One of the couples from my small group who attended the Encounter Retreat this weekend got to experience the delivering power of God. They’re both completely free from a long-time addiction to smoking!
The wife stopped smoking on Friday–as I understand it, this was mostly due to some chest and throat pain she was experiencing. That evening they went outside to smoke, but she found it hurt too much. All day Saturday, she stayed away from cigarettes because of the pain, but she was grateful for her condition and felt it was God’s way of making her not even like smoking. That night, she got her cigarettes from her car and threw them in the bonfire…but her husband refused!
He had tried quitting many times before and thought he knew what a waste it would be to get rid of his current pack of cigarettes…that’s a lot of money to waste if you’re not really quitting! But as he laid in bed that night, he prayed, “God, if you really want me to quit, then I don’t want any symptoms whatsoever–no headaches, nervousness, or even oral fixations like gum-chewing or pen-biting. Nothing!”
Guess who took him up on his bargain? You guessed it!
The next day brought no withdrawal symptoms at all. Neither did Monday. Or Tuesday! He said this is the first time he’s ever been able to quit without horrible side effects.
Part of the solution was the supernatural power of God that appears to have brought healing to his lungs and nervous system; another aspect is that at the Encounter Retreat we deal with matters of the heart and healing “inner wounds” from past experiences.
Addictions like smoking tend to stem from inner voids that need to be filled. Often they are a way of simulating peace and giving temporary relief from anxieties or stress. But such methods are entirely artificial. When the inner void is filled with the Spirit of God, however, and we actively choose to rely on Him for peace, we find complete freedom!
If you’re addicted to anything, freedom is freely available right now. In Jesus’ name, I speak to your physical body: Be free!
Now, here’s how to stay free: Temptation to return to an addiction will inevitably arise when we find ourselves facing the same stress or anxiety that we used to manage with our addiction. We then have a choice: Either we can suppress our desires or confess them to the Lord. Suppression only serves to pressurize these desires so that they erupt later on in a flurry of anger or an addictive binge. Confession, however, allows the desire to be released in a healthy way. We can then confess our anxiety and stress to Christ, ask Him to handle all our concerns, and choose to trust Him.
Addictions are not solved “cold-turkey.” They are solved by the love of Father God, trust in Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Allow God to heal your heart and teach you to trust Him. Ask Him to heal you. And rely on Him to keep you free! He will do it!
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24–May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it (NIV).