2% Genetic

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, May 31, 2014 1 comments

by Nathan Buck

I read an article from a medical doctor a few years ago that indicated that all health disorders we face are only 2% genetic. This means that only 2% of our DNA passed from our parents has some influence on whether we are healthy or suffer from disease. Allergies, obesity, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, nervous or skeletal disorders, even cancer – all are only 2% genetically predisposition in us. And my immunologist stated that studies show only FOOD allergies pass from parent to child – no other allergies are genetically passed.

Recently I had a conversation with a man whose father is dying of a deteriorating heart condition. And in our conversation he said, “I guess I know what I have to look forward to.” In an effort to comfort him, I said, “Well you know it is only 2% genetic, the rest is lifestyle choices.” He graciously accepted the encouragement with a short chuckle, and we moved on in the conversation. Something stuck with me though and I continued to process it.

I thought about why we like to blame genetics for disease, and why it comforts us to think we are just genetic time bombs waiting to explode. Oddly there is a sense of comfort in believing this, because it gives us something “random” or seemingly “unbiased” to blame for our health conditions and struggles. After all, when a loved one dies, we don’t want to admit that their lifelong habits and choices contributed to disease. The truth is, the beer and cigarettes didn’t kill them; their choice to smoke and drink did. Obesity didn’t kill them; their choices when they ate did. Heart disease didn’t kill them; how they exercised and ate did. And the list goes on.

Admitting it also means we have to face OUR own choices. We may be slowly killing ourselves. It’s easier just to blame an uncontrollable fatalistic factor like genetics – and give 100% of the power to 2% of the problem.

Take a moment and briefly reflect on these Bible passages: I Corinthians 6:19-20, I Thessalonians 4:1-12, and Proverbs 23:1-3.

Each of these passages of the Bible talks about our bodies. The first two are about being sure to restrain the lusts and desires of our bodies. The Proverbs passage talks about gluttony and resisting “deceptive food.” What’s important to notice about these passages is the assumption the Bible makes when it comes to any desire we have – sexually, emotionally, hunger, or sensually driven. The assumption in the Bible is that we can and should discipline ourselves to avoid things that are not good for our body. Not only for our physical health, but also to honor our body as a place where God chooses to be present by His Holy Spirit.

If God were physically present with us, would we take him to a fast food restaurant for dinner, or feed him a bunch of candy, or rent a prostitute, or go to the local pool to lust after girls/guys? If we cared at all about Him, we would probably try to get the best we could afford and we would be on our best behavior. These Bible passages not only assume that we can control our bodies, but that we WANT to, because of God’s presence within those who have chosen to follow Jesus Christ.

So what about you? Are you blaming genetics for your health, your weight, your allergies, etc.? How about for your choices to lust after men or women, overeat, get drunk, lie, cheat, steal, have an affair, tell hurtful stories about others, etc? Is your sin genetic too?

We all have some predisposition to engage in destructive behavior or sin. But we choose whether or not we act on them. We all have 2% of our genetics that predisposes us to health risks. But we choose whether or not we contribute to those risks.

In Jesus Christ we have the ability to use self-discipline and self-control. He promises His power through the Holy Spirit. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have that power within you. If you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, that power is offered to you by committing to follow Jesus as the master of your life, and accepting His grace to rescue and restore you.

You can face the truth about your lifestyle and the impact of your decisions.

You have a choice – own it, or blame the 2%?


Kevin Lopez said...

Good comment on discipline and Good Health. I have begun to take care of my body by eating more vegetables and counting calories. Things will happen, but accidents can be mitigated or avoided. Nothing is deterministic in life. God will eventually call us and ask what we have spent our lives on.