When I was a non-Christian interacting with Christians, I had mixed feelings about them. On the one hand, I admired them for not cheapening their lives with the activities that accompany a sinful lifestyle. On the other hand, I assumed Christians had no fun since they did not exercise my idea of “freedom.” To me, freedom included the use of foul language, drinking excessively, and a lot of other things. After I became a Christian, I realized had not been free at all. I had been a slave to my sins, and Christians were the ones who were really free.
I began to pursue my own freedom and explored the ideas of repentance and deliverance. I learned if I repent of something, I turn my back on it. I give it up and don’t look back on it longingly. I learned from the Bible that if God delivers me from a sin, then He will give me the strength to overcome it. He will take it away from me. In the story of my salvation, I usually do not linger on the experience of repentance and deliverance even though it was an important part of my spiritual growth.
It was actually quite miraculous the way the Lord instantly helped me to repent of my sins and gave me strength to give them up, but that makes the story anticlimactic. There is simply not much to tell. I admit I did backslide into some of my sinful habits but soon realized they were not fun anymore. In contrast, there was a sin that I simply could not seem to give up. That was smoking cigarettes.
I continued smoking for sixteen years after I became a Christian even though I wanted to stop. I wanted to repent and be delivered just as I was from the other sins, but this sin was a stronghold in my life. I would not let go of it even though I knew I was a slave to it. I tried the nicotine patch several times with no success, but I tried it again with a prescription smoking cessation medication with a different result.
I was suddenly suffering from multiple side effects including frequent anxiety attacks. Worse yet, the desire to smoke was still raging inside of me. During one unusually long panic attack, I cried out to God and begged him to make the panic attack. Suddenly and audibly, I heard him. He promised to make the panic attack stop if I would quit smoking. Then my panic attack stopped. Strangely, my desire to smoke also disappeared in a sudden way. I felt a little tempted that evening, and the next morning the temptation was almost gone completely.
The Lord had miraculously delivered me from several sins early on in my spiritual walk. Later, He also delivered me a stronghold: smoking. He is an awe-inspiring God who loves His children too much to let us be slaves to sin. He wants to draw us away from sin so we can enjoy a closer love relationship with Him. I pray God delivers you from every sin including your stronghold in a sudden and miraculous way so you can see He is our Almighty God. Thanks for reading and God bless!