There is a difference between being a “Christian” and following Christ. When I went to church before I picked up my cross I, when I did try to follow Him, would be the typical showing up on Sunday, postponing my morning cigarette so my sin didn’t get looked down on. Dressed up, put on my saved face and acted the part for the duration of the service.
1 John 3:6 Those who live in Christ don’t go on sinning. Those who go on sinning haven’t seen or known Christ.
I pretended around other Christians on days I wasn’t at church because I wanted them to approve of me. The truth was, I lived a very ugly life. If you were to secretly record my life as I really lived it, I would have never been welcome in a church.
Titus 1:16 They claim to know God, but they deny him by what they do. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit to do anything good.
Flash forward to my true conversion. I am aware that the Lord sees everything I do. Every day I am aware of this and now all I want to do is please Him. I fall short more than I care to admit. And truth is, everything I do falls short in light of His holiness. But I know He sees my heart and I know that He sees how much I want to please Him and that is what matters most.
Psalm 119:20 “My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.
That being said. I have smoked for all of my teenage years and my adult life. It has been the one thing I have been unable to put down. I have asked Him to remove it, but of course He isn’t gonna slap it out of my hand. I would have just picked up another if He did.
I often fluctuated between searching scriptures to find a loophole and falling face down sobbing over my disobedience. I would commit over and over again for the last 2 years to put it down and then I would stub a toe or the dog would look at me funny and I had to go feed my addiction. I have even tried to compare the sinner I used to be to what He has transformed in me now and tried to tell Him that at least I’m not doing…. or …. but when the Holy Spirit refused to let me settle on that lie, I finally stopped that.
Then I began a few months ago, praying not for Him to take it, but to change my mind about it. Daily I have pleaded in prayer for Him to give me a mind that will let go. The past few weeks I have begun to actually see it differently. And I began to see that I must let go of all things that come before Him. No matter how uncomfortable. I believe I would die for Him, but I won’t let go of an addiction… very sad realization.
So, I finally made up my mind that everything would go wrong the moment I put down the habit. I prepared scripture to read every time I felt weak. I was gonna cling to Him every second I was tempted or it felt too hard.
2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
And you know what? It’s working. Every day there have been legitimate catastrophes, begging to get a relief with a cigarette. But funny thing is, I know they are going to happen so rather than seeing cigarettes as relief, I see the self deception. They won’t fix anything. I did find myself asking Jesus today how this agitation and confusion (withdrawal) is pleasing to Him. And yet I know I am doing it because I love Him, and that pleases Him.
Jeremiah 17:10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.
I ask for anyone reading this, that you would pray for me. I am going to continue having many hurdles and I want so desperately to be obedient. I don’t pretend I am without other sin, this one is just predetermined, and I don’t want to live with the guilt and shame any longer.