The Inner Cell of Bondage {this one is important}

When I was in the thick of my eating disorder, I honestly did not see a way out.

I was afraid to eat.

I was afraid not to eat.

I did not understand what “healthy” meant.  My view of exercise was completely skewed. A fat girl stared back at me in the mirror.

All the while, others whispered about how skinny I’d become.

It was a vicious cycle and my bonds were securely fastened ’round my bony ankles.  And counselors, although helpful, couldn’t free me.  Nor could a book recommendation.  I was bound to my body image.

Today, when I am asked, “So how did you overcome an eating disorder?” I answer them…

Acts 16

You see Paul and Silas were in trouble.  Deep, deep trouble with the Roman magistrates for disrupting civil order in the city.  They were seized, charged, stripped and beaten severely with rods with an audience of cheering Romans circled around.  Their punishment was unjust, brutal and bloody and should have stopped there, but it didn’t.

Paul and Silas were then ordered to the “inner cell” or the interior dungeon of a stonewall Roman prison, where their feet were fastened to the floor while they lay painfully on their bloodied backs.  A jailor was then appointed to stand guard of this pitch-black dungeon, keeping guard over these unruly followers of Jesus.  As if they could go anywhere.

My eating disorder was the inner cell of bondage.  I was seized, stripped and severely beaten by the image that mocked me in the mirror.  My self-inflicted punishment was brutal.  The lies I spoke to myself were believable. I was held captive in a seemingly helpless situation and Satan stood guard at my door, just incase I tried to escape.  And I knew he was standing watch, because I tried to crawl out of the door, but he always caught me and pulled me back inside, fastening my stocks tighter with each attempted escape.

So how do we free ourselves from this type of bondage?  How do we break the stocks of an eating disorder? Or body image? Or any other sin addiction?  Alcohol? Pornography? Drug addiction? Infidelity? Excessive spending? Promiscuity?

I’m not talking about sin that makes us trip, I’m talking about the inner prison of stronghold.

Anybody but me ever been there?  Are you there right now?

Well listen up.  I found the way out…

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening to them and suddenly there was a great earthquake so that the foundations of the prison were shaken.  And immediately all the doors were opened and everybody’s bonds were unfastened.  Acts 16:25-26

You see what happens here?  The only way out of this type of life-threatening captivity was to invite the Holy Spirit inside. Paul and Silas didn’t try to unfasten their chains or manipulate the guard… they played the offense by singing praise to their miracle-maker, Jesus.

They chose to pray. They chose to trust. They chose to call upon the bondage-breaker Himself. And the moment they did, the Holy Spirit entered into their cell, flung the doors open wide and broke the stocks fastening their feet. Hallelujah!

The only way out of the inner cell, is to allow the Holy Spirit in.

The body image blues aren’t that hard to beat. My problem is that I try to fight by myself and with the wrong weapons.

You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD.

He is with you. 2 Chronicles 20:17

God wanted to free me of this body image battle but my position was to be persistent in two things… praise and prayer.  And these two weapons of warfare were my most effective stance.  He did the rest.

I have heard it time and time again.  When freedom occurs in someone’s life, they have trouble expressing what occurred…”I can’t explain it.  The Lord just freed me.”

Well, no explanation necessary.  Because when spiritual occurrences happen, they can’t always be put into words.  Once the Holy Spirit gets involved, words do little justice.

But I have experienced it… SO I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN. No words needed.

This morning, does the mirror mock you?  Do you have a skewed view of yourself? Do you have the Body Image Blues? Or do you constantly compare you body image, career success, marriage, children or finances to other people?

Are you fastened to the floor in spiritual bondage to something else?  Have you tried “everything” and can’t seem to get free?  Well, read Acts 16 and follow in the bloodied footsteps of Paul and Silas.  Praise & Prayer. 

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God … and suddenly there was a great earthquake…and immediately all the doors were opened and everybody’s bonds were unfastened.

Read the Psalm below, pray and and spend time singing songs of praise to God.  Allow the Holy Spirit into your inner cell today.  And when others ask you. “How did you get free” you can respond, “Acts 16.”

Fix your focus on the Healer today. Exalt His Holy Name.  Get your eyes off your wounds and put them in the Word.  Earthquake power will follow your persistent pursuit of praise.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

Psalm 145

Praise. Of David.
I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will bless you,
and praise your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall laud your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendour of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
and I will declare your greatness.
They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
and his compassion is over all that he has made.

All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your faithful shall bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom,
and tell of your power,
to make known to all people your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendour of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

The Lord is faithful in all his words,
and gracious in all his deeds.
The Lord upholds all who are falling,
and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand,
satisfying the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is just in all his ways,
and kind in all his doings.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfils the desire of all who fear him;
he also hears their cry, and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
and all flesh will bless his holy name for ever and ever.

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