Sarah (28 Sep 2011)
"To christina"

Hi christina,

I just read your letter:

I smoke too, and I have tried so many times to quit.  Yahweh delivered me three years ago from the chains of many other addictions...those addictions had a very negative impact on my life.  Actually, He delivered me from all of it the day He saved me.  I quit smoking cigarettes too, but I picked them back up after my husband left me when I got saved (he was an unbeliever then).

I KNOW JESUS SAVED ME!  However, the guilt of my smoking has caused me so much guilt and grief and I continually beat myself up about it.  I just want you to know that He has told me the same thing: "I will never leave you nor forsake you".

He also brings to my mind the thorn Paul had, in which Christ told him after Paul prayed three times for Jesus to remove it, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made strong in your weakness".

Maybe I'm lying to myself, but I often think that if I were able to quit smoking, then all of my "out in the open" sins would be gone, all that would be left would be my sins of ignorance, and I know there are many of those, lol, my heart is a little idol factory, lol. But, I think perhaps, Jesus is keeping me humble by not removing this thorn of smoking.  I'm sure there would be some stench of self-righteousness if I were able to quit.

Also, I'm from the deep south southern fundamental baptist bible belt, and unfortunately many of the church folks in my area and in my family are um...pharisees?  Lol, and they know I'm born-again because I love Jesus.  He is the only One occupying space in my brain.  I eat, sleep, breathe, talk, and live JESUS, and they are thrown for a loop because I smoke.

After observing these fundamentals for about seven years (I married into this family), I have come to realize there is no way they have a personal relationship with Him because they hate His "rules".  They don't say they hate the rules, but I can tell they do because they have no joy in the Lord.

Even though they believe in a pre-trib rapture, I can't even talk to them and share my excitement because they have no excitement.  They faithfully drag themselves to their dead church every sunday, wednesday, and whatever night "prayer night" is, but the look of...I don't know...just "BLAH"  oozes from their countenance.

My in-laws hated me for the four years of my marriage to their son because they knew I wasn't a Christian, and I wasn't.  However, not one of these faithful life-long church members shared the gospel with me.

When the Lord saved me I found myself very confused because I realized where I was headed and here none of these folks, who were my only example of christians, let me know about what my fate would be without Christ.

Today my husband is back home, and a believer, and I am doing my best trying to love him and his family and show them the love Christ has shown me.  I also think that because I smoke, and they know I'm a believer, it helps free them from some of their "rules".

I hope this helps you, Christina.