Everyone that I know, whether Christian on non-Christian, seems to be in a bit of a different place. I guess I would call it levels of faith. I have a friend that is, after 30 or 40 years, finally quit smoking. He is 6 days into it and seems to be going for the gold. I know others that have tried for years and still have not kicked the habit. I don't think there is any use debating if smoking is Godly or not. At the very least it is almost always fatal. I guess that I don't see how God would actually condone this behavior as "good for us." But I am not God.
For many, as they look at God's ability... God's power to change something in a human, the debate gets fired up. All the questions that have ever been asked about faith rise to the surface. Does God help us, or does God do it for us? Do we keep trying or just wait for Him? Do we hang on or let go? Have we sinned, so now God won't do anything for us?
I am convinced that God is a bit bigger then any trite answer we might have to those questions. I do see that God's character seems to bring a broader understanding of His intentions towards mankind. As we see Him in character, we see what He is doing. Jesus said, I do what I see the Father doing. So what does the Father do?
The Father is called that because He fathers us. He is a perfect father... a blend of loving kindness, patience, discipline and pure joy in His children. He is not a father that has, or will abandon us. He is not one to be angry for no reason; no not one to belittle or berate His beloved creation. He is a father that waits for us to tell Him what we have done wrong before someone else does.
As the father of a 3-year-old, I think God is a little like me... and most other dads that I know. He is proud of our small accomplishments. He cares that we don't cross the street without looking both ways and he can't wait to spend time together; just the two of us. He is certainly and rightfully upset at bad behavior and applauds repentance. He looks forward more to who we will become then what we will do. Yeah, He is a great father who loves us in spite of what we have done wrong, whatever that might be.
I guess some days I don't find faith for big miracles and sometimes I see more judgement then mercy or grace. I wonder why that is? Good fathers aren't like that. God desires to give us good gifts, ones that won't hurt us.
And when it comes to smoking, in spite of who I have been, I haven't had a cigarette since April 1994. You see God is a good dad, and when I asked Him after 20 years, He took it.