Monday, October 13, 2008

Genes or Habits?

Exodus 34:7 He punishes the children and their children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generations...

"Everyone in my family is overweight - it's just the way we are."
"High cholesterol/heart diseast/diabetes/cancer runs in my family."
"My mother didn't cook vegetables so I just never learned to like them."

If any of these statements sounds familiar, chances are you're playing the "genes" card! It's very easy to look at your family history and decide that whatever health issue you are dealing with, it is genetic and there's little you can do about it.

I am not denying that your family history may predispose you to certain diseases. All of my grandparents except for one, most of my aunts and uncles and my mother all died from cancer. Does it seem to run in my family? Gallop may be more like it. I acknowledge the history but I do not believe it destines me or my children to go down the same path.

Consider a different question - what really runs in your family, genes or habits? Research confirms that although heredity and familial disposition toward certain conditions have an effect on physical health, it only accounts for approximately 20% - lifestyle and nutrition account for close to 80%! This tells me that while we can acknowledge our family's health history and be aware of it, we need not repeat it. Rather than just continue to perpetuate the habits we may have grown up with, we have the power to choose to change them and improve the outcome.

While changing lifelong habits may not be easy, remember, your choices not only affect you, but future generations as well. We need not feel we're doomed to suffer from the same problems and diseases as our parents and grandparents. Deuteronomy 30:19 encourages us to choose life, for ourselves and for our children. We can choose to do things differently. Our parents did the best they knew to do. Since we know better, we must make the choice to do better.

We must also embrace the truth that as Christians we now have a different, better Bloodline, one in which there is no disease! By doing these things we can create a new "history" and pass down vibrant health, wholeness and faith for generations to come.

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