How can I quit?
Many Christians who have been heavy smokers for years can readily empathize with the plight of anyone trying to quit smoking and can fully understand the struggle experienced by those who desire to quit. It’s certainly not easy, but it can be done. Many two-pack-a-day smokers are now smoke-free and can attest to the fact that it can be done when we turn it over to God and rely on His strength and power.
There are numerous reasons why quitting the smoking habit is a good idea for everyone, but especially for Christians. If a Christian is unsure of why to quit smoking and unsure as to whether or not it constitutes sin, our article entitled “What is the Christian view of smoking? Is smoking a sin?” would be a good place to start. The reasons outlined in the article should provide ample motivation to a smoker who is still unsure whether or not to quit. If one has already determined to quit smoking, it should be understood that stopping smoking is known to be one of the most difficult things to do. Research has shown that nicotine is a very addictive substance, even more addictive than heroin, some say.
But that fact need not discourage us. Paul tells us in Philippians, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV). Even though it is difficult, and full withdrawal may take time before one no longer desires cigarettes, as Christians we are to look to God from whom our help comes. We set our hearts on things above and pray the Lord will give us the strength to gain the victory in this trial. So many people leave the Lord out in their attempt to overcome bad habits, and that is a huge mistake. Prayer is expressly for these types of situations, where we can take our problems directly to the throne of God and to Him who can solve them.
Relying on the power of the Holy Spirit does not necessarily mean that medical stop-smoking aids cannot be used as well. Many have received great help through the various patches, gums, pills, etc. After prayer and consultation with a doctor, if God gives you peace about using a medical stop-smoking aid, there is no biblical reason why you cannot.
God has declared that His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). Where we are weak, He is strong. Our desire for cigarettes will be reduced as we grow and gain strength in the Lord. The power of God will work within us to alleviate the pressure to smoke, all to His glory. God will give us the strength to put Christ first and ourselves last. In this we will find that what we give up will be more than compensated by what we gain.
Is smoking a sin?
The Bible never directly mentions smoking. There are principles, however, that definitely apply to smoking. First, the Bible commands us not to allow our bodies to become “mastered” by anything. “Everything is permissible for me—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me—but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Smoking is undeniably strongly addictive. Later in the same passage we are told, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Smoking is undoubtedly very bad for your health. Smoking has been proven to damage the lungs and the heart.
Can smoking be considered “beneficial” (1 Corinthians 6:12)? Can it be said that smoking is truly honoring God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:20)? Can a person honestly smoke “for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31)? We believe that the answer to these three questions is a resounding “no.” As a result, we believe that smoking is a sin and therefore should not be practiced by followers of Jesus Christ.
Some argue against this view by pointing to the fact that many people eat unhealthy foods, which can be just as addicting and just as bad for the body. As an example, many people are so helplessly addicted to caffeine that they cannot function without their first cup of coffee in the morning. While this is true, how does that make smoking right? It is my contention that Christians should avoid gluttony and excessively unhealthy eating. Yes, Christians are often hypocritical by condemning one sin and condoning another, but, again, this does not make smoking honoring to God.
Another argument against this view of smoking is that many godly men have been smokers, such as the famous British preacher C.H. Spurgeon, who was known to smoke cigars. Again, I do not believe this argument holds any weight. I believe Spurgeon was wrong for smoking. Was he otherwise a godly man and fantastic teacher of God’s Word? Absolutely! Does that make all of his actions and habits honoring to God? No.
In stating that smoking is a sin, we are not stating that all smokers are unsaved. There are many true believers in Jesus Christ who smoke. Smoking does not prevent a person from being saved. Nor does it cause a person to lose salvation. Smoking is no less forgivable than any other sin, whether for a person becoming a Christian or a Christian confessing his/her sin to God (1 John 1:9). At the same time, we firmly believe that smoking is a sin that should be forsaken and, with God’s help, overcome.