We love to talk about our freedom. We are free in Christ. We are free to follow Him, but what happens when we don’t exercise that freedom? What happens when we allow ourselves to be placed in a bondage of our own making? What happens when we don’t take into account who God really is?

When we ignore the sovereignty and majesty of God, we can find ourselves in bondage to something other than Him. We can become captive to anything that we think we can’t live without. All of sudden that thing can become number one in our lives and begins to control us instead of us controlling it. This can happen before we even know it.

I Was In Bondage

There are people today who willfully put themselves in bondage to a substance. I know because I was one. You might think that the substance I put myself in bondage to wasn’t as bad as other substances from which there seems to be little way out. You’d be partly right. I wasn’t addicted to meth, heroin, cocaine or even alcohol.

Yet, I was still in bondage to sugar and carbohydrates. One look at me when I weighed 430 pounds and you’d know that was true. You could also tell I was struggling to just stay alive and yet very few people offered me a viable alternative other than going on another diet, which never worked for me.

I felt like I had no way out. I had done everything known to mankind to fix my extreme weight problem, but nothing could break the stronghold I had put myself in. I had resigned myself to just wallow in the foods I loved until I ate myself to death. That wasn’t a thought-through plan, but it was what I was doing.

Cultural Bondage

Sure, I wanted to lose weight. I wanted to look good, but I wanted to cook, bake and eat all those great cultural foods I’d grown up with as well.

I felt like it was my lot in life to do so because that would be passing on my legacy, my heritage. Those foods were the centerpiece of every family get together. They defined who I was and who my family was or so I thought.

Those foods were like good old buddies that had always been with me helping me cope with life, comforting me, protecting me, being my companions and friends. Where would I be without all of them?

What Is Bondage Anyway?

Bondage was not a concept I dwelt on or even thought about during that time even though if I had stopped to think I’d know it was true that I was in bondage to food. However, I am also free in Christ. The Bible tells me that. I trusted what it said. So I didn’t worry about it.

Then, God put me in a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class where the concept of debt being bondage was plopped down in front of me. This was a new concept to me. I’d thought that as long as we had enough money to pay our bills that’s all that mattered. I mean we can’t take it with us, so who cares?

Ramsey explained that debt actually governs where you live, what job you do or don’t do, restricts your ability to answer God’s call to do what He wants you to do and governs what resources you can release into the Kingdom. Suddenly I understood the control that finances can have over us.

After that getting out of bondage and becoming debt-free began to be a major goal for my husband and I. It took a long time. We started paying off credit cards, then cars and then the house. We paid them all off.

Finally we were debt-free. It has made a big difference in the choices we can now make. We do not owe anyone anything.

How Debt-Free Helped Me Become Sugar-Free

The freedom I felt when we did that was beyond amazing. It was then that I realized, though, that I was still in bondage. Just as being in debt was a bondage of my own making, especially the credit cards because those fueled my addictions of ease and comfort, so was the foods I chose to eat.

There were reasons why I loved those foods, but understanding that at some point I had willfully put myself under their control just like I put myself under the control of debt, made me mad. When I get mad, watch out world!

I began to see how sugar had led me astray. It had whispered sweet nothings to me. It had an evil addictive spirit attached to it because the devil knew how much I loved it.

How I Replaced God

He also knew if I loved it, I would allow it to control me. If I allowed it to control me completely then I would have elevated my stomach and it’s desires over God in my life. My stomach had become my god! Philippians 3:19 in action right there.

I had begun to rely on something other than Father God to be my protector.

I had begun to rely on something other than the Holy Spirit to be my comforter.

I had begun to rely on something other than Jesus to be my companion and friend.

Before I knew it, I had bowed to a god of my own making, one of my own selfish desires, one that catered to my fleshly comforts rather than my spirit.

The One to whom I pledged my sole allegiance had been replaced. When that happens He will not play second fiddle. He is a jealous God. He wants to be our One and only. 

The God Who Is

Thankfully He finally got through to me and showed me I had gone all in with my bondage to sugar and comfort foods. It would take some work to break free.

Anger can be good when it’s directed in the right place. I was good and mad at the devil. I didn’t like the fact that he had successfully pulled the wool over my eyes to the point that I had been given five years to live by a cardiac surgeon if I didn’t lose weight and keep it off.

God redirected my stubbornness. “Let me be clear, the Anointed One has set us free, not partially, but wonderfully and completely free. Let us always cherish this truth and stubbornly refuse to go back to the bondage of our past,” Galatians 5:1 TPT.

I was stubbornly ready to do what it would take to put God back on the throne of my life. All it took was one act of all-out, heart-felt surrender to Him and an honest, transparent plea for Him to show me exactly how to walk out this journey. I admitted my weakness to Him and asked for His strength. (See 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.)

Now many years later I’ve lost 250 pounds and kept it off. He is the God who has been faithful to lead me. He is the God who has been faithful to answer me. He is the God who is everything I need and more.

These days I can say, “I walk with You in complete freedom, for I seek to follow Your every command,” Psalm 119:45 TPT.

What is it that you are allowing to control your life? Is it God or something else? If it’s something else, what will you do about that?


Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. Her other books include: "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy", "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, both available under the weight loss tab. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking tab on her website. Also check out her blog and Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast under the tabs by those names.