I Corinthians 10:13 - "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
This was the first scripture that I memorized after giving my heart to the Lord on that long ago
Thursday evening in 1975 at the First Apostolic Church in Lancaster, Ohio.
You see, I was struggling with smoking cigarettes. I had smoked for six years. I had had people tell me that they either just lost the desire for cigarettes after they were born again or the Lord delivered them from them instantly. Well, neither of those happened to me. *feeble grin* I also lived with my parents, who were not in the church, and they both smoked which made it doubly difficult to quit. *sigh* I will say that my parents encouraged me and endeavored to help me quit, though they still smoked.
Oh, I would be in a wonderful service at church and the power and presence of the Lord would move upon me and I would promise the Lord to not ever smoke again and I truly meant it. But then I would leave church and before even getting home, which was about a forty-five minute drive, I would have such an intense craving for a cigarette. More often than not, I would succumb and have a cigarette. Sometimes I had cigarettes with me but if not, I would stop and buy a pack. But as soon as I would light one up and take a few drags, I would get so angry at myself for being weak and throw them out the window, only to be faced with them again at home. And this vicious cycle would repeat itself continually in the early days of my developing relationship with the Lord.
One day at the retail store where I worked, when I was on my break, I wanted a cigarette sooooo much. I was the only one in the break room and I started looking in the ashtrays (there were alot of them) for a cigarette butt long enough to smoke. I was pathetic. I couldn't find one. I sat down to eat my lunch and pulled a small bible out of my purse. Now, I wasn't knowledgeable enough of the Bible to even know where to look for help, so I just opened my Bible and put my finger on a random verse, all the while asking God to help me to overcome this terrible addiction. I opened my eyes and started reading I Corinthians 10:13. I could hardly believe it! It was only the Lord that enabled me to find the EXACT verse that I needed that day! He is such a personal, caring Saviour! I memorized this scripture right then and there while on my lunch break! It has been a strength and help to me all through the years when I have faced temptations, great or small.
And the cigarette habit? Well, I can't tell you EXACTLY when I no longer smoked. I just know that one day soon after that day in the break room, I realized that I had quit. I no longer had that gnawing craving for them. The Lord so graciously and patiently helped me to overcome the hold they had on me. I learned to quit beating myself up for being weak and dependent on them as I learned to lean upon Him for the comfort, peace and soothing that I needed. I always say that if I could quit smoking, ANYONE can!!! With the help of the Lord, that is!
"He gives me strength as I worship Him,
And my heart is filled with praise,
Jesus breaks the bands as I raise my hands,
And gives glorious victory."