Lies exposed, the Lord continued to peel me like an onion, revealing deeper needs for His grace in my life and battle with bulimia. I don’t remember what was going on at the time of my third defining moment. I don’t know if I heard someone speak or read a book or if God spoke directly to my heart again. But somehow, God showed me that the very core of my disorder was idolatry.
I had “…exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25). My body, how I felt about myself in it, and how I desired others to admire and accept me because of it, had become my god.
I didn’t have a skin problem. I had a sin problem. I could not worship both my body and Jesus, and I knew He was my only hope to ever be fully healed and totally free.
So when a tailspin threatened, I began to declare OUT LOUD: “My body is not my god, You are, Lord, and I will praise and worship You.” I spoke this truth for all to hear. Sometimes minute by minute, other times day by day. Then weeks would pass without incident. Months. And now years.
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17), so when we speak God’s truth out loud, we are building our faith – “the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1, NLT).
Even Jesus didn’t just think about how the devil was defeated; He spoke defeat directly to him: “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (Matthew 4:10).
And no contaminants.
As the Lord deepened my understanding of His word, He convicted me of a greater responsibility to purify my thoughts and actions, as 2 Corinthians 7:1 sets forth: “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (NIV).
This was my fourth defining moment. As I share in my book, Holy His: Hope for a Life and a Nation Wholly His:
Previously, I thought only the Lord alone could purify me, but this verse makes it clear that I have a part in purifying myself through the choices I make. The word contaminate stood out and really convicted me. To contaminate is to defile, pollute, or stain something. We are not to allow anything into our thoughts, bodies, or spirits that would defile, pollute, stain, or make them filthy before the Lord. That is our part in cleansing or purifying ourselves.
When there is anything I know to be a trigger, I cannot allow it to contaminate my body and spirit. If straying from habits that keep me close to the Lord, stress, other sin in my life, certain foods, certain circumstances, or certain activities cause me to stumble back into this battle, it is my responsibility to purify myself of those things. As the Holy Spirit reveals and convicts us of the things that contaminate us, we become holy as God is holy when we purify ourselves of those things – when we deliberately choose to no longer allow them in our lives – out of reverence for God. The word reverence in this verse refers to the fear of God. The original Greek meaning of this use of fear is terror or dread. God is a holy God. He cannot tolerate sin. We will be motivated to perfect holiness in our lives when we are terrified of God’s holy wrath. If we don’t fear Him, what motive do we have?
It’s like the Israelites when they crossed the Jordan to take possession of the Promised Land: Their victory depended on their obedience and purity, a lesson they learned the hard way after their first victory Jericho. They were to destroy everyone and everything, except for the gold, silver, bronze, and iron, which were to be consecrated to the Lord. Specifically, Joshua warned the Israelites against taking the accursed things, or the things devoted to destruction.
When they attacked their second target, Ai, a smaller city spies determined would only require two to three thousand warriors to overtake, thirty-six men were struck down as the people of Ai chased the mighty Israelites away.
“The hearts of the people melted and became like water” (Joshua 7:5), and Joshua fell on his face before the Lord, baffled and broken. Turns out, Achan was hiding stolen goods from Jericho, and the Lord declared to Joshua: “You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you” (Joshua 7:13).
The same is true for us. With accursed things in our lives, we have no hope for victory. They were unable to take possession of any more land until they got rid of the banned items. In order to take possession of God’s promises to us, we must purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit.
Lord, help us to love You and You alone with all our heart, mind, strength, and soul, putting no idols before You and purifying ourselves as we become more wholly Yours.