I used to smoke. I tried my first cigarette when I was twelve years old. I remember thinking it fellt good and since it was outside the rules it was “freedom”. My buddy and I agreed we’d only smoke until we were 18 because then it’s legal and therefore no longer cool. Oh golly! What were we thinking? We didn’t even know how cool we were before we starting sucking down cancer sticks.
After a long-term relationship ended in my early twenties, I dove head long into smoking. I worked for The 13 Coins restaurant (which was “an all smoking establishment” at that time) so I could smoke at work too. Soon a few cigarette’s a day went to two packs a day. I smoked instead of eating, often. I loved it too. It was my rebellious, out of the norm thing I could do. Nobody could tell me to stop. It was my little thing I “allowed myself”.
Well, I lost weight smoking instead of eating. At first I felt like this was a reward. For what? Who cares? I was thinner. Yay! Right?
Guess How He Died!
Then, conviction came. Not the “I feel bad about this” kind. I didn’t. I loved it. Every smelly, nail yellowing, lip wrinkling, carcinoma laden inhalation felt like freedom…
Until God convicted me that smoking was slavery!
I remember saying to God, “Jesus, I love smoking. I have smoked for ten years now. I will give myself cancer and die from this. What am I doing? I’m only 22! Please Jesus, make me so sick the next time I smoke that I won’t want to smoke anymore. Jesus, I can’t do this on my own. I don’t want to.”
You know what? I didn’t “have it together”. I denied my freedom in Christ with every puff. Enslaved not just to cigarette’s but to the “freedom” I thought it gave me.
Dang, Satan plays the same old song all the time.
Doesn’t this “freedom” talk sound eerily like the conversation Satan had with Eve in Eden? As if what God has isn’t enough so I need this too.
I need to smoke because it gives me something?
Before I prayed telling God I needed Him to take it from me. Before I was at that place of really surrendering this ridiculous lie. I tried quitting myself. Over and over and over. Weaning down. Staring longingly at the mug on my coffee table displaying my “final cigarettes”. Then after the last one was gone, driving frantically to the 7-11 to buy a whole carton and then smoking double time to make up for it. Sheesh. It wasn’t working. I couldn’t quit. Afterall, I really deep down didn’t want to give up my “freedom”.
God is faithful!
After I prayed in real surrender, God answered my prayer with a, “Yes.” It was not an audible reply. I didn’t hear him speak. Instead, I went about my day. Then when I had a craving, I lit up a cigarette and took a drag. One. Then like a freight train I felt clammy, sweaty, nauseous… I rushed to the bathroom and threw-up. It felt like full on stomach flu. For about an hour I laid beside the toilet. Getting up as needed to get sick.
Then as quickly as it came, it passed.
I felt ok again. Then, because I am stubborn and God is more-so, I lit up another cigarette. I heard and believed the lie, “Maybe it was just a bad cigarette.” Again, the freight train came. Again hugging the toilet in wretched sickness. This time laying on the floor thanking God for answered prayer.
I didn’t quit smoking, God quit my smoking for me. 🙂
Maybe you don’t smoke. Maybe you “allow yourself” something else.
The big question is this, “Am I willing to let the “little thing I allow myself” (aka enslavement or sin) take EVERYTHING from me, take from those I love and then NOT DELIVER on its promises?”
Because that’s just what that little thing will do.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 16:25
“Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully
grown brings forth death.” James 1:15
Dear Jesus, thank you that you are why I am an ex-smoker. Thank you for Real Freedom! Thank you that my Mom no longer smokes! Please help others who smoke to be freed too. Lord, I know you pursue us doggedly and triumph over Satan. To you be the glory! To YOU be the glory! Amen.