The Day God Helped Me Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking is said to be harder than quitting any other substance addiction. But with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). I've had my own battle with cigarettes, and just recently God stepped in and rescued me from it. This was a huge milestone in my life. But before I explain how God saved me from this deadly addiction, I'll explain the battle I went through.
The Downhill Slide
I had my first cigarette at age fourteen (I'm twenty-five now), and from then on I smoked more and more frequently until I was a pack-a-day smoker. I came to believe in Christ at age eighteen but didn't stop smoking then, though the desire to quit was growing in me. I soon found that I'd make up my mind to stop, but was unable to. I began to try and had countless failed attempts, and the future was looking grim for me. Fears of lung cancer and emphysema mingled with the helplessness I felt. I was no longer enjoying cigarettes. I was enslaved to them. I didn't want to die before my time, but it looked like that's where I was headed.
Once I realized that I couldn't quit with my own power, I began praying for God to help me quit, and did this for years. Over time I grew weary in my prayers for help, because I felt that God wasn't listening to me. I thought that if He were, I would've quit a long time ago. I got discouraged. But I didn't stop trying and praying. I knew a ton of other smokers who were feeling just like I was. They desperately wanted to be free and healthy. They would suggest using an electronic cigarette, or maybe slowly tapering off, or trying a nicotine patch. I tried an electronic cigarette for a while, but I wound up hooked on that too, and I didn't even want to take that health risk, so it didn't ease my mind very much.
Finally, one day, as I was reaching for my electronic cigarette, I felt a tug at my heart. I realized that I loved that thing more than I loved God, and it had driven a wedge between us. I knew then that God wanted me to get rid of it and rely on my relationship with Him for the happiness I was getting from the nicotine. I knew He wanted the very best for me, and He was saying it's time to quit. I craved closeness with God, and I didn't want anything to come between us. With that said, I didn't do it out of the goodness of my heart; it was God that led me to walk outside and throw my electronic cigarette in the garbage. That was four months ago, and I haven't smoked anything since. The impulse to smoke got weaker and weaker as I stayed away from cigarettes, which is a scientifically proven phenomenon for those who quit something that they are addicted to. Today I am free, and I don't get the craving anymore, thanks to Jesus.
In the Christian twelve step program of Celebrate Recovery steps one, two and three are:"We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature."For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18 NIV
"We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."
For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:13 NIV
"We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God."
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1 NIV
I'm not a member of Celebrate Recovery, but I had unconsciously done those three steps. God is the power greater than myself that restored me to sanity, and Jesus the one that I turned my will and my life over to. And I will be forever grateful. Why it took so long, God only knows. Sometimes He allows us to struggle for reasons we don't understand. But we can trust God's timing and plan. To quit a bad habit, all it takes is prayer, staying away from temptation, and a love for God. God will take care of the rest.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5