Some people are too careful to wander far from shore, but are not convinced enough to swim into the waters and are too confused to move away from the periphery of the sea; so they choose one of both ways – and end up going in circles. Why is it that in spite of a massive, ongoing campaign on the hazards of cigarette smoking, millions continue to light up? According to the Spokesman Review, November 13, 1991, p. C1, health experts might be more successful if they acknowledged the pleasurable aspects of smoking. Then once they had a smoker’s attention, they could let loose on why it’s time to quit. That was 12 years ago when virtually no one knew anything about e-cigarettes, battery-powered devices that don’t burn tobacco, but rather heat liquid nicotine into a smoke-like water vapor. Today, more than 250 companies sell them in flavors such as bubble gum and peach schnapps. And now sales are set to top $1 billion!
I am guessing that H. Truman was quite right when he said, “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.” The problem with that, however, is that soon you’ll have people’s minds playing tricks on them. If your mind is playing tricks on you, it will lull you into carelessness. Satan’s business is not so much in scaring us to death as persuading us that the danger of a spiritual fall is minimal. No wonder Peter advised us to “resist him, standing firm in the faith” (I Peter 5:9).
With e-cigarettes as an alternative for smoking cessation and replacement, one can smoke “anywhere” because they “don’t smell and are very undetectable”. It is no longer called smoking but “vaping” and celebrities are trying to make it look cool. Can you spot confusion and carelessness all in one here? I liken this to advocating the use of condoms for safe sex. This alternative has many users playing with fire. They can “light” it up “anywhere” because it is “very undetectable”. There is no alternative, no replacement, and no substitute to safe sex outside the bounds of marriage except abstinence!
Whatever you don’t consider, you get hardened to but whatever you consider – that is what comes to pass in your life – good or bad. What are you considering? Abraham, being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead… (Romans 4:19). After salvation, if you harden yourself to your new nature you will follow the ‘high thought’ – the way which the world thinks is okay. If Abraham had in fact kept considering the deadness of his body, he would have weakened his faith and the promise of God would not have come to pass in his life. We can say, in faith, Abraham considered the promise of God and possessed it. The alternative would have cost him this promise. The world has presented digital smokes as an alternative and some tobacco analysts predict its sales could surpass conventional cigarettes in the next decade. My question is: At whose expense?
Cigarettes and sex are just two examples the world offers substitutes or alternatives for but I’m sure you can come up with many more. Is there a substitute that has been presented to you regarding something that you know you should just stop?
The reason we embrace alternatives and substitutes instead of dropping harmful habits and sinful deeds is because our minds have not been renewed. We haven’t exchanged our way of thinking with the word of God. When a Christian doesn’t exercise mind renewal they most likely end up being a carnal Christian. A carnal Christian lives by strengthening their senses instead of being strengthened by the Spirit of God. Mind renewal is an everyday affair – not a onetime thing.
Have you fallen? Get up and change your thinking. With renewed thinking, you will no longer look for a substitute or alternative because you will have no desire to sit on the e-fence in order to obtain e-nicotine. Hey, you will not even have the urge for illicit sex. If you are willing and obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, this is a war you will win. Remember, God is on your side!