Many of our worst habits begin from a good intention. One of my worst habits, overeating, began when I was a small child. I loved to eat, that pleased my Mom, who loved to cook, and it made me happy. But when I got older, in my rebellious teenage years, I added other habits that I thought at the time were harmless-drinking, smoking pot, partying. At the time, I was interested only in myself. I thought of God as my Creator but intended for Him to stay on the sidelines of my life while I did as I pleased. Surely whatever I did would be okay.
By the time I got to college, my once innocuous overeating for pleasure morphed into a full blown eating disorder. Now overeating had become an obsession. I controlled the beast as best I could with strict dieting, only for the old habits to creep out unnoticed, causing me to binge-eat disgustingly huge quantities of food and then purge. Over and over. I had developed bulimia and felt like I had no power to control it.
Through willpower, I forced myself to stop this destructive cycle after I got married and was pregnant with my first child. I had read enough to know the physical risks to myself and my child. Through the love God placed in my heart for my unborn child, I was able to stop the binge and purge cycle. But willpower only took me a short distance along the path to recovery. I still suffered from obsessive overeating. I constantly felt intense physical hunger, even after I had just eaten a large meal. I knew there was more going on than any diet plan could address.
It was not until I was much older that I began to learn about God’s deliverance plans through my church (New Life Church of God, Benton, IL; http://www.nlcg.org). You see, all addictions, including my addiction to overeating, stem from the most basic choices we make–choosing good or evil. We each know in our hearts what pleases God. We also know the opposite, what satisfies our rebellious nature and God’s enemy, the devil. Just as God is triune–Father, Son and Holy Spirit–we too are triune beings created in His image. We are body, soul, and spirit. To be entirely free from any true addiction, we must address it in all three aspects–body, soul and spirit. Otherwise, it will inevitably rear its ugly head, wreaking havoc again and again. Fighting that battle on only one or two fronts leaves us weak and exhausted.
Addictions often begin from a good, completely innocent desire, but can be and too often are warped by the enemy. I now realize that the eating disorder that plagued me was not only a physical and emotional problem but also a spiritual problem. The need to eat to nourish my body and the God-given pleasure of enjoying good-tasting food with my loved ones was perverted into an eating disorder because I allowed the devil into my life. For me, this happened in a physical way when I chose to ingest marijuana. I knew my choice was wrong, not only because it was illegal but more so, my conscience knew it was wrong to seek oblivion instead of joy. But I wanted to go my own way without listening to anyone, God or parents, who I thought might cramp my style. God created this world to give us that free will, to choose what we know in our hearts pleases Him, or to choose what we also know in our hearts displeases Him because it honors the devil.
Physically, the eating disorder began when I started smoking pot. I am not a scientist, so I won’t even attempt to fully explain the science, but getting high on marijuana triggered hunger receptors in my body, giving me the “munchies,” making me feel like I was ravenously hungry regardless of any real physical hunger. For me, and probably for many others too, long after I stopped smoking pot, those receptors were left on. On my own, I could not turn them off. Hence, the obsessive overeating. My repeated attempts, often succesfully, to eat smaller portions worked. I lost weight and felt great, only to begin obsessively overeating again. It was a depressing, seemingly never-ending cycle of overeating, gaining weight, dieting, losing weight, and then beginning the cycle again.
It was not until I began to learn about spiritual deliverance that I began to see that self-discipline and eating plans could only address the physical and emotional aspects of what had become a disease with three aspects–physical, emotional, and spiritual. It was not until I finally came to God for His complete and total deliverance that I received the victory He had intended for me all along. I still love food and still choose to overeat at times. But the uncontrollable obession to overeat is gone, for no other reason than that my Father in heaven loves me and wants me to be free. When I came to Him to confess that I had done what I knew in my heart to be wrong and asked His forgiveness in Jesus’ name, He forgave me. When I truly in my heart renounced all ties to those wrong choices, God delivered me and removed the spiritual forces that had bound me for so long. I have no words to describe the joy and relief that flooded my heart when God Almighty set me free.
He can and will do the same for you if you are willing. The process is the same regardless of the addiction. Whether it is drugs, alcohol, sex, anger, greed, or… you name it… , God has a plan to deliver you and set you free. Please contact me if you have questions about this. This article just barely scratches the surface of God’s plan for deliverance.
“I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies…. He delivered me from my enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me.” Psalm 18:3, 17.