December 12th, 2015| Topic: Uncategorized | 0


A 50-year-long study has recently shown what we all knew already: unhealthy lifestyles can reduce our lifespans.

Inadequate exercise, imprudent diet, and inadvisable smoking, potentially resulting in heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, can diminish the length of life. If you are a male in your 40s, being stricken with all three conditions will bring your life expectancy down from 78 to 55 (if you are a female, your reduction would be 20 years). If you were in your 60s, your lifespan reduction is 15 years: you could die in another 3 years!

About 1.2 million people, recruited between 1960 and 2010 were studied; 135,000 died during the research period. Said Prof. John Danesh, Head of the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at Cambridge:

Although patients with more than one condition constitute only a small proportion of the population at large, in real terms the numbers are not insignificant. Measures aimed at reducing diabetes and heart disease amongst this group could have a dramatic impact on their lives.”

About 25 million in the US suffer from type 2 diabetes; a million suffer heart attacks each year; and about the same number have stroke in the same time period.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation (which helped fund the study), declared:

Everyone should be aware of their risk of developing any of these conditions, and how they can reduce it. If you wait until you have developed one of these conditions before thinking about your wider health, you will already have reduced your life expectancy.”

But we Christians already knew that unhealthy lifestyles decrease lifespans. Indeed, the Bible adds a particularly important condition that can create these problems—it’s not just heart disease and stroke and diabetes that can take away from your years of life. The Bible calls it sin!

My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
Proverbs 3:1

Not following God’s commands can bring trouble, including a diminution of life. You see, there are practical consequences of the behavior of God’s people in this life.

Here’s another, this from the New Testament (citing the Old):

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Honor your father and mother … so that it may be well with you,
and that you may live long on the earth.
Ephesians 6:1–3

To the verses cited above, one can add the numerous utterances in Proverbs that promise life by eschewing violence (Prov 1:19), avoiding naiveté (1:32; 10:21; 14:12; 21:16), obeying God (Prov 3:1–2; 4:10), being wise (Prov 3:16; 9:11; 13:14; 15:24), resisting adultery (Prov 5:5, 23; 7:27; 9:18), fearing God (Prov 10:27; 14:27; 19:23: 22:4), displaying righteousness (Prov 11:4, 19, 30; 16:17; 19:16: 21:21), refusing wickedness (Prov 12:7; 15:27; 22:22–23), speaking guardedly (Prov 13:3; 21:6), as well as honoring parents (Prov 20:20; 30:17).

The general tendency of Bible scholars is to consign all of these to the category of sententious moralisms that are “not necessarily true all the time.” I, however, would affirm that they are always true. Sure, there are many factors that contribute to a long lifespan, including genes, and exercise, and diet, and abstaining from smoking, and good healthcare, etc., etc. Well, God’s added another: righteousness. Though I would not dare to speculate on the length of time sin takes away from one’s life or that righteousness adds to it, I am convinced they do … all other factors remaining equal.

Yup, unhealthy living can be dangerous.

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