TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Proverbs 3:5-6
A recent medical report reveals the results of research that examined 231,048 Australian adults age 45 and up after following them for 6 years. Researchers revealed six factors that determine how long people live: smoking, alcohol use, diet, physical inactivity, sedentary behavior, and sleep.
None of that is rocket science, nor is it really surprising. But another trait of long life that has been revealed by research is a bit more surprising: conscientiousness. In Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin’s 2012 book The Longevity Project, the authors identified an association between being conscientious and long life. They wrote, “The Conscientiousness scale combined four other characteristics that parents and teachers had rated: how prudent was the child, how conscientious, how truthful, and how free from vanity and egotism?”
These characteristics are all traits of the type of moral character that the Bible teaches. So it shouldn’t be surprising to Christians that living conscientiously produces good results. The reason why living a life of character leads to longer life is because it reduces one of the biggest causes of substance abuse, depression, and disease: stress and worry. It reduces worry because when we live a life of character and integrity, we don’t have to worry about watching our backs or covering our tracks. We don’t have to deal with the extra stress it brings to our relationships or the consequences of immoral choices.
Many times when we talk about not worrying, we are describing worrying about situations beyond our control. However, many of our worries could be done away with by making choices of character in matters that are within our control. Rather than trying to decide for ourselves what is right and walking away from God’s commandments, trusting in Him for our character will do just as Solomon says and “make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:6). Making a path straighter and easier to walk will lead to less worry about the things we may find along the way.
Today, I will…choose to make my outward actions match my inward convictions and pray for God to help me be a person of greater character and integrity today than I was yesterday.