I know this issue is in the hearts of many Christians today. Many have come to Christ and have had radical conversions, only to be left with struggling with addiction to cigarettes.
Is smoking a sin? How can a person be free from such an addiction? What is it easier for some people to quit than others? What are some good reasons a Christian should quit smoking?
Human beings are complex. The Bible explains us as being images that were created in God's likeness (image), yet we are living in a fallen state due to the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The traits in us that look like God are distorted now. Every person that has been born now expresses independence from God. We call it 'self-autonomy'. We want to be God. We want to call the shots. We want to run our lives and the lives of others. We want to sit on the throne. This is the essence of our sins.
Not only are we born in sin, but we express sin in our lives every day, because of autonomy (wanting to be God and control things). Some sins we do are passive, while others are acts of rebellion. All of our sins have been dealt with on the Cross of Jesus Christ. But while we still live in a human body, we will still be affected by sin, and will still struggle with sin, even after we come to Christ.
Smoking is one of those sins that could be part of our lives for different reasons. For many, it started out as pride. We wanted to impress our schoolmates with how cool we were. We wanted to copy the adults and gain the respect and admiration of our teen peers. We didn't realize that, one day, we would be sorry we started smoking, because it would be very hard to break the habit. Some smoke because they believe it helps with stress. Whatever the reason, we are left with an addiction that is hard to break.
If you are a Christian who smokes, you may wonder if God can forgive you because you light up several times a day. God can forgive any and all sins. God can also break the power of bondage over us. When you came to Christ in repentance and faith, God cleansed your heart with the blood of Jesus Christ and your sins will never be remembered any more. But then, why do we struggle with guilt? Because we know that smoking is wrong. It is not good for our health and it takes a lot of money.
Do you want to quit smoking? How badly do you want to quit? I believe that if the reasons for quitting are strong enough for you to want to quit, you will be motivated rightly to quit. But if it is not that important to you, you most likely won't quit.
I see a couple of reasons, although there may be more, why a person who knows Jesus Christ as Savior should quit. First, there is something about being more effective as a witness for the Lord if you don't smoke. I know a man who was a chain smoker, who wanted to evangelize those who worked for him, but felt hindered because of his smoking. He felt somewhat ineffective while he shared the Gospel with them. His desire was strong to quit, but it never happened. But one day, he woke up and had no desire to smoke anymore! He was free from smoking.
Secondly, the smoking habit takes a lot of money. If we understand that the money we have isn't ours in the first place, we might reconsider the smoking habit. It we look at the numbers, there are a lot of things we can buy, including good food, if we don't have a smoking habit that we have to support. We will give account to God of how we spent the money he allowed us to use.
Third, smoking is just not good for our health. We all know the statistics. Smoking is harmful and increases our risk of sicknesses. God wants us to be healthy and strong for Him so we can openly live out our lives for His glory. We can't do that if we have lung cancer or have shortness of breath due to smoking.
And the fourth reason is simply because of guilt. We feel guilty when we smoke. Eventually, we get used to it, and ignore our feelings. But deep down inside, we feel guilty. We haven't done a great crime, but we are stealing from God and harming the life He gave us to live out for His glory. We know that. That's why we have guilt.
There is another reason too, and maybe it encompasses all the other reasons. It is that smoking is slavery. We are a slave to something else, and not to God in that area. In a sense, the cigarette is our god. So, it is also a form of idolatry. It will keep us from experiencing the wonderful things God has for us.
I guess, the way you could look at smoking is this; Do I want to be free from the smoking addiction or am I content to stay here? I have heard that smoking stunts your growth. I wonder if it stunts our spiritual growth as well. If we are in debt to something, we usually want to get out from it. We don't want to be a servant to whoever we borrowed from. Smoking is like that. We are enslaved to the cigarette. But we can be free, I believe. God can break the habit for us. But even more, God wants our hearts. We have to have a good enough reason to want to be free from addiction. If the reason is strong enough in our hearts, we can wrestle with God and cry out to Him for deliverance. We might have to pray for days or weeks, but if we are desperate enough, God can change us. And if we are not desperate enough, we can ask God to make us desperate. Our only hope is in God to break the chains of addiction for us.