God’s will for his children is always what is best for them – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Like any good father, God gives wise counsel and instruction with the goal of raising healthy, well-balanced children. Whether or not a child chooses to follow good advice is, of course, quite a different matter.
The nation of Israel was given God’s law, replete with plenty of “Thou shalts” and “Thou shalt nots.” In many respects, this made it easy to determine God’s will in any given situation. The Gospel message, on the other hand, (while not negating that law), was refreshingly simple: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind, and strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31)
On a very practical level with regard to our daily habits, how can a dedicated Christian show their love for God? “Have you forgotten that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, that lives in you and is God’s gift to you, and that you are not the owner of your own body? You have been bought, and at a price! Therefore bring glory to God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20 Phillips) “Since we have these promises…let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (11 Cor. 7:1) “Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial.” (I Cor. 10:23 NIV)
Medical science has determined the extremely detrimental effect smoking has on a human being. Smoking is definitely not beneficial to us, or glorifying to our heavenly Father. We can express our love for God by making every effort to take care of the amazing body he has given us.
With regard to loving our neighbors as ourselves, there is absolutely no benefit to those around us if we smoke. Second hand smoke is harmful to everyone’s health, pollutes the air, and is offensive to breathe. We owe it to our friends and family to respect them and show consideration in what we do when we are around them.
A Christian bears a special responsibility to set a good example to the world as a representative of the Lord. We often hear “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” While this is true, what a wonderful testament a holy life can be, as we seek to overcome the world, and our fallen flesh. “Giving no cause for offense in anything, in order that the ministry be not discredited.” (11 Cor. 6:3) “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Col. 3:17)
Webster’s dictionary defines “wrong” as something that is “not suitable or appropriate. It is destructive and hurtful to self.” Does smoking fit this definition? It certainly seems so.