As I mentioned earlier on, this blog is part of my ministry to eating disordered women and a platform for the writing I have done. Earlier this year, I completed a manuscript tentatively titled "Redeemed From the Pit: Biblical Repentance and Restoration from the Bondage of Eating Disorders". I discuss my personal journey out of the bulimia that gripped me for 17 years, and how the reader may apply the biblical principals of recognizing and confessing her ED as sin, repenting of it, and allowing God to renew her mind as she overcomes this behavior.
What I have learned is that it is extremely difficult for a first-time author to break into the publishing world, regardless of how good your material may be. Agents won't even consider taking you on as a client without established "name recognition" because their main job is to convince publishers that your book will sell. Is there a market for this book? I believe there is, judging by the prevalence of eating disorders among Christian women. In short, I need to make the case to publishers of biblical material that there is a legitimate market for this book among Bible-believing Christians.
A fellow Christian writer forwarded an article to me about an aspiring author who asked online for potential interest, and forwarded the responses to publishers along with his query letter - and they ended up publishing his manuscript. What a great idea! I would like to do the same.
Please leave me a brief message in the combox if you would buy or read a book that attempts to address eating disorders as spiritual issues with straight-forward spiritual answers. Have you benefited in any way from this blog? Would you like to read more than a happily-ever-after testimony, one which focuses 16 chapters on God and you, and only 1.5 chapters on me? A Bible study that affects the deepest part of your life, and challenges your most secret besetting sin?
Leave me a comment explaining why such a book would be of interest to you. Anonymous comments are fine - pseudonyms are fine; town/state only is fine. Please just share your thoughts; help me convince the publishing houses that this will be a life-changing read for you (or someone you know who loves the Lord, but battles a food addiction).
Thank you, dear readers. My hope is that it will be in print soon.
This is an insightful look at how unbiblical we can get in our thought-lives - thanks to the author and Justin Taylor for posting it. I am including it here because I think it's application to the eating disordered Christian is self-evident. The next time you feel "stuck in the pit" and without hope of rescue, reflect on this!
David Powlison writes an Antipsalm 23:
I'm on my own.
No one looks out for me or protects me.
I experience a continual sense of need. Nothing's quite right.
I'm always restless. I'm easily frustrated and often disappointed.
It's a jungle — I feel overwhelmed. It's a desert — I'm thirsty.
My soul feels broken, twisted, and stuck. I can't fix myself.
I stumble down some dark paths.
Still, I insist: I want to do what I want, when I want, how I want.
But life's confusing. Why don't things ever really work out?
I'm haunted by emptiness and futility — shadows of death.
I fear the big hurt and final loss.
Death is waiting for me at the end of every road,
but I'd rather not think about that.
I spend my life protecting myself. Bad things can happen.
I find no lasting comfort.
I'm alone ... facing everything that could hurt me.
Are my friends really friends?
Other people use me for their own ends.
I can't really trust anyone. No one has my back.
No one is really for me — except me.
And I'm so much all about ME, sometimes it's sickening.
I belong to no one except myself.
My cup is never quite full enough. I'm left empty.
Disappointment follows me all the days of my life.
Will I just be obliterated into nothingness?
Will I be alone forever, homeless, free-falling into void?
Sartre said, "Hell is other people."
I have to add, "Hell is also myself."
It's a living death,
and then I die.
The antipsalm tells what life feels like and looks like whenever God vanishes from sight. As we hear about Garrett and the others, each story lives too much inside the antipsalm. The "I'm-all-alone-in-the-universe" experience maps onto each one of them. The antipsalm captures the driven-ness and pointlessness of life-purposes that are petty and self-defeating. It expresses the fears and silent despair that cannot find a voice because there's no one to really talk to.But, he says, the antipsalm needn't tell the final story.
. . . Something bad gets last say when whatever you live for is not God.
And when you're caught up in the antipsalm, it doesn't help when you're labeled a "disorder," a "syndrome" or a "case." The problem is much more serious: The disorder is "my life." The syndrome is "I'm on my own." The case is "Who am I and what am I living for?" when too clearly I am the center of my story.
It only becomes your reality when you construct your reality from a lie. In reality, someone else is the center of the story. Nobody can make Jesus go away. The I AM was, is and will be, whether or not people acknowledge that.Powlison continues:
When you awaken, when you see who Jesus actually is, everything changes. You see the Person whose care and ability you can trust. You experience His care. You see the Person whose glory you are meant to worship. You love Him who loves you. The real Psalm 23 captures what life feels like and looks like when Jesus Christ puts his hand on your shoulder.Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil.
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Can you taste the difference?
You might want to read both antipsalm and psalm again, slowly. Maybe even read out loud. The psalm is sweet, not bitter. It's full, not empty. You aren't trying to grab the wind with your bare hands. Someone else takes you in His hands. You are not alone.
Jesus Christ actually plays two roles in this most tender psalm. First, He walked this Himself. He is a man who looked to the Lord. He said these very words, and means what He says. He entered our predicament. He walked the valley of the shadow of death. He faced every evil. He felt the threat of the antipsalm, of our soul's need to be restored. He looked to his Father's care when He was cast down — for us — into the darkest shadow of death. And God's goodness and mercy followed Him and carried Him. Life won.
Second, Jesus is also this Lord to whom we look. He is the living shepherd to whom we call. He restores your soul. He leads you in paths of righteousness. Why? Because of who He is: "for His name's sake."
You, too, can walk Psalm 23. You can say these words and mean what you say. God's goodness and mercy is true, and all He promises will come true. The King is at home in his universe.
Jesus puts it this way, "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). He delights to walk with you.
Phillips draws an accurate spiritual parallel, and admits to having wanted to ask the same question many times of those is spiritual binds.
"Do you (really) want to become well?"
Much as you and I might recoil from another's state in life, that person might not share our revulsion.
One can grow to identify with a condition, to find meaning and individuality and significance in something that of itself offers nothing desirable whatever. Whether it be a natural handicap or a totally different weakness, failing, misery, affliction or sin, we can come to think of ourselves as Noble Sufferers, as Tragic Victims, as Tormented Souls. So (pathetically and unhealthily) rewarding is this identification, that we unknowingly have no real desire to be parted from our badge of uniqueness, our gimmick, our shtick.
Now, let's think about this question in terms of addictions. Clearly, the addictive agent supplies some momentary comfort; it provides some sort of fleeting "reward" that we cannot get any other way. That's why we keep coming back to it. For us, our drug of choice is food. I always write in the first person plural when talking about eating disordered thought and behavior, despite having been fully recovered for nearly six years, because I write from deep and exhaustive experience. Without a major over-hauling, mind-renewal forged during months of steadfast and gut-wrenching repentance, I would still be flirting with the question: "Do I (really) want to be healed?"
Do we? Do we want to be healed if it means no longer having the option of stuffing ourselves with every high-carb, fat-loaded piece of junk under the sun, with little or no provocation? Do we really want to learn discipline in our eating habits, while surrendering meticulous control over our weight? Do we really want to be free of this love-hate relationship, this deadly yet seductive secret we know we can always indulge in, knowing that once the "crutch" is gone, we will have to actually face our real feelings and deal with them biblically? Are we willing to renounce the idols that have taken root in our hearts - ultimate thinness; food; alcohol; even the fleeting comfort of the ED itself?
Freedom is well worth it, but from the other side of the addiction we cannot see that. If we keep our eyes on God, however, He reveals the truth to us: we can be healed. As I have often said before, bulimia is a spiritual disease masquerading as a physical one. While God does not always heal physical infirmities in this lifetime, it is always His will and pleasure to set captives free from the bondage of sin.
The question is, do we really want Him to, or have we grown so comfortable in our "pet" sin that the pain of change seems more threatening than the pain of staying where we are? I once heard a pastor say that often, when people would come to him for counseling, it quickly became apparent that they didn't really want help - they just wanted someone to feel sorry for them. I discovered in counseling that this is often true. It is not unusual to pour yourself out into counseling, exhorting and biblically encouraging an eating-disordered client, with no change in her behavior - just rationalizations ("I'd change if my husband were more supportive") and self-pitying rhetoric ("It's just the way I am...I'll never change....the devil has his claws into me deep....what's it going to take?") And yet, I've been able to tell with a fairly high degree of accuracy when there is no real repentance (hatred of the sin - in this case, the eating disorder) - but rather simply a two-pronged fear of A) getting caught and B) giving up the behavior and gaining weight.
Christ can free us of all that anxiety, obsession and fear if we only just decide to lay it down, once and for all. When you slip up, don't give up - just pick up where you left off and determine once again to walk away from this destructive lifestyle. He instantly forgives and imparts strength through the Holy Spirit when you seek Him - resulting in your ultimate healing. And it is a COMPLETE healing - relapses simply do not happen once you have repented and been restored.
The question He poses to you today is the same one He asked the paraplegic: "Do you want to be healed?" Are you ready to take the first step? He has made a way out and stands patiently waiting for you to run into His arms.
Every page has my notes and highlighting all over it - the only thing I don't like about this text is that I did not write it myself. Here is an excellent excerpt I came across today which drives home the need to seek God and not man's wisdom:
Is it possible for Christians then to benefit (or at least not be harmed) from secular psychotherapies? Based on the underlying premise in all secular therapies, I would argue no. Anything, including talk that leads people into themselves (helping the sinful self please itself) rather than into the loving arms of the Lord Almighty ultimately leads to further sin and rebellion. Sadly, people turn from the wisdom of the Creator of the Universe to the wisdom of a fallen, created being whose "help" is based on a humanistic system. That system neither understands nor does it provide the the healing that Christians are seeking. Can man's secular counsel temporarily relieve pain? Yes. Can it satisfy a deep spiritual thirst? No.
Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14).
I have known quite a few other women over the years who have been fully healed from the bondage of eating disorders, some of them readers of this blog. (Why aren't you ladies leaving comments, btw?) Not a single one of them was ever helped by a psychologist or secular therapist. Not a single one. In fact, in my experience tele-counseling women, the only thing ladies seem to learn at group therapy is how to blame their husbands for their problem. Psychologists tell them bulimia is a "disease" and prescribe Zoloft (in my college days, it was Prozac). Convincing a woman that her eating disorder is a "disease" or "condition" which is not her fault is self-defeating: it ensures that she will never walk in repentance. The "condition" is sin, and it goes back to the Fall. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we can confess the ED as sin and see repentance for the gift it really is.
God stands ever ready and faithful to heal, but the condition for this blessing is to agree with Him about our sin and not seek to white-wash it. Learning to really hate the anorexic or bulimic behavior because it is wrong, and desiring to walk away from it no matter what it takes is necessary in order to really repent. No psychologist will ever tell a client this, as making moral judgements is "taboo" in the psych fields. Making excuses and blame-shifting may be much more popular and gratefully received, but in the end it only leads to death. IN the case of eating disorders, it is all too often a physical as well as spiritual death.
Decide today to seek God's wisdom!
One subject that deserves mention when examining the roots of eating disorders is the role parents play, especially mothers. One needn't appeal to secular psychology to recognize the influence mothers have over their daughters. Furthermore, the mother generally tries to transfer her worldview, values and ideals about weight and beauty on to her daughter. As females, our perception of aesthetic beauty and how we view ourselves is usually formed by our mothers, very early on.
This is all well and good in a family where the mother views people in the image of God, strives to instill a pursuit of spiritual beauty above physical in her daughter, and does not demean her daughter verbally over what she perceives as physical flaws. Some of the biblical passages affirming one's great worth to the Creator, apart from physical appearance, include: I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well, Psalm 139: 14; The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart, 1 Samuel 16:7; and the wonderful exaltation of inner beauty from the apostle Peter, himself a married man: Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful (1 Peter 3:3-5).
Of course, many (if not most) of us who developed eating disorders in our youth did not grow up in Christian families, and our mothers did not know what God's Word teaches. Even if they had, the unregenerate spirit cannot see the things of God through spiritual eyes, and continues to walk in darkness without the illuminating grace of the Holy Spirit. Still, you may say, many non-Christian mothers teach their daughters it is what's inside a person that counts; not what's on the outside (I heard those words on a Sesame Street episode in the '70's. I never once heard them from my own mother). Most mothers love their daughters unconditionally, regardless of their religious convictions. Others, sadly, do not.
Recently, while relating details of my abusive upbringing to my pastor's wife, she cautioned me "But Marie, your parents aren't saved. You're holding non-Christians to Christian standards." I considered this statement for a moment, but disagreed. "No, I think I'm holding them to the standards of basic human decency." While I appreciate her noting their spiritual state in the context of our discussion - when unconditional forgiveness is appropriate - the fact that my parents do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and reject salvation by grace does not justify child abuse.
Discussing details of the treatment I endured for 18 years would probably be counter-productive, but I can say without a hint of irony that emotional abuse is far more damaging than physical. The scars that a mother's hateful, derisive verbal tirades can inflict in a vulnerable young girl take years to heal, if at all. One of my earliest memories, at the age of four, was of the look of disgust on my mother's face as she surveyed my naked stomach, telling me I was "going on a crash diet." She spat out the last word, as if it tasted bitter. At the tender age of eleven, as my changing body grew both vertically and horizontally, she repeatedly told me that "[I would] never have a boyfriend if I don't slim down, because boys don't date fat girls." (Ironically, in high school, I never had a boyfriend - perhaps because of my emaciated, anorexic state.) The title of this post was a jeer from my mother that came that same year, on the way home from a piano lesson. I'd mentioned off-the-cuff that modeling seemed like a fun profession, and my observation was met with contempt: "What would you model, maternity clothes?"
I was in the sixth grade, 5'1" tall and 110 pounds. (This was before my growth spurt). Because of this jab and innumerable others like it, motherhood and pregnancy terrified me well into my twenties.
Towards the end of middle school, I "slimmed down" just enough to be acceptable to my mother - or so I thought. I rigorously exercised and kept my daily caloric intake below 1,200 for over a year. Still, at the yearly check-up and weigh-in before beginning high school, she insisted I ask the GP for dietary instructions, which I shame-facedly did. At this point, the woman who had by now become my nemesis, leaned forward and loudly interjected, "She knows she's overweight!" At 5'5" tall and 130 pounds, the doctor didn't agree. Glancing down at his growth chart, he countered, "According to my chart, she's perfectly normal."
She had lost the battle, but not the war. Exiting the doctor's office, my mother insisted we stop at the Armenian cafe next door and proceeded to inhale a large wedge of baklava in front of me. Sipping a diet soda, I silently wondered whether to count the morning as a victory or not.
In high school, when my clothes sizes slipped from the double-digits to sizes not stocked by regular stores, for the first time in my life my mother was proud of me. Throughout childhood, approval and affection were doled out incrementally, based solely on performance and particularly on the way my weight was going. I am sure, to this day, that she would have much preferred that I stay anorexic rather than becoming bulimic (the dental bills sure would have been lower). It didn't happen that way. Repeatedly, especially in the offices of mental health professionals, she tried to rationalize her relentless emphasis on my weight as being "concerned for my health" (I swear I am not making this up). In my entire life, the only period in which I was significantly overweight was in seventh grade, when I had grown 4 inches and gained over 20 pounds within a year. I had lost the excess weight, with interest, but in my mother's world a size 8 was still "overweight".
Interestingly, in the late 1980's an eating disorder specialist was quoted in a book as saying, "In my experience, nearly every woman who has driven her daughter to an eating disorder has couched it in 'concern for her health'."
My experience is far from unique. I could continue all day relating humiliating incidents, careless and deliberate words spoken, tricks, strategies and coercions invented by my mother to force me to lose weight. I am sure most other women reading this have horror stories of their own to tell, but we cannot change the past. What, then, are we to do with what we endured at the hands of those who were supposed to love and protect us? What, then, do we do when mothers (mine included) refuse to repent; deny their culpability; in their mis-placed pride and self-righteousness, decline even to ask our forgiveness?
I must, for a moment, back up in order to do justice to the question "what do we do with it?" What DO we do, indeed, with the evil that has been inflicted upon us? I became a Christian in 1990. Assuming my readership is primarily comprised of born-again Christians (there is no other kind of Christian, by the way), let up appeal to the Bible. You see, we cannot change the past, how it affected us, or whether another person will respond to conviction. If your mother (or other abuser, if there was one in your life) confesses and repents of her sin, rejoice. However, be forwarned that that day may never come. You and I have been transferred from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13), but my mother, perhaps like many of yours, still belongs to the father of lies (John 8:44). Until she humbles herself and cries out to God to save her, she is walking in darkness and is still, literally, a slave to sin (Romans 6). This is a spiritual reality that we cannot change. No matter how many times I share the Gospel with her, my mother's eyes remain closed. Her confidence, like that of the Pharisees, is in man-made religious ritual and "good works". No humanly generated "good works" can make up for the inherent evil in one's soul before a perfect God, but try telling an unsaved person that.
We, however, who are saved are called to walk in the light (Isaiah 2:5) and die to self. Whether we want to admit it or not, this entails giving up our "rights" to anger and unforgiveness towards those who have hurt us. Unlike secular psychology and therapy methods, which essentially encourage addicts to see themselves as "victims", Christ's Royal Law is unequivocally clear: only forgiveness brings true healing. Relinquishing our anger and going even further - loving and praying for our enemies - is the standard to which He calls His disciples. If we claim His Name, obedience is not optional.
If this sounds harsh or clinical, it is not. The Bible calls God the Father of Compassion and the God of all Comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3), and the entire canon of Scripture makes it clear that He does not tolerate injustice. Biblical counselor Ed Buckley writes:
"I want you to know that God cares cares about your suffering and is full of sympathy for your pain. Matthew quotes a portion of Isaiah that gives us a hint of Jesus' compassion for the suffering: A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. (Matthew 12:20). Are you a bruised reed who has been trampled on by those around you? Jesus cares. Do you feel like a smoldering wick in a lamp nearly out of fuel? Take heart, my friend. Jesus understands.I have found, nearly six years after walking away from my eating disorder and related sins, that the temptation to unforgiveness is still there. Years after the urge to starve or drug myself with food or alcohol has disappeared, from time to time something will trigger an old memory of a demeaning staement my mother would make repeatedly. As a college student, I saw trained psychologists actually cringe when I would dryly repeat, verbatim, some of the horrible things said to me growing up. Nowadays, I have found that forgiveness is neither something I can offer based on my own personal desire nor is it a one-time deal. What I find hardest about staying spiritually healthy is not keeping myself from idols (1 John 5:21), but choosing again and again to forgive someone who is completely unrepentant for the misery she has caused in my life (and continues to wreak in the lives of others).
You can choose to remain a victim the rest of your life, or you can choose the path of victory by following One Who was abused as no other. We are told that Jesus was beaten nearly to the point of death, was spat upon, humiliated, dragged bleeding through the dirty streets of Jerusalem, and hung on a Roman cross. Yet Jesus did not curse those who tortured Him so cruelly or walked by laughing at His suffering. Instead, He prayed for them, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). How could Jesus love His abusers? By faith in a loving God. We are reminded in Romans 8:35-37 that nothing can separate us from God's love. Not "trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword." Though we suffer in a cruel world, "in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us".
That sounds wonderful in theory, doesn't it? But how do we make it real? John says, "for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith", (1 John 5:4). You can become a victor instead of a victim as you live by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps you're rolling your eyes, shaking your head in irritation, and muttering, "Another nothing-butterist is dispensing his simplistic solutions by quoting Bible verses." Think what you will, but God's holy Word has given you the key to your liberty. I am not suggesting that it will be easy, for it involves a paradox: Living by faith is hard work, but the reward is unbelievable freedom and joy. (Emphasis mine).
- Ed Buckley, "Why Christians Can't Trust Psychology", Harvest House Publishers, Eugene Oregon 1993. pp. 122-123.
The fact is, in regards to eating disorders or other addictive sin, we are guilty for the actual behavior. There is no biblical basis for blaming another person for our personal sin, no matter how evil an influence the offender may have been. Ignorance often plays a part - in which case we do well to pray "they do not know what they are doing" with our Savior. This does not excuse an abuser, but it puts the focus back where it belongs: on our own relationship with God. Technically, the only difference between our abuser and ourselves is that we have been forgiven (yes, repentance is a pre-requisite for God's judicial forgiveness, but He will deal with our unrepentant abusers - not us). I can truly look at my mother now and think, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." Apart from Christ, I might be just as lost, deceived and empty as she is. When I consider this fact and look objectively at the past through the lens of God's sovereignty, I can genuinely feel pity for my mother.
A good book I recommend on the biblical pattern of forgiveness (and why it is so important in overcoming spiritual problems and old wounds) is John Macarthur's "The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness". I wrote an in-depth, 3-part review and analysis of the book on my theology blog, the first of which is here. As hard as it is to walk away from what was done to us in childhood and resist ungodly anger, it is an important (and ongoing!) ppart of recovery. No, you cannot change what was done to you or the effect it had on you...but you CAN change how you deal with it in the future. Allowing God to redeem others' mistreatment of you will result in His being glorified in your life!
Below is an excerpt from his blog. You may read the entire article here. My comments are in red.
In v5 we have a difficult verse. Here it is, ‘Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?’ The word spirit here is not referring to the Holy Spirit, but to the spirit that each person has. This is that part of us that worships God. However, when we are all wrapped up in lusting with passion after the world and its ways then our spirits are actually worshiping idols. God yearns jealously over our spirits that we would direct our worship and service to Him. If we do not do this then we are guilty of idolatry. Those who are in this idolatry are walking in pride. Who truly worships God by His grace? It is the humble. The humble are those Christians who have denied self, taken up their crosses and are following their Lord. They have rejected hedonism, which is idolatry and self-worship. Those who are living the crucified life are able to do so by His grace. Those who are not humble cannot turn, worship God in spirit and truth because they are proud and are opposed by God.This is why nothing is going to change for the anorexic or bulimic until you learn to humble yourself before God, as laid out last week. Unfortunately, ED practitioners (for lack of a better word - we certainly aren't "victims", as we initiated the behavior ourselves) tend to grasp their idolatry tightly, certain that we are the ones in control. Besides, isn't being thin of utmost importance???
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:7-10 ESV)
We know instinctively that our behavior is sin. We know this even before the new birth (I had been bulimic for four years before turning to Christ). Our consciences tell us it is shameful and a "deed of darkness" (Romans 1:20-25; 13:12). But shame - and our own self-sufficiency (which is a form of pride) often keeps the eating disordered Christian from submitting this part of her life to God's authority. Without that close, dynamic relationship (which is only available as we walk closely with the Lord), we are powerless to 'resist the devil' - and often, we aren't sure we really want to. Can we imagine life without this "crutch"?
Submitting ourselves to God is accomplished by the grace of God as we deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Christ. The enemy will taunt us, attack us, and tempt us, however, as we walk in submission to God, we are able to resist him. This is not accomplished by our puny will power. No, we must have God’s grace in order to do this. Through this, our enemy will flee from us. We must draw near unto God and then He will draw near unto us. The only ones who can do this are the humble because He opposes the proud. Therefore, we see that James is telling us that the way to not be worldly and ate up with hedonism is to humble ourselves before God and draw near unto Him. We worship Him in spirit and in truth and reject the ways and stuff of the world. We learn to pray according to His will instead of after the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life.
(Emphasis mine). Well said. From personal experience, I can tell you, it really works. If you want a simple answer on how to repent from an eating disorder, that's it right there. Print out the above paragraph and glue it to your mirror.
When James tell us to cleanse our hands, purify our hearts, be wretched, morn, and weep, and let our laughter be turned to mourning and our joy to gloom—he is describing what our attitude must be toward sin in our life. We must learn to deny ourselves and walk in repentance. Those who claim to be Christians, but who are consumed by their flesh are not doing this. They are not taking their sin seriously. We must repent of this my brethren. We must humble ourselves before the Lord, and then He will exalt us. If we try to exalt ourselves, God will not exalt us. Remember, coveting can also include wanting to be exalted in the Church.
Remember, self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. God will develop this in you as you steadfastly cling to Him for strength and guidance.
My brethren, we must learn to deny ourselves that we may break the bonds that our flesh has put us in. I lived for many years as a Christian who was enslaved to his flesh. It was miserable. I did not know that I was supposed to mortify my sins, to deny my flesh, to walk in humility before the Lord instead of pursuing what my flesh wanted. If we do not learn this then there is no way to walk in repentance.Big, fat amen.