“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the Law, but under Grace.” Romans 6:14
For years I smoked. If any of you have ever smoked, you know what a beast it is to quit. However, before I was born again I tried Chantix and quit. Now, fast forward 4 years. I had been saved for about a year, I loved the Lord, chasing Him night and day…and then I stumbled. One day with a friend, I thought I could just smoke one cigarette. Make no mistake friends, sin is not stagnant; it will always take you further than you want to go.
Here I was, declaring the Gospel, attending revivals literally almost every night but fighting for my very life. Very few people knew this sin had dominion over me…the Bible says it shouldn’t. I prayed everyday asking the Lord to forgive me. As much as I prayed, I was trying to quit. Over and over and over with the same result…failure. I was indeed forgiven but I had not been delivered. O’wretched woman was I!!
“22 For I delight in the Law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 7:22-24
Finally there came a day; I was broken and confused. My word of faith friends would say I didn’t have enough faith. Please let me be clear, no where in the Word of God does it tell us the amount of our faith is relative to our blessings. Faith of a mustard seed can move a mountain. We must have faith…absolutely, but it is the Object of our faith that moves mountains, not the amount. It is there, upon that Cornerstone, the redeeming work of Jesus Christ which broke the power of sin in the Believer’s life, that our faith is authored and finished. If our faith is in our self efforts, that mountain is going to get bigger and bigger…trust me, I know. That one cigarette that day, quickly turned in to a pack a day.
As I laid in the floor crying out to God that I can’t quit smoking, I remember specifically praying “Lord you’re going to have to take this from me because I can’t quit.” Granted, I couldn’t at the time articulate “what” it was I was doing or “how” I had just prayed. All I know is I was speaking the truth. I couldn’t quit smoking. Many will say you must resolve to quit. Not so. If we could just resolve to stop sinning, the Cross of Christ was in vain. God forbid no.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
What I had actually done, again without being able to actually articulate this at the time, was FINALLY submit to God. I had been fighting in vain to overcome this sin that had so easily beset me and when I finally decided to stop fighting; when I stopped trying to say no to the sin, and finally said YES to God, the Lord INSTANTLY took the desire away. I rose up from that prayer with no desire for a cigarette…none.
“For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2
Unknowingly, I was bound by the law of sin and death because my faith had been placed in my efforts…my resolve to deny those cigarettes. Instead of denying myself and picking up my dominion over sin, I was denying God and denying His free gift.
For me, I was bound by nicotine. However, for others it may be alcohol, pornography or any other “sins of the flesh”. This is a bondage that cannot be overcome by our resolve. I’m not speaking here of those who believe God’s Grace is a license to sin. I’m speaking of those who love the Lord but cannot overcome sin. These are sins that we can see but make no mistake, there are those that cannot be seen but are indeed sin. They are perhaps the worst kind of bondage. I speak here of self righteousness, pride, religious spirits, etc.
You see, regarding smoking, my first mistake was knowingly turning away from the precepts of God when I picked up that first cigarette. I did that willingly but I was deceived in that I thought I would be able to “just say no” to that second cigarette, then that third cigarette, etc., etc.. Not so friends.
The fight isn’t about saying “no” to sin but saying yes to God. So why didn’t I just try Chantix again? Honestly speaking, I didn’t have the money to afford Chantix and for that I’m grateful. If I could have afforded Chantix, I would have probably tried it again and would not now know the power of God to take the desires that are not pleasing to Him away and place His desires in my heart. Since that day in prayer I have not had a single desire for a cigarette and I give God all the glory.
“And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23
There is dominion of sin and freedom from captivity in your cross but first we must deny ourselves. For Jesus, the Cross was a place of great suffering. For Believers, our cross is a place of great blessing. The devil won’t flee until we are submitted to God. It is the Lord who puts the hedge of protection around His Children. Fight the good fight of faith.
-Donna Clark Warren