Published June 15, 2010

Paul's Epistle...
"Smoking - Responses"

Last week's column on smoking prompted what we used to call a "testimony time!" I received an unusually large number of responses. One said, "I was delighted to see the stand you took on smoking! Your answer was right on!" Another noted, "Thank you for your excellent article on smoking. The subject is not mentioned very often from pulpits today." (Heaven forbid we should step on someone's toes.)

But as I mentioned, the most common responses were testimonies. Let me share a few...

"I smoked for many years but when I committed my life totally to Christ I quite smoking and it was not that hard to do. You do have to make up your own mind that you need to quit and make that commitment to yourself and to God and then you can do it with God's help. I had quit several times before this and had always started back. I have [not smoked] now since May 1st, 1991." – M. S.

"Paul, I was a smoker when I got saved. I was 18. I continued to smoke until about 20... When I decided to quit I asked Jesus to take away the desire and I haven't had one since. I'm 55 now. There must be a real desire to quit smoking. I've never known the Lord to force anyone to quit but He is more than ready and willing to help." – S. A.

"It is the ‘I can't' part of the problem, as well as not fully submitting it to Christ. When I reached the point of realizing I couldn't, but Christ could, and fully handing it all over to Him, that this addiction was instantly and completely gone. No more desire to smoke. It was as if I had never smoked..." – Pastor J.

"I am 74 years old now and I haven't smoked in years and years. I was teaching a young people's class and suddenly I thought, ‘You leave here on Sunday morning. What you are doing is harmful to the body and mind.' I left church that morning and haven't touched a cigarette since. God convicted me that morning that what I was doing was sinful and wrong." – B.

"I agree with you that Christians should not smoke. I quit when my young son wanted to emulate me 37 years ago..." – L. W.

"Before I was saved I tried to quit smoking but couldn't. Once I got saved and had a genuine salvation/repentance, God was helping me quit smoking and I did..." – S.

"In 1999, after 26 years of smoking up to 60 cigarettes a day, I decided to stop smoking. I tried all the cures – nicotine strips, bubblegum, you name it. In August 1999 I gave my heart to our Lord Jesus... I prayed and asked God to help me to stop. That night I had a dream and in the dream Jesus asked me to put all my bad habits at his feet. In the dream I put the cigarettes at his feet. The next morning I told my wife that I was finally giving up – God instantly took away all desire and I stopped there and then... After 11 years...all desire is still gone." – S. G.

"God is not going to intervene until that person is ready to quit. I smoked for about 25 years, from about 9 or 10 years of age until 36. I know what it is like to try to quit in your own strength – it is almost impossible. I would always joke, ‘I can quit anytime I want,' and I would quit, two or three times a week. I did not get saved until I was 34. After God saved me I still smoked until one day the Pastor asked me to serve as deacon in the church. ‘I can't,' I replied, ‘because I smoke.' However, he suggested that I go and pray about it. Which I did. My words to God were, ‘I can't quit smoking.' He impressed on my heart, ‘I know you can't, but I can.' I am 76 years old and have not smoked a cigarette, pipe or cigar since that day. When that person surrenders their life completely, God will intervene." – H. K.

And there quite a few similar testimonies, all along the same line. Clearly, the Lord is ready and willing to help by taking away all desire to smoke – if you are sincere and your request to Him for such help, as evidenced by these readers' own experiences.

Quite a few respondents referenced this helpful Scripture: "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Yours for cleaner air and a stronger witness,

- Paul

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