Gave Up Giving Up
It's been approximately 3 years since I gave my heart to God. I was supposed to be a Christian, but somehow I had not been living like one was supposed to live. I had been mixing with the wrong crowd and now I found myself to be a smoker. 20 a day was the norm for me, but on a bad day I would smoke twice as many.
I had tried to give up numerous times, but at each attempt, I would cough out unpleasant black substance that would hurt me from the front right through to the back of my chest. The process of my body trying to clear itself of the black substance would send me into fits of unstoppable coughing, with pain that was just unbearable. However, whenever I would start to take up smoking again, the withdrawal of the black substance would stop, the pain would disappear, and everything would be OK again. So, it would seem better for me to continue smoking. And after 7-8 attempts of trying to give up smoking, I gave up giving up.
Despite this destructive habit, I still have a love for God inside me. I still believe in Christ. I kept thinking,
"One day I'll be a better Christian and will clean up my act! I'll get round to it somehow, but just not at the moment".
Then one summer's evening, as I gazed out of my bedroom window into the orange sunset, I felt my heart filling up with love for God. I found myself crying out to God,
"God, what can I do to show you that I love you?"
I had been holding a Bible in my hand, when suddenly the pages ruffled and fell open all by itself. I looked at the page that was before me, and the following leapt up at me:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.
When I read this, I knew in my heart that I had to quit smoking! The Holy Spirit was living inside me, and I was choking it with smoke (so to speak). I wasn't respecting my body as God's holy temple where His Spirit lives. I began to reason with God saying,
"God, you know that I have tried many times to give up smoking, but I cough out black stuff, and its painful. I find it really hard. If you want me to give up, you will have to help me!".
That was that. That was the end of my conversation with God that day. I had not realised it, but something changed from that moment!
Indeed, it was days after, when I began to realise that I have not had a cigarette in days! That was so strange, I thought! It was not like me to go without cigarette for days. Furthermore, I had not coughed out any black stuff at all. I felt no pain, nor did I have any fits of coughing. I was amazed. God must have been helping me! I was no longer trying to give up smoking on my own strength, but I had actually given up smoking with His strength, without realising it!
It didn't take long until one of my friends offered me a cigarette, and to my surprise, I declined without hesitation. In fact, I felt a hatred for cigarettes ever since. I could no longer be tempted. What an amazing turn around! Praise God!
To this day - 21 years later - I am free from the chains of smoking (no pun intended). I respect and look after my body that God has given me, and I cherish more than ever the Holy Spirit inside me that continually guides me in this life. For it is true that:
I can do all this through him who gives me strength
© Elma Larsen. All rights reserved.