Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I Smoke

I smoke. Well I used to. And while I was at it (I mean when I was smoking) I liked it. The taste of burning tobacco running through my lungs. Mild curiosity purged me to the path of cigarettes. Of course my parents told me not to smoke, teachers tell you not to smoke, even the cigarette pack gave me warnings on the danger of smoking (sheesh). But you know what teenagers do; rebel.
Well it didn't look like an outburst of obvious rebellion but it was gradual. A process really.

I remember the first time I lit a cigarette in my mouth was when a friend asked me to try it out. Well, I thought, no harm in me trying it. So I did. I lit it and puffed away. I was good at it or so it seemed until my friend told me, "You're not doing it right. You're puffing the smoke." Well I always thought that this was the normal way of doing it. At least I can say that my observation of the whole thing was false. "So how do you really do it," I said with a dab of innocent curiosity. "You inhale the smoke, then you puff it away," he said. So I tried the 'Smoking 101' advise and made a fool of myself. His method sucked (or so I thought). It made me cough. He laughed, and that was my last time trying the stuff. I vowed never to touch another cigarette again, or so I thought. Like new year resolutions, we never can attain our idealistic hopes and make them reality.

I can't vividly remember specifically when but I know the year, it was 1999, that spawned this new habit. I didn't think as that time that it was some sort of habit. For me, smoking was a new identity I had embraced. I reasoned that smoking will be a part of my life. It will be the new me. Good philosophy don't you think?

Like any relationship endeavor, I had to find the perfect cigarette, one that complimented my personality. There were constant dates that I had with a certain brand but I finally made up my mind and decided a monogamous relationship with Dunhill, which stands for Style, Quality, Excellence. And like any relationship, there were up and down moments. I needed Dunhill every morning (in my case waking up in the morning stood for waking up in the afternoon). But at time Dunhill choked me, spending my money, making me have this nasty cough and smelly breath. I love Dunhill but there were issues.

But my break up with cigarettes happened in 2000, specifically on February 14 (no kidding). I was sitting on the hood of my dad's car, puffing away on the last remaining 5 stick that was left. I only managed to smoke two and finally decided that I was through with Dunhill and smoking and cigarettes. There we no emotional ties when it happened, I did not shed any tears. After the break up I said yes to Jesus.

OK, OK. I know you might be thinking that I am proposing that Jesus liberates and smoking is of the devil. But that's not my point, well in a way it is but read on.

Sometimes our explanation of being free or being liberated by Jesus denotes a sharp distinction as saying smoking is bad, or some folks tell us it is of the devil. But i fell this explanation of saying, before I was a smoker and my life sucked and now I am a believer I have peace. I am not a fan of this testimony explanation.

You see it is true that being in Jesus sorts of liberates us, gives us freedom. But it is not an automatic change. Like a relationship with someone or in this case a pattern of lifestyle, it is done overtime. We build on them. So this pattern lives on us, becomes part of us. It becomes sort of like our lifestyle. When change comes there is some sort of uneasiness. Change proposes a new way to live, a new kind of lifestyle.

Following Jesus is this kind of change. Changing the pattern of life we used to live. The promise that we are given is freedom and liberation; hope. But to realize this hope we have to embrace this change, this new pattern of life opposed to the old one.

My parents watch a heavy dose of 'the health channel'. Normally people who lived a pattern of life that embraced a faulty way of eating habits always find it hard to in the process of changing. Their fitness instructors tell them to ditch their former pattern of eating and embrace another pattern. It's as much a physical change as it is a mental change. The fitness/health instructors tell them that following this pattern of eating and exercise will free them of a flabby body and health issues among other things, and prolong their life. In the process this is not always realized. but as the process of embracing change prolongs the notion of the promise and hope explained by the fitness/health instructors becomes reality. It becomes something real after all.

And in life, embracing Jesus is that process of changing your old pattern of life and embracing a new pattern of living. Freedom/liberation will be fully understood in the process of continual living. Yes, Jesus is the one that liberates us from the corrupt life. Only it is a process in which we grow in being convinced by it.

7 comments:

Eilidh said...

good post, some really interesting thoughts there!

graceshaker said...

in light of what you are saying what do you think of 2 corinthians 5:17?

therefore if anyone is in christ he is a new creation. the old has passed away - behold the new has come.

Mason said...

"it is not an automatic change."

I think if more people allowed their spiritual development to be a journey of growth, rather than a once for all moment of permanent and perpetual holiness, we might actually end up with more genuine change. We would certainly end up with less disenchanted Christians.

Tremonti said...

graceshaker,

if i understand you rightly you are asking me how a person's position is drastically changed when he believes in Jesus.

1. A person makes a decision to believe in Jesus is given the right to be a child of God.
Jn 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

2. We do not become a child of God because of what we do or being a Jew and living like a Jew, but by believing in Jesus.
Rom 3:21-31

3. Now being a child of God denotes a different lifestyle. So in the NT we constantly find the writers of the NT telling us how to live now that we are the child of God.
Col 3:1-17

So for me that is how understand the grittiness of being in Christ. Being a new creation. We did nothing to attain the position of being a child of God. But we do everything to live with the implication that we are now his children.

I am not at all proposing that we work for salvation but rather us being children of God denotes a different perspective on how we live life. Just like the Jews in the OT, they did nothing to get God to save them. They were just people whose ancestor had pleased God, in accordance to being promised to make a nation out of his offspring.
The Jews were captives in Egypt but God saved them. A picture of grace. And not that he save them they were to be his people.
The did nothing to attain being his people but it meant that they had to live in a way God wanted them to live.

This is getting longer than i thought for a reply hehe. bear with me.

for me, our decisions are real but for it to generate to reality is how we then live our lives.

So i believe that freedom and liberation is something that is true and promised but it is further reinforced when view life as a journey. We work out our salvation, we are called to renew our minds, we are called to confess our sins. And in the end those who believe coupled with living what we believe will be sure of where we are in Christ.

Anyway it is only those who continue to believe who are actually God's children.

I hope that helps clarify what i believe.

Kurt said...

Can i just say that if you get an oppertunity to preach, this is a great illustration for the journey of finding Jesus. Great post, it was a fun read!!!

Tremonti said...

Kurt,
Well i hope there will be an opportunity. It has been a very long while that i did not preach. haha.

Kurt said...

Your moment will come my friend. God is setting you apart and your season is coming!

Hopeful Theo

My photo
OIL TOWN, SWK, Malaysia
I'm a student of Theology (currently and will always be one). I'm a student of culture and a student of music as well. I guess you could say life is a never ending journey of learning. Because of that we never stop being students. Just a little something about this blog: Deconstructing The Monkey is all about being a safe space for emerging conversations