The other day we talked about hidden and presumptuous sin. Yesterday one of the the things we discussed is idolatry, which is anything we put before the Lord. He has been working in my heart and mind since February about stopping smoking, which He’s been dealing with me on in several layers. First, my body is not my own, and it’s not up to me to call the shots if I’m truly following Christ. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor 6:19-20)

The Lord showed me that my cigarettes had become an idol. Nancy Pearcey said this about idolatry (Rom 1:22-25): “Scripture treats the topic of idolatry far more subtly. An idol is anything we want more than God, anything we rely on more that God, anything we look to for greater fulfillment than God. Idolatry is thus the hidden sin driving all other sins.” I came to understand that I was serving the creature (the cigarette) more than the Creator in the amount of time I spent, and that I smoked a cigarette each morning before going to the Lord.

If you’ve never been a smoker, you don’t understand what an uphill battle I’m facing. Today is Day 4 without smoking. Granted, I’m using a step-down transdermal patch that my husband researched for me at my request. That takes care of stepping down on nicotine, but it doesn’t address the habit or the triggers. I’ve found a few coping measures, and the straw I’m using seems to satisfy the hand-to-mouth muscle memory.

But what has helped the most is that I’ve replaced the cigarette with seeking the Lord all the more, because “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). He doesn’t ask me to do anything without promising to be with me, giving me His strength. I’ve done pretty well for the most part, but last night I felt an strong urge for a cigarette. Now I still have 7 left in the pack I didn’t finish on Saturday, but I’ve put them away in a bag in a drawer. I know they are there. But instead of reaching for one last night I instead went to make a cup of sleepy time tea, and prayed thanking for the strength He provides to overcome. Because as He lives in me and has overcome the world, I am also an overcomer in His strength.

It’s no accident that on the very day I had chosen to become a non-smoker, He put a plan into action that would have me start back to church–a fellowship of believers on the same day–to gather strength from the Lord. The Lord called me to give up something I was putting before Him, and He promised to be with me and strengthen me when I put Him first. Hallelujah! “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt 6:33) Is the Lord dealing with you in making certain you are putting things in the proper order? If so, I would love to hear about it. We all need prayers of the saints!

Lord, thank You for loving me enough to stay after me when You see me out of order in my life, and for giving me the strength and power to make the changes You encourage me to make. Thank You that as the great deceiver whispers in my ear that it’s too difficult or that I deserve to do what I want with my own body, Your Spirit is there to remind me that Your Word is the eternal truth and You say to have no other gods before You. You also remind me that my eternal life with You was purchased by the blood of Jesus at a great price, and my body is not my own. Instead, I am Your bond-servant because You are my Lord and Savior. You haven’t only given me eternity in heaven, but You have promised to bring heaven to earth if I abide in You. Thank You for overcoming this sin in my life. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.