Would you like to quit smoking, but just haven't been able to? If you are struggling with any sort of addiction, take heart. There is a way to be free, and it's a spiritual way. Discovering that you are a child of God is what enables you to conquer addiction and to find the freedom He has given you.
You are not powerless, even in the face of what seems to be unbearable temptation. You can take a stand for your rights-your God-given rights. You can refuse tempting impulses! Because you are God's child, you are spiritual. If God hasn't caused an impulsion, it has no hold on you. You are under the control of God, not in the grip of addiction.
I have considered the words of the Christian Saviour, Jesus. They were sharp and to the point when he struggled with temptation. "Get thee behind me, Satan," he said (Luke 4:8). He didn't waste time with something wrong; in fact he had no time for it.
Evil has no claim on you, either. It has no power to hold you in chains. God's hand is upon you and is governing you. God is Love, the only power, the only attraction, the only influence, and for this reason there is no drag or pull or any other influence at work.
We often think that our addictions are unique and that no one else can possibly be facing what we are. This way of thinking would only keep us in shackles. There is no situation, circumstance, or experience where God is not all-powerful. God controls all and governs all.
St. Paul showed he understood human weakness when he told the Romans, "The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." Yet he soon continued, "We are more than conquerors through him that loved us" (7:19; 8:37). You can be more than a conqueror through God who loves you! Not just a little bit of a conqueror, but more than one.
A friend of mine was in the Navy for many years, where smoking and drinking were the norm. He became a chain smoker. One day he noticed an advertisement for a lecture on Christian Science. Something inside told him he should go. As the day of the lecture approached, he felt positively impelled to go. There he heard how physical healing is possible today, just as it was in Jesus' time, by the understanding of God's laws. The lecturer spoke of the Christian Science textbook. This is Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered the truth by which Jesus healed and called that truth Christian Science. And then the lecturer read something called "the scientific statement of being" from the book.
This statement made a very deep impression on my friend. He had never heard anything like it in all his life. It begins, "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all" (p. 468).
He also heard that God is Spirit, and that we are each the likeness of God-spiritual. My friend left the lecture reasoning with himself about what "the scientific statement of being" said-that he was spiritual, not material. The truth that he was spiritual and free of physical addictions leapt in his heart. He got himself a copy of Science and Health and read over and over that statement, which was wonderful to him. It had a deeply profound effect on him; he felt he'd been suddenly unshackled.
The first thing he found was that he didn't like the taste of alcohol. Next he lost his taste for tobacco (remember, he had been a chain smoker). He found he had no desire for cigarettes at all. There were no withdrawal symptoms; quite the reverse, he'd never felt so good.
The week following, he was on leave with one of his mates. Knowing my friend had been a smoker, his mate opened up a pack of cigarettes and offered him one temptingly. He refused. His mate protested, saying it wasn't possible for him to have quit smoking overnight. "No, not overnight," my friend replied, "I've always been a nonsmoker."
In the light of Christian Science, you can acknowledge as well your spiritual, everlasting identity as God's child, and say with honesty that you've always been the same.
*The Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine, contains other articles about God's power to heal.