People indulge in some vices at one time or the other. However, for a Christian, there is always a turning point when the old lifestyle becomes a thing of the past.
Between 1976 and 1978, I was full of pride as the marketing manager of a pharmaceutical company in Lagos. I had a Toyota Crown car, with efficient air conditioning system. At that time, I always carried my pipe and Erinmore or St. Bruno tobacco and felt that I had arrived.
One day, after work at Apapa, I Ioaded my pipe with tobacco and joined the queue of cars from my office at Creek Road. At that time, the Apapa–Gbagada expressway had not been completed for use and motorists from Apapa had to pass through Ebutte-Metta or Western Avenue. The traffic was very heavy but I comforted myself with the popular Victor Uwaifo music and tobacco.
It was indeed a tough day with heavy traffic and I continued smoking until I got to my house in Maryland. When I opened the door of the car and tried to step out, I staggered and nearly fell headlong. I had poisoned myself with nicotine from the tobacco. I felt dizzy and exhausted.
My wife dashed out of the house to meet me outside in that condition. All I told her was to take away the tobacco. After a few days, I looked for my pipe and the tins of tobacco usually kept in our wardrobe but they had disappeared. When I asked my wife where she kept them, she replied that I instructed her to throw away the pipe and tobacco.
All along, she had been looking for the opportunity to stop me from smoking but did not know how to achieve it. This time, I just played into her hands. As of today, I don’t know how she disposed of my pipe and tins of tobacco.
As a pharmacist, I knew some health implications of smoking but still indulged in it. Smoking could cause or aggravate diseases like stroke, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and some chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. I was still smoking even though I knew it was bad for my health. I smoked out of pride. I wanted to show off and impress people. In the sixties, there was a brand of cigarette that had its payoff line as “You feel like somebody if you smoke…” The Bible calls this pride of life.
I also drank beer and spirits, just to keep up with my peers. I cultivated this habit while in the university. Attending a party without drinking beer gave the impression that one was a member of the Scripture Union (SU) or the Students Christian Movement (SCM), which I derided.
One day, I went out with some friends to drink at a place called “Sand Sand” in Surulere, in Lagos. When I returned very late in the night, my wife was unhappy with me. I knew I had taken a lot of alcohol and just ignored her. I quickly removed my dress and slumped into the bed. After some minutes, I felt like my head was turning round, and before I could get up, I started vomiting and messed up everywhere.
My wife realised that I was in a pitiable condition and so started nursing me. After all, she is a nurse by profession. She cleared the mess and helped me to lie down again. That was the last time I drank more than I could manage. But I continued to drink moderately.
As a pharmacist, I knew that excessive alcohol use could lead to some chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease and digestive problems but I still indulged in it.
The question is, do Christians still indulge in alcoholic drinks and smoking of cigarettes? Of course, the answer is yes. The truth is that alcohol and cigarettes damage the Christian’s body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Alcohol and cigarettes have no nutritional or medicinal benefit to the body. 1 Corinthians 6:19(NKJV) says, “…do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” 1 Corinthians 3:17 (NKJV) says, “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”
The body of a Christian does no longer belongs to him but to God.