A lot of my friends from school could ‘get served’ at the local offy, which was known to be pretty lenient about ID etc.
At first it was a case of holding my nerve and trying not to splutter as the tar rattled my lungs. After a few more tries it was easy enough to burn one down. I enjoyed the whole little ritual of it.
I would pride myself for years on ‘not being addicted’. I could go weeks – months even – without a cigarette. I would , however, hit it hard in bursts and easily get through a pack of ten in a night. I thought as long as I wasn’t ‘needing’ them that I was ‘alright’. But I would look forward to the chance to binge-smoke.
I’m a musician for a living and work a lot in pubs. Even with the smoking ban, it’s still a smoky environment. Many of my non-Christian friends in the pub industry would invite me out for a smoke and I saw nothing much wrong in joining them. There is something naughty, self-indulgent and slightly wistful about the breathing in and calm exhaling of smoke.
But it’s all a nasty, deceptive and destructive illusion. As I’ve grown in my walk with Jesus, I’ve come to loathe the very thought of smoking. I’ve watched friends parents die of cancers caused in part by passive smoking, and seen how it robs people of their health and vitality.
I’ve come to see that dabbling in the evil weed is nothing short of dancing with death itself. There is no redeeming feature of smoking. It’s not a cheeky little vice, a bit of naughtiness on the side – it’s from hell.
I think people smoke for lots of reasons, but none of them from a healthy state of mind. It’s selfish, short-sighted and symptom of low self-esteem. Let’s call it what it is. No one with a decent respect and love for themselves smokes. It’s a dark coping-mechanism for deep dissatisfaction with life and self. That’s my position from my own introspection.
So – if you or someone you know smokes, heavily or not – it’s got to be grace and truth that loves them away from self-destruction. A revelation of our value in God’s eyes ought to do it. We don’t want to hurt what he treasures when we know how expensive we were for him to buy at the cross.
The enjoyment of smoking is literally ashes in the mouth compared with the health and self-worth I now have without it in my life.