Today is my day four as a non-smoker. That means I’ve said no to the flesh, resisted temptation and mentally refused my addiction at least one thousand times in almost 96 hours. Yay for me, right?
Well Deja vu. I’ve been here before. God had released me from smoking after 36 years. I lived in this freedom almost two full years smoke free and didn’t miss cigarettes a bit. Not smoking had great benefits. The money saved allowed us to add a second child sponsorship, this time helping a young adult continue her education in Haiti. My overall heath improved. My hair, clothes and breath didn’t stink anymore. I was no longer a slave to the habit.
Then stress began to build in my life. The desire to smoke became very strong. I knew I shouldn’t but I did it anyway ….. defiantly justifying that it’s legal, I’m an adult, it’s my choice, I can if I want to and I’ll have “just this one”.
1 Corinthians 6:12 NLT
You may say, “I am allowed to do anything.” But I reply, “Not everything is good for you.” And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.
Well newsflash, that “one” was my undoing. Very quickly I enslaved myself to the cigarette. Again!! That pack was always close by, lighters were always within reach. I looked forward to smoke breaks as if they were pedicures. Smoking was a guilty nasty stinky expensive disobedient unhealthy gross secret pacifier. I knew in my heart this wasn’t what God wanted from me. I did it anyway.
Romans 7:15 NLT
I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate.
I struggle, defy, disobey, disappoint, fall away. My God reaches down from Heaven in love, covering me with forgiveness and grace, concerned with the smallest flawed detail of me. The Holy Spirit quietly and persistently drives me towards what He wants from me. Sometimes the small still voice sounds like thunder but even as His truth convicts He still gives me room to choose ….. to surrender to His will, to obey, to submit, to repent. To change. There is a difference between remorse and repentance. He wants my willing heart, not someone who goes along out of obligation, requirement or expectation. He wants me to get to the root of the issue, expose it to light and to choose to live in His freedom.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)
22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
To hear the messages that God used to move my heart from remorse to repentance, go to www.lifesongchurchonline.com and search service video archives for BlackListed, weeks 1, 2 and 3.