A good Christian friend was recently asking me about his struggle to stop smoking. He had tried medications, gums, hypnosis with no luck. He wanted my advice about what he should try to help him quit this addiction.
I asked him to pray this prayer with me,
Lord, I am a sinner.
I am guilty of the sin of addiction.
Of reliance on something other than your Love to fulfill me.
I am guilty of the sin of self-destruction and of leading others to destruction.
I am guilty of the sin of destroying your Temple.
Lord, I do not pray for a miracle or for the power to overcome this sin.
What I pray for is that you to help me realize the miracle you have already performed in my life through Jesus Christ and the power you have given me through the Holy Spirit.
I commit my sin to your hands, Lord, and from this day forward I will not smoke again.
During this prayer I came to the understanding that we often pray for God to send us a miracle or power to help us overcome some self-destructive tendency in our lives. I can imagine God responding to this type of prayer by saying, “What more of a miracle can I give you than the gift my Son crucified on a cross for your sins” or saying, “What more power do you need than that found in my Spirit, the Holy Spirit I have sent you.”
What we as Christians really need to do is to realize - to fully believe, to commit to, to make active in our lives - the miracle of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. To me personally I think of these 2 things in terms of Baptism.
Through my physical baptism with water I have experienced a connection with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- Through the love God showed by sending His Son to live a perfect life of obedience.
- Through His sacrifice on a cross for my sins.
- Through the defeat of death by His Resurrection.
Through my baptism a miracle has occurred. Ray Morrow, a hell deserving sinner, has been born anew, by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, to eternal life starting now and leading to heaven. I have simply accepted the miraculous salvation available to all of mankind.
He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Through my baptism with the Holy Spirit I have entered into the joy and power of living in the Spirit. I have been linked to a power far greater than my own and in that power I find peace and joy and purpose.
In William Barclay’s book The Promise of the Spirit he describes how dependent on the Spirit the followers of Jesus must be.
“The Greek word for baptize means to dip, such as dipping garments to dye them. There is a vivid picture here. The Christian is a man who is dyed through and through with the Spirit. He is a man whose whole life is soaked in the Spirit, a man the color of whose whole life is changed by the Spirit. The Christian is a Spirit-anointed, Spirit-dipped, Spirit-saturated, Spirit-dominated man. And the drabness of life, and the inadequacy of life, and the futility of life, and the earthboundness of life, which characterize so many of us, all come from the failure to submit to the baptism of the Spirit which Christ alone can give.”
I pray that we will all realize the miraculous power that God has given us and continues to pour out on our lives.