long will you live? A new medical report has the answer. Researchers
examined 231,048 adults age 45 and up, following them for six years.
They discovered six factors that determine how long people live: smoking, alcohol use, dietary behavior, physical inactivity, sedentary behavior, and sleep. The lower your score for at-risk behavior, the longer you'll live.
As the saying goes, this is not rocket science. Here's a more surprising fact: Character is related to longevity as well.
Psychologists note that moral character reduces personal anxiety and
stress. When we live in alignment with our values, we are happier
people. And stress is one of the most significant contributors to
disease, alcohol and drug abuse, depression, and early death. To live
longer, live better. Choose character.
And to live a life that matters long after you're gone, choose character as well.
In Genesis 13, Abraham and his nephew Lot chose the land on which their
tribes would dwell. Lot "settled among the cities of the valley and
moved his tent as far as Sodom" (v. 12). However, the writer notes that
"the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord" (v. 13).
When God warned Abraham that he would judge the city, the patriarch
interceded for the people (Genesis 18:22–33). By this time, Lot had
moved into Sodom itself (Genesis 14:12).
Then, when the Lord sent angels to judge the sinful city, Lot hesitated
to leave (Genesis 19:15). The angels had to seize him, his wife, and his
two daughters, forcing them to flee the judgment to come (v. 16). His
sons-in-law rejected the angelic warning and died in the judgment that
fell. Lot's wife looked back at the city they tried not to leave and
died as well (v. 26). Lot's daughters then seduced him and bore children
by their father (vs. 30–38).
Abraham prayed for Sodom, but Lot chose to live there. Today, more than
half the world's population venerates Abraham as a patriarch of their
faith. No one venerates Lot. I have known many men named Abraham. I've
never met a person named Lot.
Your character is essential to your life and your legacy. If you would
live a life that God can bless and use, choose integrity. But there's a
catch: We cannot become the people God wants us to be without the help
The Spirit wants to conform you to the character of Jesus (Romans 8:29).
He longs to manifest his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in your life
(Galatians 5:22–23). But he cannot give what you won't receive.
So ask God to make you a person of greater integrity today than you were
yesterday. Submit your thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions to his
Spirit. Walk with Jesus and measure success by the degree to which you
demonstrate his character. And God will use your integrity to draw
others to the Christ they see in you. (For more on this vital subject,
please read my latest website essay, "Integrity: The Key to Leadership.")
Warren Wiersbe was right: "The highest reward for a faithful life is not
what you get for it but what you become by it." David prayed, "Let the
words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your
sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer" (Psalm 19:14). I've decided to
begin every day by making his prayer mine.