A Bad Habit: Do You Have It?

Have I ever told you about my good friend Russ from my childhood. Well, while I was preaching in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Russ came by from Texas on a visit. While he was there, he would go out on the back porch for a smoke. My four year old son Jamin loved to have visitors come by and became Russ’ shadow during his stay. One time while Russ was out on the porch enjoying a smoke, Jamin came out through the sliding glass door and ask Russ what he was doing. Russ told home he would soon come back in the house after he finished his smoke. Jamin sat down beside him and proceeded to lecture him on all the evils of smoking. A couple of years later Russ told me that he had finally kicked the habit and gave up smoking. He said he had calculated that if he had saved up all the money that he had spent on cigarettes, he would have had enough to buy a brand new Cadillac. Although economics was not what persuaded him to stop smoking, he said he could not get out of his mind the haunting message about the evils of smoking from my four year old son.

Beverley and I have lost too many friends and family over the years. Those whose lives were shorten unnecessary due to an addiction to those “coffin nails.” So we started early indoctrinating our children about the consequences of smoking. As far as I know, neither one was ever even tempted to smoke. In fact, we just might have over sold it just a bit. One day while sitting at the dinner table with the family, our daughter Tia, made an observation on just how bad smoking really can be. From the depths of her innocent three year old mind came this concern, “Mama, wouldn’t it be just terrible if a thief broke into our house while we were at church and smoked!”

Smokers are already at a much higher risk for stroke, cancer, and heart disease. But smokers are especially vulnerable to Covid-19. “Given how dangerous this disease is and how fast everything’s moving, all of the evidence that we’re seeing is pointing in the direction that both smoking (could) increase your risk of contracting disease and, if you get it, make it worse,” said Stanton Glantz, Director of the Centre for Tobacco Research Control and Education. Given the risk many are looking for ways to kick the habit before they end up in ICU on a ventilator fighting for their lives.

Now let me stop meddling and go to preaching. Vaping and smoking is not a entitlement or right of those created in the image of God. From the every beginning God did not give man the right to do anything he wanted to with is own body. In fact, when the first couple ate of the forbidden fruit, they brought upon themselves and mankind a malady far worse than Covid-19. Sin entered the world (Rom. 5:12). With regard to the old argument: “It is my body and I will do what I want to with it” consider what Paul wrote. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1).

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if one of the side benefits of Covid-19 was motivating people to stop smoking. Perhaps all of us need to reflect on the need to evaluate our own risky habits during this time.

– Daniel R. Vess

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