My mother-in-law had been a chain smoker for 36 years. Like many with addictions, she had tried to stop numerous times. She had tried all of the methods out at that time with no success. The power of the addiction was too much.
My mother-in-law was a Christian who loved God. This made it tough. She had heard the statements like, “Smoking might not send you to hell, but it will make you smell like you have been there,” and then forced herself to laugh. But there was always the subtle condemnation. “If you really loved God, you would quit,” and the “What did he mean, ‘might not send you to hell’”?
Many times she would smoke over her bible, trying not to think of the tobacco between her fingers, always careful not to get ash on the pages. Then a thought came to her. “Smoking is not as big a deal to me as you are making it.” This thought seemed too good to be true. We all know the horrors of what smoking can do to our body. She knew it too and in later years would feel the effect of it. Smoking is a big deal, but what she knew about this thought was that it was in reference to her always feeling that her sin produced a separation between her and the God that she so wanted to be closer to. But a very strange thing happened to Linda. She did not rejoice and buy a truckload of cigarettes. Not long after that thought, Linda, my mother in law quit smoking for good.
I have good news for you. God loves you now. Still got sin? Still got addictions? Still have problems? Join the crowd. But you can come to God just as you are.
If you try to straighten yourself up first you will never come. You can’t get there from here. You cannot straighten yourself up first. Come to him first and he will take care of the rest. No one takes a sponge bath before they jump in the shower. Jump in and Christ can clean you up!
“for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace…” Romans 3:23,24.