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What Binds, Drives and Isolates

According to Malcolm Muggeridge, three things that bind [enslave] us, drive us and isolate us are:

  1. "excessive desire to possess things"
  2. "devotedness to the gratification of the bodily appetites; free indulgence in carnal or sensual pleasures; luxuriousness; voluptuousness; lewdness"
  3. "belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness to others"
He uses the words cupidity, sensuality and vanity--words that aren't used much these days, so I went to hunt for their meanings. Who knew that cupidity has to do with greed and not love? When I searched for the meaning of sensuality, many wanted to equate the word with sex but, while sex is one of the bodily appetites, it is only one.

I think, of the three, sensuality is the one that catches me the most. I like comfort and do as much as I can to avoid discomfort. I like luxuries and indulge in the ones I can afford. I like to feel good and do what I can to ensure I do. It never occurred to me that this could be wrong. Is it? I can see how devotedness to lewdness ("preoccupation with sex and sexual desire," lust, obscenity and indecency) is wrong but simple luxuries and comforts? It's something I'm going to have to think about.

What are your thoughts?

Malcolm Muggeridge in Jesus Rediscovered as quoted in Learning from Jesus: A Spiritual Formation Guide by Renvaré, page 29.
Definition of "cupidity" from
Definition of "lewdness" from


Mikael said…
I agree that "devotedness" to things, in a way that enslaves us is wrong, but are lewdness, lust, and comforts, etc bad in and of themselves? Is there room for "good", unbinding sensualities?
Given the definition of lewdness, yes, it is bad. Same with lust. In fact, both of these are directly mentioned in the Bible as something to flee from and not engage in. See*&section=0&version=niv&language=en

Certainly it can't be wrong to enjoy the feel of silk; to sit in a brightly-lit room with fine furnishings; to take pleasure in good food, etc. But if these sorts of things are the primary motivation for what we do, then they would be wrong. But how does one determine how tightly bound to something she is? I think most people find justification for what they do. How do we know when or that we are enslaved?

[Sorry about the URLs not being links--can't do links in comments, apparently. Just copy and paste into your browser.]

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About the Author


I'm married (35 years in December 2008) with four grown sons. I love my city (Winnipeg) and my country (Canada) and promote them both to whoever will listen. God (through Jesus Christ) is the biggest part of my life. I am learning to let him take control of all areas--though I do better at this some times more than others.

I have written a book that's recently been published about part of my journey with God. In it I tell how God confronted me with the same-sex attraction issues I've struggled with all my adult life and how he led me through them to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with him. God is amazing—his forgiveness, his love, his movement in our lives when we allow him and so much more. I suspect God will never run out of things to teach me or ways to make me grow and that’s a good thing (though often very painful).

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Reviews of Searching for Love

If you have read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. You may e-mail me at or post them in the comments section below.

A Real Testimony
I finished your book. A real testimony to what God does for us.
Leona March 3, 2009
I Had Tears Coming

I sat down to read it about a week later and ended up finishing it the same night. At first I admit I was a little bored and thought that the whole book was about a battle all in your mind, but as I continued reading this creeping thought came over me of a different...struggle in my own life, that I would never in my right mind have shared with anyone accept maybe God. I've mentioned your book to a few people because it stirs up age-old controversies that I have myself argued and wondered about, namely about whether or not homosexuality can be cured or just managed like alcoholism--you just have to stay away from temptation. I noticed at the end of your book that your struggle story …