"Again" is the main word in that sentence. I had not smoked in years, but I picked up again when I lost my job. Then I quit for a couple days before my new job seemed to push me to an emotional cliff. Then I quit again a month or so later for a couple of weeks before a bad night at work when I ripped my patch off and bummed a smoke from a client. Talk about insanity.
So, once again, I begin this journey, seeking freedom. For those of you who know me well, I researched whether God would really have a problem with me smoking, whether it was indeed a sin. My husband, both annoyed with the nasty habit and my lack of perseverance, is convinced it is a sin. Here is the heart of the issue: my heart.
Watching Lord of the Rings today, I am confronted with this. Gollum, the dreadful beast that covets the Ring, "my precious," was a very typical silly, fun-loving hobbit until the Ring happened upon his fishing buddy. (Faint whispers there of James 1:14 for me.) In that unexpected encounter, Smeagol begins his transformation into, his incarceration as, Gollum. He went from living a pleasant existence in the green, care-free shire to an animal-like survival, alone while hiding in the darkness of caves. The duality of his nature is unmistakable as he speaks in the 3rd person about himself in evil hisses and choking gasps. Even Frodo, in his journey to carry the Ring to its destruction, shows a distinct spiritual wearing as his physical features and mood changes.
As I watch, I have the eerie sense of how my heart must look under the burden of sin. Certainly, cigarettes are no horrible thing. But how my spirit changes. I hide, from my husband, from my friends. I am embarrassed before God. He has done such amazing things in my life-why do I become overwhelmed? Why am I faithless, creating my own golden calf out of tobacco and paper? When I am smoking, I notice a difference in how I am able to pray, or not pray. My spirit feels like Gollum, bent over, emaciated, filthy.
For this reason, I conclude that for me, yes, smoking is a sin. You will have to come to your own conclusion. As for me, it is for freedom that Christ has set me free. I will stand firm and not be taken into slavery, again.