According to the CDC, an estimated 37.8 million adults in the Unites States currently smoke cigarettes and more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. If you’re reading this right now, you likely know someone who smokes cigarettes or struggles with a smoking-related disease. While smoking is down, almost 38 million American adults still smoke cigarettes. While the Bible doesn’t directly address smoking, there are principles that apply to smoking in Scripture that we should be mindful of.
Our health is so important to the Lord that in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, He calls our bodies temples of God: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’ temple is holy and you are that temple.” Remember, we are commanded not to take in things that will harm what is so precious to Him. While we will face temptation in our day-to-day lives, we are happier when we are doing right by our bodies. We are called to honor our personal temple in order to enter His. Cigarette smoking will damage major organs including the heart and lungs. This is in conflict with God’s desire for our bodies, for us to be serious about our health.
Smoking is not only bad for your health, but it is also highly addictive. Before you know it, smoking can become an idol. You become a slave to an unhealthy habit. This is extremely dangerous because when you become addicted to something, you’re choosing desires and works of the flesh over God. Addiction is dangerous because it takes you completely away from God. When you have an addiction, you are relying on substances to make you whole, not God. The Bible warns us of this, but also offers us assurance. First Corinthians 10:13-14 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” Smoking is not only harmful to your body, but also pushes you away from God.
While people often think of the damages smoking can cause their own bodies, they often forget how harmful smoking can be to those who they are surrounded by – including spouses and children. Matthew 22:39 commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. There is scientific evidence of the damaging effects of secondhand smoke and the high costs of smoking-related health problems. Smoking can be just as damaging to the smoking party’s loved one as it is to them.
Some people wonder if there is a difference smoking occasionally as opposed to all the time in God’s eyes. The truth is, whether you’re smoking occasionally, socially or all the time, you are still taking in nicotine and tar which are toxic chemicals in your body. Any contact with these chemicals is damaging to your health.
If you’re struggling with smoking as an addiction, you can turn to God and ask Him for help. This can be done through prayer. Surrendering yourself means following God’s lead. It’s important that you pray for healing from your addiction, that God would take charge and control in yourself. We can find the strength to fight the addiction with God’s help. Every moment of every day you have the freedom to call on God for our deepest needs. What you think about is the most important factor in how you feel and what you say and do. Your thinking determines the person you become. Real, lasting change is always an inside our process that begins with our mind, goes down into our heart and body and then goes outward into our behavior and relationships. If you are looking to remove smoking as a habit and for your mind, body and spirit to be renewed, turn to this prayer:
Dear Lord, I come before You today in need of Your healing hand. I particularly come to You today to seek Your face on this habit of smoking – a long time habit that I find difficult to break. I’m especially in need of Your grace and strength as this addiction is really hard to shake. I know that In You all things are possible.
Hold my heart within Yours, and renew my mind, body and soul. I am lost, but I come to You with grace. You gave us life, and You also give us the gift of infinite joy. Give me the strength to move forward on the path you’ve laid out for me. Guide me towards better health and give me the wisdom to identify those you’ve placed around me to help me get better. Amen.
We are God’s loving children. He created us and loved us enough to send Jesus into the world to pay the price for our sins. As Christians, we are called not to abuse our bodies. They are God’s property. We know the facts about cigarettes. They are incredibly dangerous to our health. As Christians, we should avoid them at all costs.