“Was Jesus ever tempted sexually?”
This question was sheepishly and confidentially asked by a young man who took one of Christendom’s premier preachers aside at a conference. Ern Baxter—whose sermon “Thy Kingdom Come” is the best message I have heard in my 45 years as a Christian—often shared the story. He knew that as we age we easily forget the raging hormones and intense sexual struggles of earlier years.
“Young man, the Bible tells us Jesus in His humanity can ‘sympathize with our weaknesses as one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin’ ” (Heb. 4:15).
Hearing the answer, the young man breathed a sigh of relief, thanked Mr. Baxter and quietly exited the room.
When I was a young, single man someone gave me a tract with this title, “I Could Never Tell Anyone I Have a Problem With…” The cover depicted a dejected young man sitting with his head buried in his hand, staring at the ground, obviously in torment.
I thought it was significant that the title didn’t finish the sentence revealing the area of struggle. Solo sex is an uncomfortable topic that many people prefer to avoid.
In my library I have a more-than-500-page book by an internationally known Christian author on marriage and family life. The manual is a comprehensive reference book answering over 400 questions, yet to my knowledge there is not even one reference to the subject of this commentary.
I’m addressing it not to shock or be controversial or offend anyone but rather to help people wrestling with this challenging issue. Certainly our sex-saturated culture has a multitude of voices sharing their perspective. Doesn’t it make sense to have sound, scriptural counsel amid all the ungodly advice bombarding us from every corner?
What follows will seem foolish and preposterous to pop-culture adherents, yet to those desiring to please God and live pure, it brings peace, joy and freedom.
Ephesians 5:3 calls us “God’s holy people” and says “there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity … for it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret” (v12).
If you don’t think this really is much of a problem for scores of people in our society, I respectfully disagree. It’s probably an overstatement when people say, “95 percent of people do it and the other 5 percent are liars,” yet I’m persuaded multitudes are just not aware of the extent of this behavior and how it’s being aggressively promoted in society today. Here are some examples:
- Pornography and erotic literature like Fifty Shades of Grey (soon to be released as a movie) is rampant and fueling out-of-control sexual desires. This book alone has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide!
- Sex education classes and the World Health Organization encourage masturbation, plus abortion and homosexuality, to children and teens worldwide.
- Artists on YouTube and throughout the music industry gyrate while grabbing their crotches and celebrate pleasuring oneself: “U and Ur Hand” by Pink; “Touch of my Hand” by Britney Spears; “I Touch Myself” by the Divinyls.
- Conan O’Brian made a cultural icon out of the regularly featured “Masturbating Bear.”
- “Sex aid/toys” are now advertised on mainstream TV, in magazines and newspapers, and available for purchase at your corner drugstore.
- Life-sized “Love Dolls,” recreating the appearance and texture of human females and males, are advertised and pushed on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and were highlighted on CBS’s 2 Broke Girls and HBO’s Real Sex.
- Certain novelty stores in family malls now sell the “Masturbating Man” windup toy.
- “Christian” ministers seeking popularity and packed facilities proclaim, “Masturbation is actually a gift of God” (exact quote). Charlie Shedd in his best-selling book of advice for teens, The Stork is Dead, said masturbation is “the wise provision of a very wise Creator … He knew we’d need it!”
- Talk show hosts and so-called experts on sexuality espouse their advice everywhere in our culture. Celebrating premarital sex and masturbation, most of them refer to their guru Alfred Kinsey and his “landmark” studies on sexual behavior. What they don’t tell you is that historian James Jones in his biography of Kinsey stated the pseudo-researcher was “a closeted homosexual and masochist who was obsessed with sex and driven by his own sexual demons.”