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Christian Conduct | Charles E. Orr

The Effect of Christianity on Habit

Man in his sinful life often forms many habits that rule him. They grow upon him and gain such a power over him as to make him their slave. Some conclude it is no sin to indulge in certain habits as long as we do not go to an excess, and as long as we do not get into bondage. Indulgence to any extent whatever in bad habits is wrong. Swearing is a habit, and a bad one. Some men have so acquired the habit of swearing that they swear unconsciously. This excessive swearing is not only wrong, but any indulgence in such practice is wrong. Christianity breaks the power of such habits and sets man free. Such sin has no dominion over a Christian, not so much as a single indulgence. Men have formed the habit of drinking strong drink, using morphine and opium. They become slaves to these evil habits. Now it is not only a sin to indulge in them to an excess, but any indulgence in such evil practices is altogether unbecoming in a Christian. Some people have so lost sight of true Christianity that they think they can indulge in strong drink occasionally and yet be Christians approved of God. Such are laboring under a deception and will meet with a sad surprise in the judgment day. Christianity breaks the power of such evil habits and sets man free, so much so that they are not overcome by a single indulgence.

Many people have formed the habit of smoking and chewing tobacco and using snuff, and are so unconscious to the purity of a Christian life that they have never understood it to be wrong. Is it not surprising that man would attempt to worship God and gain heaven and indulge in such unclean practices? Now we do not mean to say anything harsh or unkind, for we pity all who are in bondage to such a hard master. We want you to see the evil of it and seek the Lord, who is able to set you free. Praise God! The using of tobacco is a habit, no one can deny this. The question is, is it a good or bad habit?! If it is a good habit we should advise all to form the habit. If it is an evil habit, we should advise all to cease using it. Any hygienic work condemns the use of tobacco. It is injurious to the human system. We are not our own. We should glorify God in our body and our spirit, which are His. God will hold man responsible for the care of his body. No one can abuse his own body and willfully injure his health without incurring God’s displeasure. “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”* (2 Corinthians 7:1)

God will hold man responsible for the example he sets before the world, and before his own children. Where is the father that would give tobacco to his boy or girl? Most parents endeavor to keep it from their children, and some would even punish them were they to find them using it. How wrong it is to indulge in a thing forbidden to your children. Just to think of a Christian, a follower of Jesus, chewing and smoking and using snuff. A Christian is a light in this world; but what kind of a light is a tobacco user? Could he say to his children, “Follow me as I follow Christ?” Oh, may God help you to quit its use and live as becometh the gospel of Christ. We are to “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”* (Titus 2:10) A man chewing and spitting tobacco or using snuff is not a very beautiful adornment.

As I was driving through the country a few days ago I saw a farmer’s wife emptying her husband’s spittoon. She held it away out from her and turned her head as she turned it up. How shocking that a man would impose such a task upon his wife!

Again, God will hold a man responsible for the way he spends the money he has given him. Which is more beautiful in the sight of Christ or more becoming his life and gospel—to use money and chew and smoke it up, or take the money and give it to the poor? Surely we have said enough on this subject to convince every honest reader, so we shall leave it, praying God to bless you and to help you to live and obey the truth and all principles of righteousness.