Vices and Virtues

We line up our treasures of the soul, memories a string of pearls, moments like seashells on the rough hewn timbre of the past. All life is virtue or vice, high palisades of glorious success and deep valleys of sorrow, sacrifice, and succumbing. Under the microscope of our own conscience and the sharp light cast by the Holy Spirit on our soul, our vices loom large and clear. We pass the glory of our delights and our shining moments on to the Savior to whom we credit them. Yet we claim our failures as our own.

This double-edged sword of perspective can reduce we Christ-ones to hopeless peons in the struggle against sin. If we do not share in glory with our Creator, and wallow in our dismally dark moments, we are forever stuck in the mud of loss and lethargy. For how long can we struggle against the chains of sin if we never allow our souls to ascend to the mountaintops with Christ in our triumphs?

I started smoking last April, a desperate attempt to drown out the triple demons of flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety. The deep inhale, the slow exhale became the rhythm to which I dragged myself out of the emotional mire. The dirtiness of a soul whose dark corners remained unredeemed seemed congruent with the stink of the smoke I wrapped around me like a cape. And with the vapors of toxin, I insulated myself against a cruel world, pushing out other Christians unsure what to make of a daughter of the King wrapped in the shrouds of soot.

The time has come now, a year later, to walk away from this shroud. Tobacco was created by God, and yes, I think it was used by Him to help me through a tenuous time. But now it has become a vice - a habit unfitting for a temple of God Himself. I never struggled with the habit of it as an occasional smoker since my college days. But now that it is ingrained - especially as my relaxation, my joy, my moments alone - it is proving more difficult to quit. I glue verses to the doorpost, to the porch rail by my swing. Reminders of why the time has come.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have received from God? (I Corinthians 6:19)
It is time to put my money where my mouth is. To line up treasures instead of tortures. To claim freedom from sin through the power of the Holy Spirit, who liveth in me...for the law of the Spirit of life has set me free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
Amy's treasures from the sea, lined up on the surf breakwater.
As I walk free from these chains of sin, will you walk with me? Post a comment here to tell me of your prayers for me, visit my Facebook wall in the coming days and weeks to encourage, send me an email with a personal prayer you've offered up for me? Do you have a vice you need to walk away from, too? Let's do it together - tell me how I can pray for you, either publicly or privately. I, Genevieve, your sister and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus...I want to stand with you and join you, that we may both go free from the chains of darkness and walk in the light together. (Revelation 1:9, paraphrased)

Linked to Imperfect Prose
and the Life:UNMASKED project

and Thought Provoking Thursdays