One of our local churches began holding evangelistic meetings at the local community college. Last weekend, before the meeting began, Dr. DeRose gave a health presentation on the connection between blood pressure and spirituality. Dr. DeRose is an Adventist internist and practices preventative medicine.
He told an interesting story about two different women who quit smoking. The first woman went to an evangelistic meeting and was convicted that smoking was not in line with God’s will for her health and quit smoking that very same hour. The following day, she was in a car full of friends who were smoking and she was so repulsed by the smell that she had to roll down her window to breathe. The second woman was Dr. DeRose’s patient whose boyfriend offered to buy her a car on the condition that she stop smoking. She agreed and quit. Two years later, she told Dr. DeRose she was miserable and that every day, she still fought the urge to smoke.
His story made me pause and wonder which woman I was.
The more I read and learn from my Bible, the more I’ve come to understand that many of my habits do not fall in line with His teachings. This has led me to try and make changes in my health, my thoughts, the way I utilize my time and even more importantly, the way I perceive and treat others. I’ve become overwhelmed at times and impatient with my failures, often echoing Paul’s sentiment in Romans 8:19, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice”.
Dr. DeRose’s story led me to examine my motives and my approach to changing. Was I convicted by faith that I needed to change? Was I allowing my trust in God’s strength to change me?
Matthew 6:33 says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. God is promising that if I seek out His righteousness first in my life, He will give me everything else I need, including the right motive, conviction and faith to change my bad habits into good. If I seek Him out first and foremost in my life, He says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statues, and you will keep my judgments and do them” Ezekiel 36: 26, 27.