The only fire that was near this smoker was the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Don’t pull your nose up in disagreement. I came to Jesus just as I was. I chimney smoked all over the Holy Book. God had things to do with me and He was not going to start with pulling cigarettes out of my mouth. His business with me was that I should get to know Him. When my vision became blurry I simply wiped the ash off the Bible with the stroke of a hand. This is how God and me spent our first months in each others company.
Let me explain it to you this way: Find a table there near you. If there is not a lot of stuff on it then imagine stuff on it. Now when you give your life to God, you hand over that table as it is. If you wait to first clean up your life before, you are lost because only God can do that.
So would God come with a big arm and wipe everything off that table with one stroke and let you watch it crash to the floor? Not so.
God has one word for you: Love. For God so loved the world…. God loves you! And in the same breath: You must love the Lord your God with all you are and have. Now how can you love someone you don’t know? So your first job is to get to read your Bible and to fellowship with other family of Christ so that you can get to know your new ‘Spouse’.
Back to the table with stuff. Now God had no finger pointing to my smoking on that table for a long time. But when He did, it confronted me in every reading, sermon, radio talk and whatever reminder there could be.
Every smoker wants to stop smoking, without God telling them to. I was no different. Once I managed to give up smoking for a whole 3 hours (and one hour was taken up by the church sermon so should not count). Every Monday was giving up time and every Tuesday was shame for failure time. Oh these little white things had themselves super glued to me like a skin.
Walking hand in hand with God did not make it any easier. For some people it is a different story. Bev from my Bible study woke up one day and ‘wham!; the desire for smoking was gone. She never craved again and never smoked again and never gave it a thought. Nothing works like that for me. My road is always hard and difficult.
The nearer God’s finger pointed to the cigarettes on the crowded table the more it became an obsession by me to stop smoking. The more it became an obsession to stop, the bigger the demolishing effect the failure had on me. Satan told me I should rather leave God as I was not walking in His power. Never; who shall I go to? I rather be a smoker sitting with my God than a smoker sitting with Satan. That is about it; you have those two choices. God is a merciful God and knows my hearts desire.
Nothing goes wasted when God is at work. I started having a heart ripping understanding for the drug addicts I was coming across. “Lord, if it is this hard for me to stop smoking; how hard is it for them to stop drugging? When you pray where you are touched, you pray double edged cutting sword words. When it comes to dealing with people struggling with addiction, there is not a hair of pride on my head. I come in humbleness and in the knowledge that only by the grace of God have I come through this one day. Gluttony falls under the same category. “Lord is there one disorder I did not pick up somewhere along the way? How privileged I am, for there is so much more to be thankful for and so much more reason to be dependent on the One who created me.”
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV)
“But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD exercising lovingkindness……” (Jeremiah 9:24 NKJV)
“And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:31,32 NKJV)
Then God hit me where it hurt! Kimmie.
My cigarettes were disappearing faster than I could smoke them.
Kimmie was disappearing more often than was her home bound nature.
Two plus two makes four.
Then one day our smoke columns met. I caught her red handed. Now here was the pot standing in front of the lid saying it is black.
“I will stop, mom, if you will.”
If you witness more failures than you can count, then you are very safe to back on that horse to lose the race for you. Kimmie was convinced that her mom had her limits, and giving up smoking was one of them.
The pain began.
Peter was in it with me. He had to fight the years starting at the age of 15. I only started late twenties or early thirties, but boy did I make up for the years I ‘deprived’ my lunges of nicotine.
The first step is to remove all temptations from you. (Have you ever tried doing this with food?) Every possible avenue a cigarette could be stationed at had to be snuffed out and destroyed. It was the biggest demolishing operation I ever ventured on. And rightfully so.
The time came when I turned in to a bag lady and unashamedly rummaged through our rubbish bins looking for the hope of a one puff ‘stompie’. (bud)
The whole world teamed up against me to start me smoking. At every trial the enemy stood with a white sin held out to me and a promise that this will make it feel much better. I walked around repeating victory Bible verses like a woman at war.
Then God allowed me a dummy. It must have been after banging my head on the wall that I grabbed the nearest cylinder looking thing that represented a cigarette. It was a yellow bic pen. I took it in a smokers grip and brought it to my mouth. I sucked long and hard and held my breath in my lunges. Then I breathed it out with a big sigh of relieve. This helped.
This was ridiculous but it worked. Soon all who knew me got accustomed to me and my yellow pen sucking. The cravings lasted for a very long time but had longer pauses in between as the time went along. I was resigned to sucking at my pen for the rest of my life. But it did stop. One day I was without the pen and could not remember how or when. So here I am, a non smoker with every bit of sympathy for every smoker.