When Freedom Brings Bondage
Eat. The word holds such promise and despair for someone like me with a lifetime battling an eating disorder. For me, it was bulimia – a desperation for food and then a repulsion that drove me to purge. Even decades after ending the physical binge-purge cycle, the thoughts that fueled this life-dominating sin continued to torture me every morning and every night. Laying my head down on the pillow, I would think: “How do I feel? Do I feel thin or fat? Did I eat the right things in the right amounts perfectly or not? What must I do or eat tomorrow to rectify mistakes or keep the perfect streak going?” In the morning, these same thoughts welcomed me into my day as I headed to the potty and then the scale. I’d empty my body of any extra weight, and before even having a sip of water or coffee, turned to the scale so it could tell me if I was okay or not. Every. Single. Day.
It was pure bondage, and all I wanted was to be free of the thoughts. Prior to this point, what I really wanted was to be free to eat whatever I wanted with no consequence to the size or shape of my body. I wanted freedom for unbridled indulgence without the hard work of denying myself things that aren’t good for me or the hard work of exercising to maintain a certain size. If I could just have that, I would be happy!
Is that really what freedom is, though? Is that really happy? The freedom to eat what I want? What do you want to be free to do without restriction that is the very thing that restricts your ability to abide in Christ and find true freedom? What appeals to your heart and diverts your affection from Christ as our sustenance and satisfaction to an empty substitute?
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Liberty. It’s synonymous with freedom, but in the Greek, it doesn’t mean what I would like; however, its meaning is the true essence of freedom.
Liberty in the Greek is the word eleutheria. It is used in scripture to mean “liberty to do or to omit things having no relationship to salvation; fancied liberty; license, the liberty to do as one pleases; true liberty is living as we should not as we please.” It’s what Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 6:12 when he says, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
While liberty allows us to do as we please, when our heart is to please the Father, then we will seek true liberty – rejecting what has nothing to do with salvation and freely living as we should not as we please! This leads to the transformation Paul talks about above!
To the Galatians, Paul exhorts: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).
The Lord is teaching me that true freedom – liberty – has nothing to do with what I eat or don’t eat or if I’m thin or a few pounds heavier than I desire. True freedom is to be set free of bondage to sin and to remain un-entangled through abiding in Christ (John 15).
Jesus says: "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Free to abide. Free to be made free by the One who abides in me.
 "G1657 - eleutheria - Strong's Greek Lexicon (NKJV)." Blue Letter Bible. Web. 20 Sep, 2016. <https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1657&t=NKJV>.Link up and read more on the word "eat" at katematoung.com.