I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
This morning I decided to call a dear friend and go over to her house. I had given her a bulb for Christmas and wanted to take pictures of its blooms. But what I really wanted to do was share my heart, my struggles, praises and get her advice and prayer for me. I have decided to share that struggle with you. I am desperate and don't know what else I can do but get more prayer.
If you ask most christians who their best friend was they would say Jesus. Then as they widened their world it would go to other close friends and hopefully their church community.
I have been asking myself this morning who is my ready, Freddie best friend. To be completely honest with you I think it is my cigarettes. I go there when I am sad, happy, fearful, need to be in control, comforted, feel insecure and want to feel safe. And when when I want to meditate and be with Jesus. I know sounds weird. It is true. I have some of my most thought provoking moments when I am smoking on my back porch just me and Jesus.
Who is your best friend?
We are created to worship. The Lord is seeking those who will worship Him. We worship many things. My pastor once told me we are nest of idols. Just imagine all the sticks that it takes to make up a nest and that each stick is an idol. We worship our work, our clean houses, food, shopping, family (children, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers), pornography, alcohol, knowledge, education, our cars, tv, our accomplishments, ministry. We can make an idol out of anything. I have a friend who has exercised so much over the years she has trouble with her foot. She was leaning, because of it, on her good foot and broke her ankle. I have told her, good food is an idol for her. She use to carry her greens in a bag on vacation when we would go, everywhere we would go. I think God why couldn't you give me a struggle like that. My friend looks so good. My other friend said she use to smoke and God just set her free. Oh that is great! Now I am angry at God. Why doesn't He set me free? OK, I repent. Our bodies, beauty, strength. Anything. Our addictions.
We are nest of idols.
I feel like this tiny tree in our front yard right now with a nest of idols. Oh over the many years I have been set free from many. The thing that is the thorn in my flesh is this smoking thing. No doubt God has used it to humble my proud heart. I am so dang self righteous. I hate it. I justify the smoking. Steve Brown, I like to call my friend, smokes a pipe. He even speaks of a group of men called The Holy Smokes. lol I think Luther maybe even smoked. It is just a legalistic thing, I say. I need to be free like Steve.
I think about Jesus talking to the Pharisees about trying to keep the outside of the cup clean while the inside is full of bitterness, resentment and anger. I ask the Spirit to search my heart.
Then I ask myself what does God really think about my smoking? This is what I do know. I know He wants me worshiping Him. He wants for me to trust only in Him and not anything else, not even myself for righteousness and salvation. Smoking is a constant reminder of me of this. I am a mess in need of Jesus. Is it a good thing? No, it is a sin and it robs me of a lot of peace until I get to the point of trusting only in Christ. Is He using this sin in my life for my good and His glory, absolutely. I may die of lung cancer at an early age but it does not change Gods love or approval for me. My worth and value is not wrapped up in whether I lick this horrible habit or not. My identity, who I am, is only in, who I am in Christ. I am forgiven, righteous and radically loved by a determined, strong willed God who will not give up until He gets my whole heart. I don't know if that happens in this life. There are times I surrender to God and feel like I have given Him every part of me but then I see things I am still not trusting Him with. It is like the more faith I have the more I see I don't have.
So would you pray for me? That I continue to move out of the comfort of my friend. That I would continue to grow in living this life with real friends and the Friend that has so freely given to me this gift of life by His suffering and death that I won't be afraid to suffer to stop some habit. That I would trust Christ to set me free. That I would depend on Him to do what I can not do.