When I was a teenager, I was invited to my friend’s home for brunch. After we finished our meal, he brushed his teeth as he walked around his house. His mother chuckled and said, “He is just like my late husband. He did the same thing! It is amazing since he died when Jake was only three years old, and for most of those years, he was deployed in Vietnam. So, he really never saw his father do this.”
My friend had inherited his late father’s same behavior. I have noticed that I, too, have inherited many of my father’s behaviors and I see this in my own children, much to their annoyance. Like migratory birds and hibernating bears, some scientists aver that many of our behaviors are programmed within us and we are beholden to these genetic programs that are hard-wired in our brains. In turn, we pass along these behaviors through our genes. While this may be true for simple behaviors like my friend’s penchant to walk while brushing his teeth, some scientists take it to much higher levels.
What about alcoholism? Researchers have now identified several genes that are linked to this condition. If this is true, how can we call alcoholism a sin if some of us are genetically programmed to be an alcoholic? What is next? Will we someday discover a gene for murder, for lying, for defrauding others? Will we be able to explain all of our sins by attributing it to our genetic makeup, excusing us from taking responsibility for our behaviors?
While it is true that some behaviors are inherited, there is a critical difference between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom. We can choose to change our behaviors. We can undergo counseling and even take medications. However, while these therapies may help, oftentimes, these only mask or sublimate the desires, ready to re-emerge during times of stress in the future. What we all truly need is a complete reworking of our soul. What we need is a supernatural intervention by God.
…Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.
Zechariah 4:6 (NASB)
Only by confessing and repenting of our sins and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will we be able to break the bonds of sins in our lives. The instant we do so, God sends His Holy Spirit to indwell within us. Regardless of whether we have inherited a genetic tendency that increases our susceptibility to behave in a certain manner, God’s Holy Spirit can override and eliminate any desire we have toward sinning. God can do this because He created us and wants us to live a fulfilled and abundant life, following His will rather than giving in to our fickle desires.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.