Many women live their entire lives in bondage to food and their weight, never discovering the keys to unlock the chains. God has given us everything we need to unlock our freedom and live a victorious life (see John 10:10), but it takes more than willpower to live the abundant life He provided!
If you feel like you are in bondage to food or your weight, you can be released from this bondage and experience the joy of a balanced and free life...and it all begins when we run to Jesus, and start fighting the good fight of faith!
I won't tell you that getting and staying free will be quick or easy…In fact, I can guarantee that it will take effort on our part! In fact, it will take more than effort, it will require you to fight! However, I can also promise you that with each step you take to press into freedom, you will find yourself taking back ground that the enemy has stolen from you...and it will be well worth the effort!
Here are Five Steps You Can Take to Start Fighting For Your Health Today!
1. Recognize You are in a Battle.
The first step to being victorious in any battle is to first recognize that we are in one…But how can we know that we are in a battle if we can’t see one!?! The bible tells us in Ephesians 6:12 that we are in an invisible war on a daily basis. It says, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” This means that if we are not actively fighting against our unseen enemy, we are sure to lose!
Jesus also told us in John 10:10 that He came to bring life and life more abundantly. He went on to warn us that the enemy on the other hand, comes to steal, kill, and destroy. This means that everything that pertains to life and godliness is from the Lord, but anything that is destructive is from our enemy, satan. The war that is taking place on a daily basis is often going on in our thought life (in the form of lack of peace, depression, confusion, lies from the enemy, etc.). But attacks can also come from outside sources that are being influenced by the enemy, such as society and other people.
Specifically, as it relates to our health, I believe satan would love nothing more than to steal our health, our peace, our joy, and our energy...and he does so with the ultimate purpose of destroying the life God has for us.
The good news however, is that once we recognize that we are in a battle, we are able to defend ourselves using the weapons God has given us, and protect ourselves using the armor He provides. God has given us everything we need to be equipped and prepared to walk in His strength and power so that we can withstand the enemy's schemes and attacks, and win every battle that comes our way.
2. Know Your Identity.
The first thing soldiers do when they are enlisted in the army is go through bootcamp. Here they learn what it means to be a soldier in the army, and what it means to be an Army of One. The first step in training to fight the good fight is to learn who you are in Christ, and come to understand what it means to be a soldier in the Army of Christ! This is the first step to winning any fight, because if we don't know who and who's we are, we will be defenseless against the tactics of our enemy.
We can learn our identity in Christ by studying the word of God, and learning what He says about us. (Also, when we spend time studying Gods word, we should pray and ask God to reveal to us what it means to be His child.) We can also do this by spending time fellowshipping with other believers, regularly attending church and bible studies, and spending time in God's presence daily.
3. Train to Win.
We would think it would be foolish if a soldier went into war without training first, yet so many of us are going through life without training for spiritual battles...and then we wonder why we feel as if we are losing! The best thing to do to prepare and train for any battle is to be faithful in the daily things, such as spending time in God’s word and in prayer. As we spend time hiding God’s word in our hearts, we will be more likely to resist the enemies temptations when they come against us, (Psalm 119:11).
Another way to train is by learning to resist the enemy whenever we are feeling tempted or attacked. As we resist the enemy, the bible tells us that he must flee from us, but we must recognize that it requires us to first submit ourselves to God, followed by active resistance on our part. When you are feeling tempted or that the enemy is lying to you, start by checking that you are submitting yourself to God in that area. Next, ask God to give you the knowledge, wisdom, and discernment you need to resist his attack. Over time you will find that the more that you practice resisting the enemy, the stronger you will become as you learn to walk by the Spirit and not the flesh.
4. Armor Up.
Just as soldiers prepare for battles by putting on protective gear, it’s important for us to prepare for spiritual battles by putting on the gear that God has given us. This armor is described as the "Armor of God". One of the most neglected, yet important areas to guard when it comes to breaking free from bondage is in the area of our minds. The bible tells us to put on the “helmet of salvation” by protecting our minds from unhealthy thoughts and asking the Holy Spirit to renew our minds when we read the word of God (Romans 12:2).
Satan often attacks us in the battlefield of our minds by planting lies and deceptive thoughts. When we aren't careful to guard our hearts and minds, these lies can eventually take root and lead to strongholds in our lives. Every stronghold and sin can ultimately be traced back to believing one deceptive thought. Because we know how important our minds are to winning the war on sin, and breaking free from strongholds, it’s vital to spend time renewing our minds with God's word, and ask the Holy Spirit to help us break free from the lies we had once believed, and think on those things that are lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise.
In addition to the helmet of salvation, we should take up the shield of faith which can be lifted to quench the fiery darts of the enemy before they even have a chance to hit us…and the list goes on! As you can see God has given us everything we need to protect us in the battle. I would strongly encourage you to read more about the rest of this armor in Ephesians chapter 6.
5. Use Your Weapons.
The bible tells us to use our spiritual weapons in these battles, and the word of God is specifically referred to as our weapon, which is the Sword or the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). The more we know and understand the Word of God, the more effective we can be both offensively and defensively in overcoming evil during spiritual battles. We become more efficient at using our sword by reading, studying, meditating, journaling,and praying God’s promises.
Personally, I fought my way out of the battle of eating disorders using Sword of the Spirit, (the word of God). I began to fight when the battle was raging by submitting myself to God and repenting for how I had treated my body. I then asked for wisdom and began to study the word and draw near to God in every area of my life. I then began to renew my mind using the Word, just as Romans 12:2 tells us.
To do this, I drew a chart with two columns. On the left hand side I wrote down all of the areas that I had believed a lie. On the right hand side, I wrote down truths from God’s word that refuted those lies. (I still do this in different areas where I am being attacked to this day, because it is so freeing to see the light of God’s promises shining through, piercing the darkness.) From there, I took these scriptures and made prayers out of them so that I would be able to wield them as the dynamic sword that they are.
To do this, I simply write down the scripture as is, and apply my name and other adjectives that claim possession to the the scripture. (You can also do this using someone else’s name if you are looking to cover someone else in prayer.) In addition to fighting off the lies of the enemy, praying God’s word is also a powerful way of reminding ourselves what God said about us, and assuring our hearts of His promises.
What About Caring for Our Bodies!?!
That being said, there are certainly things we must do in the natural to care for our physical health. When it comes to caring for our bodies, I believe God will also give us wisdom specifically on how to care for the body He gave us when we ask Him! So often we look to make decision based on worldy wisdom and what seems to make sense at the moment, but when we look to God for our guidance, we can be sure His ways are always wiser than mans best efforts.
I also believe that many of the weight and food related bondages simply cannot be broken until we fight in the spiritual...Which is why we must actively engage in caring for our physical body and fighting for our health spiritually. I can speak from experience when I say that the combination of the two will produce a guaranteed victory!
If you are reading this and find that you are in a spiritual battle as it relates to your weight, body image, or disordered eating, I would encourage you to apply these steps to your own life, and begin fighting for your health today!
Here is a scripture-based prayer to get you started:
Father, I pray that you would give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation as it relates to taking care of my body. I pray that that the eyes of my understanding would be enlightened and that I would know exactly what path to take on a daily basis as it pertains to caring for my body and soul. I thank you that I am not doing this in my own power or strength, but by your spirit, and therefore I thank you that you are giving me the strength to resist the enemy.
Today I choose to walk by the Spirit, and therefore I do not gratify the lusts of the flesh. I have crucified the flesh with it’s passions and desires, and I operate in the fruits of the Spirit. Today I walk in self control and discipline when it comes to caring for my body, and in every area of my life. Therefore I do not let sin control my mortal body, and I will not obey its desires. I will not present the parts of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness, but I present myself to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and I present the parts of my body to Him as instruments of righteousness.
I submit my whole body, mind, and life to you Father, please help me to resist the enemy in every form that he tries to come against me. I thank you Lord for the gift you have given me in my body. Help me to remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by you, and to bring you glory with my health! In Jesus Name, Amen.