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I Have a Question - Part 3

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 1 Corinthians 15:57, Luke 11:13
This talk answers questions sent in by listeners. The question is, "Can you tell me how to overcome the tobacco habit?" Practical tips are giving to break this habit, but the primary step to victory comes from asking God to give you the victory. It is a step of faith.
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Here's another question that is very interesting and we have received a number of other inquiries very similar to this. Can you tell me how to overcome the tobacco habit? The doctor says that I will die soon if I don't quit smoking.

Avoiding chronic irritation and abuse of organs is the keystone of cancer prevention. Smoking irritates and abuses the lungs. The 500 billion cigarettes smoked in the United States last year would, if placed end to end make eleven round trips to the moon. It is strange, even though tragic, that well over 500,000 of our citizens die each year from cancer of the lungs, and many more thousands die from the distressing crippling disease emphysema, cigarette induced. In less than 20 years, deaths from emphysema increased 900%. A cancer survey among people who do not use tobacco, made by the Kettering Cancer Institute of New York, revealed that primary cancer of the lungs is so rare that such a case would make a museum specimen. But such reliable, incontrovertible statistics make little impression upon the average smoker until his personal number is called.

Friends, this is a physical problem, but it is also a moral problem. We've mentioned before on this broadcast that our bodies are the sacred temples of God for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17 we are told that those who destroy or defile their bodies will also be destroyed by God in turn. Therefore, we must preserve, as far as possible, the best of health and strength as we take care of these marvelous body machines. There are a number of things, of course, that will help one in casting off the physical addiction to the terrible nicotine habit. One must recognize that it is actually a form of drug addiction. There are actual withdrawal symptoms when one finally makes the break with nicotine.

One of the first things is to try to get the poison out of the system completely. This is possible by following some sound rules of proper diet, drinking lots of water and especially fruit juices and taking numerous showers and hot baths. One should get a lot of exercise at the same time and stay away from the places where the tobacco habit has been largely indulged. There is a regular "5-Day Plan" which has enabled thousands of people to dispose of their cigarette habit. All of these physical factors which I have mentioned play a part in that "5-Day Plan". But I am going to suggest something on the broadcast today which I feel will be even more effective in helping one to take the steps to complete victory over tobacco. We must freely admit that there are many, many individuals who cannot in their own strength take this step. I've seen strong men break down weeping bitterly because they seemed to have no will power to break the chains which bound them. But friends, listen, when we do not have enough strength, there is a wonderful promise of the Bible which applies to us. In 1 Corinthians 15:57, "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Now lets face it, friends, none of us are as strong as the devil. If we're trying to combat him in our poor human strength, we will fail every time. There is only one who has actually put Satan to flight and completely overcome him, that is Jesus Christ. Now He promises to give us that victory. We cannot earn it, we do not deserve it, but He says He will give us the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. If this thing is a gift, we must receive it. That's the only thing we can do. Simply accept it in faith. We cannot pay for it, we cannot struggle for it, we can only receive it. That means that we must ask Him in faith to give the victory. Perhaps someone raises the question as to whether this might be God's will for us. Listen friends, there are some prayers that we must always present according to God's will. For example; if we want healing for sickness, we pray that if it is God's will, we might have it. If we want certain physical things in this life, we should always ask according to God's will, but when we come asking for the forgiveness of sins or the victory over sin, we can pray without any reservation and without asking according to God's will. He has already assured us in the Bible that it is His will for us to be saved, to be forgiven and to be cleansed from these habits.

Here's a promise that applies to you in this case. In Luke 11:13 Jesus said, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Now there is something you can really believe in. If you lack power, He promises to give it to you free. He will even more gladly give to you than you would give to your own children if they were hungry. So when you ask for the Holy Spirit or power to overcome the tobacco habit, you can fully believe that He will do it immediately. But how do you know that He gives the power to overcome the habit? Are you to wait for some feeling to come to prove the prayer has been answered? Of course not. In that case no faith would be involved, it would be a matter of feeling. You must accept the fact by faith that He bestows upon you a reservoir of tremendous power to overcome that habit. You must accept the victory from Him even though you feel nothing. It must be by faith.

Listen to this text in Romans 6:11, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Now, what does that word reckon mean? It's an old southern expression which means, "To believe". If I say, "I reckon I'll go downtown," it means I believe I will go downtown. So when we say that we must reckon ourselves dead to the sin that we've asked God to give victory over, we must believe and accept the fact that God did what He said that He would do. We may not feel a single thing physically, but in our minds, we must accept by faith the glorious fact that in that very moment God has given the power we asked for. That there will be no more defeat, no more yielding to that habit of sin.

Do you remember the time Jesus invited Peter to walk on the water? Peter stepped out of the boat and actually began to do the impossible. How long was he able to continue walking on the water? As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to do the impossible. But the very moment he turned to look at his friends to see if they were watching his great feat, immediately he began to sink. Now listen, the impossible is possible for any of us, as long as we keep looking in faith to Jesus Christ who is able to give us the victory. The impossible, right now as far as you're concerned, is to stop smoking. Therefore you look in faith to Christ, you accept the fact that He has promised to give you the victory. You believe that He gives it the moment you ask for it, then you thank Him immediately that He has done what He promised, regardless of how you feel. You arise from your knees rejoicing. You tell everybody you meet that you have the victory, God has given it to you, and you no longer have the tobacco habit. As long as you continue believing that God gave you His power according to His promise, you will not smoke again.

Now, friends, that's just how simple it is. You must somehow muster up all the faith you have and concentrate it upon that one moment when you will ask God to give you the victory, then accept what He has promised, believe that He gives it to you at that very moment, rise from your knees in full faith that it has been done regardless of how you feel and begin to think and talk in terms of having the victory now through Him.

Add one more text now in Romans 13:14, "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." Please notice that this is a very, very necessary step in continuing with the victory over tobacco. You must arise knowing now that the victory has been given by Christ. You are not doing it in your own strength. If you were just trying in your human effort you might be fearful of falling again. But this time you're arising in the full faith that God has done it. He has given the power, and that power cannot fail. God does not do anything half way. It has been done, it has been done completely. So when you get up off your knees, you are not thinking in terms of just merely trying and then perhaps failing tomorrow. You are not going to put those cigarettes on a shelf somewhere and say, "Well, I'll do my very best, but if I don't make it I know where I can come back and get some cigarettes." No, that was done perhaps when you were doing it in human effort alone, but now you get up without any thought of ever smoking again. You have claimed the power and promise of God, you're going forward in faith, and you make no provision at all for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof. You get rid of all the cigarettes and tobacco in your home or about your person, then you can continue looking to Him for the victory that has been given. You continue living by faith, moment by moment, with divine power over the habit.

Many people are just like the little boy who disobeyed his mother and went swimming when she told him not to do so. When he came back with his hair all wet his mother asked, "Why did you disobey me, son?" "Well," he said, "I got tempted, Ma." She said "Yes, but I noticed you took your bathing suit with you when you left this morning." He said, "Yes, I expected to get tempted, Ma." So there are many people today who are really planning to fail. They make provision to fall back on the habits they are trying to overcome. This is because they do it in human strength. But when they claim the power of God and exercise the faith in Him, by accepting the victory He is anxious to give, they no longer think in terms of failure, because God cannot fail. Their faith reaches out to Him, they are upheld by His mighty power, they go on from strength unto strength and from victory unto victory. They don't take a bathing suit with them, in other words. They do not make provision to fail.

Well, I hope these few thoughts may help you in knowing that you can overcome the tobacco habit. It is a fleshly evil that wars against the soul. It is a sin by which a man defiles and destroys his own body, and for which God will destroy a man eventually. So reach out and take hold of His promise. He wants to cleanse you now, and it's His will to give you the victory at this very moment.

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