From Self Freedom
In July, we celebrate the freedom of the United States from Great Britain centuries ago. As our freedom has evolved over the years, it seems in some areas we are more bound than ever. While technology offers the world at our fingertips and endless information to devour, it also has inspired a new addiction—we are constantly plugged in. As I consider my own life and lack of discipline in this area, I am acutely aware of several other areas in dire need of alteration. Below I share my recent journey and the revelation helping me overcome addiction; I hope you too will find freedom.
The year 2017 was a difficult one for our family. We experienced loss—physical and financial—which challenged us emotionally. We moved from our modern suburban home of five years to a rambling country home on three acres that hadn’t been occupied in over fifteen years. After twelve months of renovation, we do have our dream home, but it was a long, laborious process that took a toll on my mental health. I’ve always had a strong constitution and have approached things more logically than emotionally, but I crashed in the last eighteen months.
Though I continued to attend church and Bible study groups, in the evening all I wanted to do was close myself in my bedroom, watch Netflix, and eat candy—lots and lots of candy. I’ve always had a sugar fetish, but I took it to the extreme. Even though I’ve been blessed with good genetics and a fairly high metabolism, I managed to gain over ten pounds in a few short weeks. I was emotionally spent, physically fatigued, and spiritually drained, and I berated myself daily for living short of my potential and sending my body to an early grave.
In April, a ladies group I co-lead with a dear friend decided on a new book study from author Timothy Jorgensen. The title, Spirit Life Training, as well as the back cover bullet points, intrigued us. Though simply written and easy to follow, the content is life-changing revelation for those willing to make the necessary changes.
As most of us know, we are three-part beings: body, soul, and spirit. For as long as I can remember, I’ve focused on getting my spirit healthy, thinking that once I did, my body and soul would naturally follow. According to Jorgensen, the opposite is true. Until we can control our bodies, our souls and spirits will never be fully healthy and operational. Paul was one of the first to point this out in the Scripture “we must beat our body and make it our slave” (I Cor. 9:27). If our lives are in proper alignment, our spirits will be king, our souls the servant, and our bodies our slaves. My body should have no say and no authority. Though it may have an opinion (“I’m too tired to get out of bed,” “I’m too lazy to exercise,” “I’ll eat as much candy as I want”), our spirit is to lord over our bodies, denying them everything except that which is beneficial.
Once I realized that physical exercise and abstinence from bad foods was actually spiritual warfare, I was all in. Jorgensen explains, “The devil considers every act of personal discipline as an act of war against him.” You see, the enemy’s primary objective is to steal, kill, and destroy. If he can get your body to rule, your soul to follow, and your spirit to submit, your life will never be effective for the Kingdom of God.
After I began to speak to my body and make it comply, my soul was next. Consisting of the mind, will, emotions, intellect, and memory, the soul must also take direction from the spirit. I tell my soul to “rejoice” and use my body to trick my mind by smiling. Jorgensen tells us the first thing we should do with our emotions is doubt them. Our emotions cannot always be trusted. They were given to us to fully experience and express the glory of God, but if they aren’t ruled by our spirit, they cause distraction and turmoil.
When our lives are properly aligned with God’s will, “our spirits will be holy, our souls will be happy, and our bodies will be healthy.” Holy. Happy. Healthy. The summation of what so many of us are longing to attain, yet find ourselves continually falling short. Be encouraged by my journey and know so many believers struggle—what you see on the outside is not always an adequate reflection of the inside. Return your spirit to its rightful throne; subject your soul and enslave your body. Freedom from self is the only route to true freedom.