January 8, 2011

Day 8: Utter Annihilation (Risk: Part 3)

Yesterday, I asked the question about how to apply the passage in Deuteronomy 13 to today. I hope you will be able to track with me and see the parallels with these New Testament verses. This group of verses pretty much say the same thing (Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8; 1 Peter 2:1; James 1:21). I've given links to each of the passages, so I can just paraphrase them here:

"Therefore, get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander, filthy language, malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."

The phrase "completely destroy" from Deuteronomy made me think of the phrase "get rid of" in these passages. With the help of Strong's Numbers Online, I found the Greek word, "apotithemi", which is translated "get rid of." It means "to put away (literally or figuratively)", and is translated "cast off, lay apart, lay aside, lay down, put away, or put off."

Whenever I find a composite word like this one, I like to also look at the root words for more depth to understand how the translators chose the words. The root words for this Greek word are "apo", and "tithemi". "Apo" means "off," as in "away (from something near) in various senses (of place, time, or relation; literally and figuratively)...In composition (as a prefix) it usually denotes separation, departure, cessation, completion, reversal, etc.); and "tithemi" means "to place (in the widest application)...advise, appoint, bow, commit, conceive, give, kneel down, lay, lay aside, lay down, lay up, make, ordain, purpose, put, set, set forth, settle, sink down."

As I read these definitions, they bring to mind a picture of changing a garment or giving old stuff to the Goodwill. I don't need it anymore. I don't want it anymore. It's just clogging up the works and cluttering up my space.

The Hebrew word translated "completely destroy" is "charam," a root word which means "to seclude; specifically (by a ban) to devote to religious uses (especially destruction); physically and reflexively to be blunt as to the nose." It is translated "make accursed, consecrate, utterly destroy, destroy, devote, forfeit, have a flat nose, utterly slay, utterly make away." When it says by a ban, I wonder if we can apply this same thing to our current use of the term fast.
I know that when I originally set out to give up sugar last May, I wanted it to be a complete and utter destruction of my addiction to sugar. I had hoped that I would finally succeed in cutting the roots to the reasons behind my addiction so that I would either never want it again or be able to eat it without slipping back into addictive behaviors. I wanted to believe that I could end my affair with sugar for the rest of my life.

Though I made great strides against this stronghold, in that I'm beginning to understand the things in my life that trigger binging on sugar, I slipped back into the addictive behavior in late November. Yes, the holidays were a part of this, but there were also points of stress driving my addictive binging. The difference this time was that I did not beat myself up over it. I gave it a lot of thought and decided I would not attempt to stand firm again until after the holidays, when the temptations would be far less. Thankfully, as soon as I committed to this fast I've had very little trouble fighting the emotional temptation to eat sugar. However, where the emotional pull has decreased this time around, the physical effects of going off it were far more intense.

The longer I fight against this habit, I realize that I'm fighting something far deeper. I'm determined to get to the root of the reasons that I eat sugar for comfort...my strongholds. I know He has continued to show me the seduction that comes from within to numb myself out by binging on sugar, to treat myself when I've had a particularly hard day, or to use it when I'm bored or tired and need a pick-me-up.

I'm hopeful that this is exactly what it means to lay siege to a stronghold. Continually resisting the temptation to keep my old garments, my old coping habits. Continually exposing the temptation to hide my secret binges to the light; not losing ground, but steadily advancing by taking new ground with each successive fast.

These are just my thoughts about what these passages mean. I'm eager to hear from you about the insight or pictures these words evoke in your mind. Please leave me a comment with your thoughts here when you have a minute.

Thanks for reading. Until tomorrow, I wish for you Peace & Joy,


  1. Sugar addiction is a tough one, and I "backslid" more than I should have over the Holidays, too! Aside from the addiction part, it is also bad for one's overall health. Like you, I'm not going to beat myself up for overindulging these past few weeks, but I will definitely guard how much extra sugar I eat every day now, especially since my glucose tends to run higher than normal. (:

  2. Thanks for sharing. I will keep you in my prayers as we fight it out together!