Giving up smoking is hard. It has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’ve been cigarette free for over six months now. I’m not saying I will never smoke again, but, if I have the occasional cigarette at a time of crisis I hope I will never become addicted again.
The problem with being a Christian and giving up smoking is that all the forces of Hades are unleashed to stop you from succeeding. There are some interesting life stories out there about Christians who have instantly been healed from the addiction. One famous Christian singer prayed about it, spewed up a black substance and completely lost the urge to smoke. These kind of stories saturate the Christian world. But if there is no sign of instantaneous healing, if you have to give up day after day after day, how can it be done? Whoever you are.
Firstly, let your nose and lungs rebel. In a way that is more rebellious than complying with the cigarette companies and self-destructive tendencies.
With me, I drastically cut down on cigarettes before I gave up completely. If you are smoking more than a packet a day, try to cut down and only smoke after meals and in the morning.
Next, you need a good reason. I got married so I wanted to give up for myself and for my wife. Do it for others if it helps and doing it for yourself isn’t enough.
Most importantly reward yourself for it. I heard a preacher once say “God knows when you do something hard, he sees that and rewards it.” Allow God to reward you through your own actions. Go easy on yourself and buy something you really want. That isn’t a lack of faith, it is using your brain.
Set a day to give up completely and then try not to think about smoking at all. I got ulcers in my mouth when I gave up and people said I wasn’t nice to be around – it’s a great excuse to think cruel thoughts about everyone who will irritate you (and that will mean everyone).
When something goes wrong the first thing you will want to do is to have a cigarette. That’s the worst part. If you do have a cigarette, give up again. Keep a chart and just put a mark on the days when you fail. Be relentless, but be relentless a day at a time.
I didn’t use an NHS group, but they can be helpful for many. I used nicotine gum and an inhaler. Use the support. Supposing no instantaneous healing takes place you are going to need some kind of support.
Finally, consider praying about it. If you are not going to be instantaneously healed then God owes you! (He must have some responsibilities). If you don’t ‘do prayer’, keep it open as an option in times of intense temptation.
So this is it. This is how it happens. You give up smoking, write a blog entry about it and then you give God the credit and glory if he has helped you. Just a drop in the waters of millions and millions of people saying exactly the same thing. Or you hold back and take the credit yourself.
So what should I do? Should I thank God and say I couldn’t have done it without him or should I claim that it was my own willpower which did it? And what if I start smoking again anyway? What if a year from now someone close to me dies and I start smoking again? What’s in it for me, I mean, to give God the credit?
Two choices: give thanks to God, or say it was all down to me. Two choices, smoke or don’t smoke. Two choices, rebel or comply.
But all the forces of Hades couldn’t stop me saying I can’t do it without God.