexual intercourse.

- Temperance (Self-Control) -

The English word temperance is derived from the Latin temperantia meaning moderation.  It is a present participle form of the English temper (Latin temperare, to regulate or observe proper measure).  To regulate or observe a proper measure requires a conscious act of a person's will.  Temperance in its effect is self-restraint of conduct or appetites.

In its biblical usage, the Greek words for temperance are:

enkrateia enkrates enkrateuomai

Acts 24:25 "temperance"
Gal 5:23 "temperance"
II Pet 1:6 "temperance" (twice)
Titus 1:8 "temperate"

I Cor 7:9 "contain"
I Cor 9:25 "temperate "

Biblically, temperance connotes exercising mastery or dominion over one's impulses and drives.  It is the act of possessing or exercising self-control and self-discipline.

I Cor 9:25  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate [Gk. enkrateuomai] in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible

The comparison here is of an athlete training to run a race.  The preparation may have involved six to eight months or more of rigorous training.  It required him to exercise self-control or discipline, as in eating wholesome foods and abstaining from wine, sex and other activities.  The athlete disciplined himself with a view toward winning the race.  Self-discipline was the one element that could determine his success.

I Cor 9:24, 27  Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run, that ye may obtain.  (27) But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway [that I myself should fail to receive the prize].

The converse of temperance (self-control) is intemperance (lack of self-control).  The exhibition of intemperance involves the lack of regulating the conduct or appetite through a conscious decision.  Regardless of the impetus, intemperance still requires the lack of self-restraint.  The idea of intemperance (incontinence) is developed in I Cor 7.

I Cor 7:5  Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer: and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency [incontinence--akrasia: lack of power or command over one's libido].

I Cor 7:9  But if they cannot contain [continence--enkrateuomai: if they have not self-control or discipline with regard to their libido], let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Exercising self-control over the libido is an asset that is difficult to master.  Because of the difficulties encountered in sexual self-restraint, the necessary cautions are given in scripture.  This is especially true regarding the usage and application of discretion.

All sexual activity is governed by the mind of the individual.  It requires an act of the will to participate in masturbation or other sexual activities.  The challenge stems from the process of controlling the libido and not allowing it to control you.  It is the exercise of temperance that takes the libido out of the master's chair and places it in the servant's domain.

It is the awakening of the libido at puberty that catches most off guard.  The desire for sex is one of the strongest natural biological impulses that most will face in their lifetime.  Consequently, one must be prepared to face such impulses with the exercise of temperance.  We use the word "exercise" for that is an apt description of temperance.  No rational athletes would ever think about entering an athletic competition to win without physically conditioning themselves BEFORE they enter the contest.  That which holds true for physical stamina also holds true for mental stamina.

Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Heb 5:14  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age [mature], even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

I Pet 3:14-16  But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;  (15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  (16) Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

When would such "exercise" begin for a young adult?  When they enter puberty?  Certainly not!  At that point, it is too late in the game.  They have to prepare and be instilled with some concept of self-control PRIOR to needing it.  To put it another way, once the house is on fire, you don't decide at that point it would be a good idea to go shop for a fire extinguisher.  Preparation is the key to success.

Josh 1:11  Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals [food]; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.

The LORD did not tell them the day they were to pass over the Jordan to grab their things and go.  Rather, HE said, "Prepare" NOW for IN THREE DAYS you will pass over.  The Hebrew word for "prepare" is kuwn and refers to that which is stable, established or fixed.  A child's way is fixed or established through discipline.

Prov 20:11  A youth when in company with a godly man, will be restrained in his devices, and then his way will be straight. (LXX version)

Prov 22:15  Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Prov 23:13  Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

The heart must be prepared or made ready for "out of it are the issues of life" (Prov 4:23).

I Sam 7:3  And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.

A heart that is prepared is one that can serve.

II Chron 8:16  Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD, and until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was perfected.

When the preparation is made, the house can be built.  Not unlike a child; preparation is made so that the child can become a responsible adult.  Lousy preparation produces a lousy house.  It is no different with a child.

II Chron 29:36  And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people: for the thing was done suddenly.

You do not know at what point the preparation will pay off.  However, with such preparation, you can't be caught off guard.

II Chron 35:6  So kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

Preparation is done in order to DO "according to the word of the LORD."

Ex 16:5  And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.

In order to have food for the seventh day, they had to prepare for it on the sixth.

Matt 24:44  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

The Greek word for "ready" is hetoimos and is derived from the noun heteos meaning fitness.  In English, we use the term fitness for someone who is fit or suitable for the task at hand.  One who is ready is one who is prepared and fit for the challenge.  With respect to the libido, you have to be prepared.  For in the hour it awakens, you may not be able to handle it.  Puberty doesn't announce it is going to come and then shows up 6 months later.  Any woman can confirm this fact with her first menstrual period.  The secondary sexual characteristics are an indication of becoming an adult physically, but all one can say is it happens within a particular age range (not predict the actual day or hour with any degree of certainty).

Matt 25:10  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

The ones upon whom "the door was shut" were those who were not ready or prepared.  This is an example of consequence following a lack of preparedness.

In summary, exercising self-control over one's libido directly relates to masturbation and other sexual activities.  With the awakening of the libido at puberty, a person must learn to exercise self-control over his or her libido if he or she is going to avoid masturbation or sexual intercourse.  This applies not only to young boys and girls at puberty but, also to all single adults (young and old) and married couples (see I Cor 7:5).

- Parents Instructed to Teach Children Well -

Is it realistic to expect young adults who are still young in the world of experience to so control their libido's that they don't masturbate?  Self-control comes with time and experience.  Parents need to teach their children, as custodians, how to learn self-control.

Prov 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

The importance of this "training" cannot be overemphasized.  The word "train" means to begin or initiate.  The first part of this vs is more precisely rendered, "Dedicate a child at the mouth or opening of his journey."  The starting point of any child's journey is the crib.  You are initiating a newborn on a journey that can either meet with success or failure.  This is not the realm of finance or business.  Rather, it is the realm of morals and ethics; the path of wisdom and prudence.  It is necessary to note that there is a big difference between telling a child what to do and training a child what to become.  The difference lies in the outcome.  Newborns who become children are not preprogrammed.

Prov 29:15  The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

The only outcome for a child who does not receive the necessary instruction and discipline is "shame."

Isa 7:16  For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

There is a time when a child does not know to "refuse the evil" and "choose the good."  The development of the conscience and the concept of right and wrong are shaped by parental involvement.  The concept of parenthood does not stop at the cradle.  Parents are custodians.  They are responsible for the psychological development of the child.  That plays a vital role in what the child becomes.

Deut 6:7  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Isa 38:19  The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.

Heb 12:7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  (8) But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Training, teaching, chastening and discipline indicate the degree of activity and participation parents play in the role of the child.

Prov 23:13  Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.  (14) Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Prov 19:18  Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

These vss, "withhold not correction… shall deliver his soul from hell" and "chasten… while there is hope" indicate that there is an end in view and a time limit to its institution and effectiveness.  The most influential years of a child are the first seven.  After this point, the conscience of the child is pretty well set and their heart fairly well determined.

The most important aspect of the child's development we are concerned with regarding self-stimulation is temperance or self-control.  This is determined by the mind, will and conscience of the child.  We define the mind as being the arena of education (teaching the child scriptural principles).  The will is determined by obedience and the child's recognition of authority.  The conscience is the realm of morality and determining right and wrong.  Discipline touches on all three areas.  Discipline is the direction of the parent's will upon the child.  Unfortunately, in many homes it is the other way around.

As newborn children develop, they begin to realize that they are separate from the world around them; that they are independent from the world around them.  They instinctively use crying to summon one to meet their needs (e.g., food, affection, etc.).  As they continue to grow, they begin to develop their emotions more fully.  They discover that they have wishes and desires of their own and they begin to inflict these upon those around them.  Because of their egocentric nature, they believe that they should always get what they want.  They don't distinguish between necessities and their own desires.  In a simplistic manner, they realize that the same behavior that got one to meet their needs could also be used to get the same to fulfill their desires.  Consequently, they begin a masterful game of manipulation through crying.  When the crying ceases to work, they move on to temper tantrums, acting out and other types of uncontrolled behavior to which any parent could relate.  All these are attempts at control.  Unfortunately, when parents give into these types of behavior, they reinforce in the child's mind that the child can usually get what they want.  Momentary satisfaction for the child may bring a temporary peace of mind to the parents but the latter end of such behavior for the child will be dismal when it comes to self-control.

Ps 119:5, 6  O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!  (6) Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

The word "ways" is the same Hebrew word derek used in Prov 22:6 and means journey or road.  The word "directed" is the same Hebrew word kuwn used earlier in this Chapter for ready or prepared.  Indeed, the same might be said of any child who became an adult and did not receive the necessary discipline, "then shall I be ashamed" instead of "then shall I NOT be ashamed".

An example of how the LORD instituted discipline into the children of Israel will help in illustrating our point.

Deut 8:2, 3, 16  And thou shalt remember all the way [Hebrew derek; journey, road, path] which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.  (3) And he humbled thee, and suffered [allowed] thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.  (16)…to do thee good at thy latter end;

In leading the children of Israel through the wilderness, the LORD allowed them to hunger.  The word "hunger" does not carry the ordinary meaning we think of when one says they are hungry.  That hunger is a stimulation of the appetite and not the type of hunger that would result from starvation or a famine.  The difference lies in hours versus days.  The children of Israel would have gone days without eating.  They were eventually fed but GOD allowed them to hunger to teach them a greater reality; to teach them their utter dependence upon HIM.  Most people whine or murmur today if they miss a meal.

Deut 8:5, 6  Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.  (6) Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.

The "chastening" is discipline.  Its goal was keeping HIS commandments, walking in HIS ways and fearing HIM.

Deut 8:7-9  For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;  (8) A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;  (9) A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.

Did they get to this "good land" immediately?  No!

Jer 2:5-6  Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?  (6) Neither said they, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?

Deut 8:15  Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water;…

It a land of deserts, pits, drought, dearth, serpents, scorpions and uninhabited BEFORE springs, wheat, figs, olives, bread of plenty and multiple resources.  Many would call this neglectful and uncaring.  GOD calls it right.

Ps 107:7  And he led them forth by the right way,…

The right way is not always the easiest or most pleasant but it is right.

Ex 15:22-25  So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.  (23) And when they came to Mirah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.  (24) And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?  (25) And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,

On the surface, it looked as if the children of Israel were not being provided for.  Rather than just moving on and committing all to the LORD's good care and keeping, they murmured and complained.  If they would have only exercised patience, they would have had what they needed.

Numbers 33:8-9  And they departed from before Pihahiroth, and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days' journey in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah.  (9) And they removed from Marah, and came unto Elim: and in Elim were twelve fountains of water, and threescore and ten palm trees; and they pitched there.

Elim was right over the next hill so to speak.  GOD had already provided for them.  They needed to be patient and trust the LORD.  Their experiences provided opportunities for discipline.

Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

There experience of discipline itself may be "grievous" but AFTERWARD it yields its fruit.  However, the fruit is only for those who are exercised through the discipline; who learn and grow from the experience.

Eph 6:4  And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

"Nurture" is the positive side; "admonition" is the negative.  Both are necessary for the training of children.  When helping a child to develop self-control, it might behoove a parent not to give into the child's wishes so hastily.  To constantly give into the desires of children does not prepare them to be disciplined adults.  If you feel the child desires that which you do not want them to have or do, be steadfast in your stand.  Take the opportunity to instruct the child in scriptural principles.  If you want to grant the child their desire, take time in doing it.  Continue to reassure the child that your word can be trusted and that you will do it but let them wait.  The child has to learn not to cave or give into every desire.  As they learn patience and endurance, they will be exercised in the concept of self-control and better equipped to deal with sexual temptation.

- Masturbation (Causation and Cultural Influence) -

Masturbation is the epitome of sexual self-gratification.  It is an application of the sexual drive or libido.  There are several applications of the sexual drive (masturbation, fornication, marital relationships, etc.).  The sexual drive itself is AMORAL.  Although lust related to masturbation is immoral, there is no indication that the masturbation itself is moral or immoral.  There is no indication from the Scriptures that masturbation is good or evil.  We do know, however, that fornication is a wrong application of one's sexual drive and is sin (I Cor 6:18).  The Scriptures give a solution for a single individual to avoid fornication, and that is marriage (I Cor 7:1-3).  The Scriptures do not provide a direct solution to avoid masturbation.  They do however address many aspects that tend to excite or inflame the libido that encourages masturbation.

Pornography (porne - fornication; graphos - writing) originally meant writing about prostitutes.  Today, pornography is not limited to that media, but applies to all media designed to stimulate the libido.  Pornography is poorly restricted to the adult population.  It is extremely easy for children and young teens to acquire, read or view such material.  It is quite apparent the profound influence such material would have on one's libido.  With the growing popularity of sexually explicit videotapes, adult bookstores, movies (made for TV or otherwise) with nudity and strong sexual content together with the heightened interest by young teens in their sexuality, it is no wonder why sexual activity and masturbation are commonly encountered.

Certain types of clothing, or the lack of it, have led to the direct stimulation of libidos in young and old alike.  It is true that the human body is fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14), but beholding the wonder is to take place within the proper context of marriage.  The travesty of truth is the attitudes prevalent today about dress.  People think that we no longer live under a sexually oppressive Victorian age and therefore are liberated to do as we please.  In truth, it is all part of the lie as found in scripture.  They think that to be liberated is to be open-minded and such is a society in progress.  The scriptures identify this attitude as folly.  In our society, we are so encompassed by sex that it is no wonder this is all young adults think about.  Dress and lifestyle play huge roles in encouraging sexual activity and masturbation.

The two biblical concepts of prudence and discretion directly related to dress or appearance and lifestyle.  Prudence is derived from the Latin prudentia which meant one with foresight, astute, shrewd or discreet.  A prudent person is one who exercises sound judgment in daily activities.  Discretion is derived from the Latin discretionem and means to separate or distinguish.  The separating or distinguishing has to do with making the right decisions or choices.

Prov 22:3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished [pay the penalty].

A prudent person understands cause-and-effect relationships.  They possess the foresight to understand that certain actions produce certain results.  We might think that all possess this "prudence" but this is not so.  The opposite of the prudent are the simple.  The word simple that we are concerned with is the Hebrew pethiy and means foolish, naive, or open-minded.

Prov 14:15  A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps. [NIV]

This open-mindedness or naivety begins in the cradle.  This can only be abolished through scriptural instruction and discipline.  It is the simple who are open to every conceivable enticement.

Prov 7:7, 22, 23  And beheld among the simple [Hebrew pethiy] ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,…  (22) He [the young man] goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;  (23) Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.

Here is a good example of an open-minded youth.  Without scriptural education and discipline, the only outcome for any youth is dismal.

Prov 12:15  The way of a fool [Gk. aphron; simple] is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

It is the simple or naive who think they are right and everyone else is wrong.  This however is not wisdom.

Prov 14:16  A wise man fears, and departs from evil; but the fool [Gk. aphron; simple] trusts in himself, and joins himself with the transgressor. [LXX]

The open-minded place their trust in themselves.  They think they know what is right and wrong but are open to all sorts of inducements.

Eccl 5:1  Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools [Gk. aphron; simple]: for they consider not that they do evil.

The simple "consider not that they do evil."  This is akin to their being right in their own eyes.  No thought is given to the fact that they may be doing wrong.
This is the complete opposite of prudence.

Eccl 10:3  Yea also, when he that is a fool [Gk. aphron; simple] walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.

This is the final result of the naive or open-minded.  Their wisdom will fail.  Their path will end in disappointment and misery.  Moments will come when they need to rely on scriptural instruction and godly principle and they will not have it.  It is like an ankle out of joint right when you need to run.  The fruit of their actions will display their folly ("he saith to every one that he is a fool").  There will be no question that they were bound up in foolishness for the effect is produced by its cause; the fruit makes known the root.

Prov 13:16  Every prudent man acts with knowledge: but the fool displays his own mischief. [LXX]

Returning to prudence, we see a prudent person thinks carefully about their decisions.  They consider all of the angles that pertain to the issues at hand.  The "acts" are accompanied with "knowledge."  In other words, a prudent person does not act without contemplating what their actions will do or produce.

Prov 14:8  The wisdom of the prudent will understand [Hebrew biyn; consider, discern, observe] their ways [Hebrew derek; journey, path]; but the folly of fools leads astray.[LXX]

Prudence involves contemplation of the path you are taking; in what direction your actions are leading.  The same could be said of discretion, which is to separate or distinguish what words or actions might be damaging versus those that are insightful, right and honorable.

Ps 112:5, 6  A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide [measure, calculate] his affairs with discretion.  (6) Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.

Discretion gives thought to and innovatively plans to implement that which is good and just.

Prov 14:7  All things are adverse to a foolish man; but wise lips are the weapons [tools, instruments] of discretion. [LXX]

Prov 15:7  The lips of the wise are bound by discretion: but the hearts of the foolish are not safe.[LXX]

Even in the things we say discretion should be evident.  Discretion should mark the boundaries for ethical and moral behavior.

Prov 2:10-12  When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;  (11) Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:  (12) To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;

Prov 3:19-24  The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.  (20) By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.  (21) My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:  (22) So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.  (23) Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.  (24) When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

Discretion preserves and delivers.  It enables one to conduct their life in a secure and healthy manner without stumbling and anxiety.  This is significant because behavior without discretion, although momentary in time, may yield a lifetime of sorrow.

Prov 27:12  A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple [Hebrew pethiy; naive, foolish] pass on, and are punished [experience retribution or penalty].

Discretion yields its own reward to them who are exercised thereby.

Prov 24:4  By discretion the chambers are filled with all precious and excellent wealth.[LXX]

Discretion as we have quoted from the Septuagint (LXX) is the Greek word aisthesis.  Its usage in Proverbs relinquishes it to the realm of morality.  It involves distinguishing between moral and immoral behavior and making a decision accordingly.

Prov 10:14  The wise will hide discretion [Gk. aesthesis]; but the mouth of the hasty [Gk. propetes] draws near to ruin.[LXX]

The word "hasty" means reckless or thoughtless.  The difference between the two stems from the thought given to the activity.  Behavior is neither harmless or without repercussions.  Discretion can only yield its fruit when one acts responsibly and thoughtfully.

Now at length, having built an understanding of prudence and discretion, we can begin to see the wisdom in its application to masturbation.  For example, for a young woman to be discreet, she must give time and thought to cause and effect relationships.  If she chooses to wear clothing that does not sexually excite young men, she is discreet.  However, if she wears revealing clothing, she will induce sexual excitement in those young men who see her.  Consequently, she is indiscreet for she exhibits carelessness regarding the cause and effect relationship that exists between exposing one's sexuality and exciting the libido.  In other words, she is more preoccupied with looking "hot" or "hip" and wearing it (or less as the case may be) regardless of the effect it produces on the libido of young men.

Prov 14:6  Thou shalt seek wisdom with bad men, and shalt not find it; but discretion is easily available with the prudent.[LXX]

Culturally, young women are driven to exhibitionism.  It is interesting to note that the complete opposite occurs in the animal kingdom.  For animals, it is the male that works to attract the female.  It is the female that looks rather "plain" compared to the male.  How is it that with human beings, it seems to work just the opposite?  Our generalizations are not without their merit.  Women do things to deliberately attract and sexually excite men.  Contrastingly, in the animal kingdom, males compete for the affection of the female.  The principle operating in the minds of many women is that of competition and not prudence.  Women use sex appeal as a tool to obtain what they desire.  Girls learn to mimic this behavior at a very early age by observing the examples set by the adult women and the culture surrounding them.  Women decide what they want and use what they have to obtain it.  Men may operate along the same lines and mimic the animal kingdom in their attempt to attract women and the same principles would apply.  However, our culture promotes predominately female sexual appeal.  This behavior only serves to excite the libido and encourage masturbation.

Prov 11:22  As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair [beautiful] woman which is without discretion.

The word "discretion" here is the Hebrew ta'am and means to perceive as a flavor; to taste, as one would do when eating.

Ex 16:31  And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste [Hebrew ta'am] of it was like wafers made with honey.

Returning to Prov, we are not talking about tasting food, but life experiences.  We will draw a comparison so as to illustrate the truth more clearly.  In order for a newborn to grow, it must be fed.  When introducing solid food to a baby, the food goes into the mouth and is tasted.  As the baby is fed certain types of food, it will develop a "taste" for it.  Through exposure, the child will decide what tastes "good" and what "tastes" bad.  The same can be said when one encounters rotten or spoiled food; it tastes bad so you don't eat it.  The same is true regarding actions and behavior.  As a child grows, it is taught by its parents what are "good" and "bad" actions.  Through the process of time, the child begins to perceive the flavor of such experiences.  The job of any parent is to help the child recognize these different "flavors" (good or bad) so that they can respond appropriately.  They need to learn to perceive that which is good and morally right when exposed to circumstances and situations.  Let's look at an example.  A young woman decides to purchase a bathing suit.  Her perceptions may or may not be guided by discretion.  If she is not discreet, she will not perceive a revealing bathing suit as being "bad."  If she was not taught that revealing clothing is unacceptable so that it "tastes" bad to her, she will look for it like a tasty meal.  If she is discreet, she will recognize the flavor as being bad and will pick one that is befitting; she will pass by the one that is too revealing.  If the world teaches a child that a particular experience tastes good, even though it is morally reprehensible, and the parents do not correct that type of thinking, that child will partake and think it is acceptable.  Children and teenagers will never understand a parent's horrific reaction to immoral behavior.  They do not appreciate the parents' position for the child believes their behavior to taste good.  Their friends and the world at large reinforce this.  We will not multiply examples here as we believe conclusions regarding other aspects can easily be drawn from our example.

The same things that apply to dress can equally apply to lifestyle.  A free and open lifestyle is one not ruled by discretion and prudence.  To do as one pleases without giving thought to how that behavior will affect others is reckless.  Such lack of discipline leads young and old alike to sexually flaunt their bodies.

To date, sexual exploitation is the paradigm for our society.  This is evident through types of clothing, precocious behavior, lewd conduct, and open-minded lifestyles and this is further supported by magazines, television, movies and supposed role models.  The truth of Prov 11:22 resonates so loudly today.  So sad is it to see beautiful young women mindlessly exploiting themselves and all the while mystified as to why men are always trying to sexually take advantage of them.  Some may even welcome sexual advances in an attempt to affirm their sexuality.  While you can't change nature, you can certainly change behavior.  A beautiful woman with thoughtless behavior will only be used, abused and eventually filled with emotional pain or lose physical health.  So many have taken the path of indiscretion and imprudence and suffered the consequences with its sorrow.  If people of all ages would only act prudently and responsibly with respect to others, sexual excitation would not be so easily incited.  Consequently, the libido would be much easier to contain for single people who do not, as yet, have an opportunity to marry.

- Instruction for Self-Control (Scriptural Principles) -

A comparison between the Eastern biblical culture and our culture today reveal differences that yield some insight into sexual exploitation and its relationship to masturbation.  The following is a comparison between what constitutes a society based on GODly principles and our society today.

GODly Society Society Today

No relationships with pagan nations
(no exposure to ungodly sexual mores)

No social prostitution

Nakedness shamed (Gen 3:7ff)

No association with pornography

Adequate clothing and modest apparel

Children raised with an extensive
scriptural knowledge and taught
GODly principles (Deut 4:10)
Open relationships with ungodly nations
(exposure to their sexual mores)

Prostitution legal in some areas

Nakedness condoned in some
situations (nudism)

Pornography accepted

Scant clothing and immodest apparel
(sexy, provocative, revealing dress)

Lack of extensive scriptural
knowledge and instruction in
GODly principles during childhood

If our culture exhibited the wisdom that forms a GODly society, its application would markedly decrease sexual temptation.  Modesty has become less respected or desirable and has been replaced with immodesty and sexual appeal.  The moral decay in our society is a consequence of our failure to utilize GODly principles.  Unfortunately, our society exhibits that lack of response to wisdom's call as demonstrated in Proverbs.

Prov 1:24-29  Because I [wisdom] have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;  (25) But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:  (26) I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;  (27) When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.  (28) Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:  (29) For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:

- Biblical Usage of Lust (Over-Desire) -

The word lust is an Old English word meaning pleasure, appetite or delight (Webster's New World Dictionary).  In its origin, it was a physical desire or appetite.  Only with time did it take on a sexual connotation and negative meaning of over desire.  Does masturbation occur because of lust or is it a lustful behavior?  In order to answer the question, an examination of lust as it occurs in scripture is warranted.

Biblically, "lust" and "desire," are the Greek words epithumia and epitheumeo and are derived from the Greek words epi (upon) and thumoo (passion).  These words mean a longing or yearning for; to set one's heart upon and crave.  The biblical usage of lust is a strong mental passion placed upon someone or something.  It is used of both good and bad desires.  This is important because the term has evolved into our language as something that is ALL bad.

Matt 13:17  For verily I [Jesus] say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired [Gk. epitheumeo] to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

In Matthew, we have an example of a strong passion (in a good or positive sense) from the minds of many prophets to see and hear the Messiah.  In contrast, the following vs illustrates the negative aspect of lust.

I Pet 4:3  For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts [Gk. epithumia], excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

Within the Scriptures, lust is often used concerning sexual activity, but that does not imply that the libido, or sex drive itself, is an evil desire or something bad (consider Gen 1:27-31; 2:22-25; 3:16; 4:1; Song of Solomon 7:10).  The sexual drive, inherent within man, serves a GODly purpose as GOD designed.  It is not the libido itself that causes one to sin, but the objects that a man desires or lusts after.  The libido can be used for corrupt purposes as it becomes the servant of the one who possesses it.  The manner in which an individual handles his or her sexual drive determines its morality.  Masturbation, for most, is a means to an end.  It is an action that is utilized as a means to cope with sexual urges.  It could be that the impetus for self-stimulation no longer serves as just the exciting cause.  In other words, the physical pleasure obtained through masturbation may become the motivation rather than just an expression of the libido.  At this juncture, you could define it as sexual lust.  It is possible for sexual lust to be expressed through masturbation or various types of sexual relationships.

- Conclusion -

An important point to note in relation to the purpose of marriage is that it is better to marry than fornicate or masturbate.  Therefore, one can only conclude that the best option in relation to the sexual drive that cannot be contained is to marry!  Some speak of being liberated today (contrast Gal 5:1,13), yet they only lay traps and snares for others by the abuse of this idea of liberty.  An over-desire for sexual pleasure within a marital situation can cause one to abuse the sexual liberty granted therein.  We do not always live up to the ideal, and GOD's true intention will not always be realized although we strive for such.  Even so, as we seek HIS love and forgiveness, GOD will hold us up.

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