Skip to content

Subscribe Now to CRW Podcast

Click Here

Enslaving SINS


Isaiah 58:6-12 (NIV)


“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry

and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—

when you see the naked, to clothe them,

and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness[a] will go before you,

and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;

you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,

with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,

then your light will rise in the darkness,

and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The Lord will guide you always;

he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

and will strengthen your frame.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

like a spring whose waters never fail.

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins

and will raise up the age-old foundations;

you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,

Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.


The #1 reason to fast is to be freed from the bondage of sin.  The sins that bind you in a way that you feel like a victim to them are what I call enslaving sins.  These aren’t “heat of the moment” sins that you don’t do often.  If a friend asked you how their new outfit looked and you lied and told them it looked great, yes, that was a sin, but it wasn’t an enslaving sin.  Enslaving sins are those problems that are recurring theme over and over in your life.  They’re the sins that you tried everything to free yourself from but couldn’t.


Matthew 17:14-20 (NIV)

14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”

17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”


This is an example of what I call an enslaving sin.  The most common enslaving sins I’ve see Christians in bondage to are compulsive overeating, alcohol, drugs, sex issues, and tobacco.  Use the following statements to identify if the problem you’re dealing with is an enslaving sin.

  1. I’ve tried over and over and I can’t break the cycle.
  2. I don’t want to do this, but I can’t seem to help myself.  I keep getting stuck in the same rut over and over.
  3. I need to break free, but I can’t seem to find the way.


If these three statements are true for your situation, then you know you’re dealing with an enslaving sin.

Let’s look at Matthew 17 again.  The boy’s father didn’t understand what was wrong with the boy.  Jesus knew that a demon had entered into the boy and taken control of his life.  Today, we hesitate to identify a problem as demon possession because it sounds spooky.  At the same time, if we have one of these enslaving sins, that means that we’ve allowed satan to come into this part of our lives and keep lying to us over and over about the issue.  For example, my enslaving sin was overeating and I believed little lies that encouraged me to eat more than I had to.  If I felt sick, I would eat more.  If the food tasted really good, I would make it my only meal of the day so I could overeat.  Whenever I was stressed, I believed I needed junk food for comfort.

An enslaving sin is any sin that can’t be broken with ordinary willpower.  It’s exactly how it sounds.  You’re enslaved to it.  Jesus told his disciples,


Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

…Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”



Let’s take a look at fasting for freedom.  A lot of times, people fast about about a problem for one day and if nothing changes they decide that they’re not healed.  You have to fast repeatedly until you get a breakthrough.  Sometimes you can pray and get an answer right away but sometimes you have to keep fasting and praying over and over until you get your breakthrough.


Fasting Steps:

#1 List the Lies

Write out the lies you believe that keep you bound.  Here are some examples of overeating lies:

  • I don’t want to waste food. It’s the human trash can excuse.  Excess food is going to be wasted one way or another.  It’s either going in the trash can or in your body.  Do you really want your body to be the trash can?
  • I’m so tired. If you aren’t undernourished, eating food doesn’t give you a sudden burst of energy.  It makes you more tired.  It may give you a sugar high for ten minutes, but that’s it.
  • I’m so stressed out. Food, drugs, and alcohol can temporarily ease your stress but after ten minutes you’re going to be more stressed!
  • I hardly ever get to eat XYZ. It’s the fear of missing out, right?  My Iranian family makes really good food, and they only come to town every couple of months.  So, I think I’m never going to get kebob this good again for a long time!  But that isn’t true.  I can always get it again.
  • This tastes so good. Not a good excuse!  Food tastes better the hungrier you are.  Actually, if you practice fasting, you’ll often eat food when you’re hungrier and enjoy it!
  • I’m on vacation. This is an excuse for doing anything I want!
  • I have eaten so clean all day so I need to reward myself. Junk food is not a reward for clean eating.
  • I will work it off later.
  • I might get hungry later. This is “preventative eating:”  eating because you don’t want to get hungry later.

List all of these things that you’re saying to yourself.  List as many as you possibly can.  It’s really important to share these in a group setting.  We need to list all of these things so that we can recognize them.  So, when the lies come up again you can fight them with Scripture.

#2 Take Personal Responsibility.  To break the bondage, you have to accept your share of responsibility for the problem.  Understand this is not your husband’s or your children’s problem.  Constantly blaming other people for why this is an issue in your life is counterproductive.  Sometimes, I blame my husband because I wouldn’t eat dinner if not for him.  I’m never really hungry at night and I could fast during that time but my husband wants a huge meal and sometimes I finish my son’s plate.  If he ate his own food, I wouldn’t be finishing it.  See the blame game?  It’s stupid, right?  You need to fully take responsibility and say “I take personal responsibility for allowing myself to be addicted to _________.”


#3 Share the Problem. 


1 John 1:9 (NIV)

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.



Confess your sin to your group.  Make a vow to change.

#4 Get Rid of the Negative Influences.  For example, if you have friends that are obviously drinking too much or friends that are doing drugs, you’re not going to be able to hang out with those people and break free.  You need to get rid of those influences in your life.  If you have certain friends that think it’s fun to overeat and encourage you to overeat, then they’re people you have to step away from for the time being.

#5 Flee Temptation.

#6 Quote God’s Word.

#7 Fast with Intensity.  In order for you to have a meaningful fast, you can’t just withhold food but you have to agonize in prayer.  Fasting communicates to everyone, including God, the seriousness of this issue.



This is your affirmation, “I believe that there is no earthly temptation that can enslave me but that God has a way of escape for me.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

I am going to start my fast on ___________ and end my fast on _____________.


Isaiah 58:6 (NIV)

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

    and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

    and break every yoke?

(Scriptural Basis)


This is when I am going to start my fast, this is when I am going to end my fast, and these are the people I am going to bring with me to the fast.

The book of Ezra tells the story of Jews traveling back from captivity in Persia.  Ezra was a priest and he basically led a second group of people back to Jerusalem.  Ezra really needed protection while he led them across the wilderness to the promised land.


Ezra 8:22-23 (NIV)

22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.


I have a friend named Zach who had some issues with acne and he was really upset about it.  We decided to both fast for three days.  After the three days, we prayed and his acne really cleared up.  If you can get a small group of people to fast with you, it is such a powerful thing.  Fast and specifically pray for whatever is going on in each other’s lives.  You can all pray and fast about different people together.

The people following Ezra fasted because they were scared. They wanted safety for themselves and for their children. The bigger the problem, the more likely people will fast with intensity and really pray.

When I was praying for Zach, I was literally begging God on his behalf because of how much it meant to him.  It was intercessory prayer and I was agonizing on his behalf.

Ezra 8:21 (NIV)

21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions.