Becoming All We Can Be
About the Guest
Are you taking care of yourself? Ronnie Floyd tackles the topic of living fit in all areas of our lives: spiritually, physically, relationally, financially, and emotionally.
Becoming All We Can Be
Bob: It may have been a big hit song for Frank Sinatra, but it’s not a good life strategy—Pastor Ronnie Floyd says—to decide to “…live life your way/my way,”—instead, he says we need to be taking our cues from God.
Ronnie: “Am I going to do this the Bible way or am I going to do it my way?”—that’s the wrestling match. It’s just like everything else in life: “What does God say about it?” and “How am I going to run my relationships?—the way God wants me to or me? Finances: “God or me?” Physical: “God or me?” My spiritual life: “God or me?” Nobody gets that prefect; but the point is: “Is the heart, the intent, the will power to do what God wants you to do?”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, June 8th. Our host is Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.
If we’re going to really live life as it ought to be lived, we need to know what the Designer had in mind when He created us. We’ll talk more about that today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. We’ll be talking about Living Fit. I thought we’d talk about the relationship between coffee and fitness today; right?
Dennis: That’s a cheap shot. [Laughter] You know our guest is watching me drink this coffee that was just brought in to me. You’re such a purist—you’ve never had a drink of coffee.
Bob: I have never tasted—I don’t know what coffee tastes like; yes. It’s nothing spiritual or anything—it’s always looked dark and brown and didn’t smell very good. I thought, “Why should anybody drink that stuff?”
So I stay here, with the elixir here, Diet Coke®; right? [Laughter]
Dennis: It’s healthy!
Bob: I’m Mr. Healthy!
Dennis: That’s healthy!
Dennis: Well, our guest has written a book called Living Fit, and he helped us earlier with the gauges of spiritual fitness and physical fitness. Ronnie Floyd joins us, again, on FamilyLife Today. Ronnie, welcome back.
Ronnie: Thank you, Dennis.
Dennis: He’s a neighbor up in Northwest Arkansas—pastors a little country church up there called Cross Church. [Laughter]
Bob: How many people come to Cross Church every Sunday?
Ronnie: Oh, we’ll touch about 9/10,000 a week.
Bob: That’s great.
Dennis: —been doing that since 1986. He and his wife Jeana have been married for more than four decades—have two sons and seven grandkids.
I’m going to ask you this question—
Ronnie: —right at the start.
Dennis: We had such a good time earlier that I just got to think—I’ve just got to ask Ronnie my favorite question. And my listeners are real loyal listeners, who really do listen, and you’re out there! [Laughter] We know—you come up and tell us. [Laughter] They know what I’m about to ask you.
Here’s the question, Ronnie: “Out of everything you have ever done in all your life, what is the most courageous thing you have ever done?” To give you a little time to think, I’ll define courage for you—not that you need this—because I know you don’t, because you embody this—but courage is doing your duty in the face of fear. Now, I’ve given you a few seconds to think about it—reviewing your entire lifetime, as Bob said; because he hates this question.
Bob: We want every event—analyze it / scale it out, one to another: “What’s the most—what we would be an 8.7 as opposed to an 8.6 on the courage scale?” [Laughter]
Dennis: What do you think’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done, Ronnie?
Ronnie: That is a very difficult question.
Dennis: It is!
Ronnie: Of course, I’d take it very seriously. I am running all through my mind of the various—
Bob: —of the events of life.
Ronnie: —various events of life and leadership. I really think the first thing that came into my mind was deciding to just live for Christ—and do it unashamedly, unapologetically, and just stand on the Word. And in the words of Billy Graham—again, and again, and again: “The Bible says…” “The Bible says…” “The Bible says…”
Bob: Was that a decision you made as a high school student/college student?
Ronnie: I would say so in college—definitely in college—and also in high school, some in the older years. I definitely think it was a growing process as it would be.
Bob: You grew up in a Christian home.
Ronnie: That’s right.
Bob: You came to faith young?—or did you come—
Ronnie: I came to faith really more as a teenager—you know, just really a deep realization that I needed Christ in my life when I was a sophomore in high school.
Bob: Did you face a point-in-time decision, where you were staring at that decision and said, “I’m going to follow Christ”?
Ronnie: Absolutely! I felt I was—I felt like it was a moment of clear definition, and it was even more clear about my call to ministry.
Dennis: Let’s talk about your book, Living Fit, because you do talk about five gauges that we are to look at and measure our lives by. The first one is spiritual; the second one is physical—how you’re eating, how you’re exercising, etc. This third one—relational—is one where we need trainers, I think.
Ronnie: I think we probably need more training in relationships than we do with taking care of ourselves physically; because in reality, there are a lot more helps there than it would be on the other. And there’s probably a lot more healthy models in the fitness realm of the physical than it is in the relational.
We live in a very dysfunctional day, where it’s all over family; it’s all over churches; it’s all over government—it’s all over relationships, whether we’re on a ballfield or wherever it may be. We are living out the opposite of what Jesus would want us to live and about being in healthy relationships.
Bob: Dennis and Barbara have been working on a book that’s coming out, here, in another month or two on parenting. One of the four core areas that you and Barbara address in this book—one of the things parents need to instruct their children in—is how to have healthy relationships: what that looks like, how to be good friend, how to seek and grant forgiveness, how to live in harmony with another person.
Dennis: If you think about it, the Great Commandment is all about relationships. Jesus summarized both the Law and the Prophets in His Great Command: Love God; love others.
Dennis: What Barbara and I attempted to do is talk about “How does a parent take the child’s hand in theirs and put it in God’s hand?—and introduce the child to who God is and begin the journey of the relationship, where they must learn to get to know Him and walk with Him.
Bob: When you look at relationship fitness in your life, or in the lives of people in your congregation, what are the sub-gauges you’re looking at? What are the key indicators to you that this person is relationally healthy versus somebody who might need some relational help?
Ronnie: I think I have to look at—in relationship to the way I treat people versus the way Jesus treated people. I think about how Jesus loved—Jesus loved sacrificially / He loved them selflessly. He loved with all that He had, unconditionally—
—you know, as you all have so mentored and encouraged your people, through the years, about the role of a husband in relationship to his wife—of loving his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. That call of unconditional love is not just to our spouse; but it’s to brothers and sisters in Christ and people that we would classify as perhaps spiritual brothers, but we have relationship with them.
Dennis: You had a friend by the name of Ron, who, early in your ministry, sat you down and gave you—I guess what you would say would be the greatest lesson on love you have ever learned.
Ronnie: Yes, probably so.
Dennis: Share with our listeners what he told you.
Ronnie: He said: “You know, Ronnie, you are going to lose some folks. That’s alright; Jesus lost a few. You’ll be okay; but you need to remember this and never forget it. You never let anyone outside of your circle of love.” I’ve never forgotten that statement—that we should never let anyone outside our circle of love.
I can honestly tell you—that day was a massive, massive change in my attitude.
Dennis: Unpack it, Ronnie. How did it impact you, practically speaking, then?
Ronnie: I really think, at that moment, it really hit me that: “You know what? If I treated people like that, which is the way Jesus would treat them—He didn’t let them outside of His circle of love—that they might come back around,”—whether it was a personal relationship with somebody in our church, or maybe even the way they looked at me; maybe I was irresponsible, not intentionally; but you know—
Ronnie: —I am but a man.
Ronnie: I’m not perfect! But I think God appropriated it to me; because, all these years, I’ve really—I’ve just refused to let anyone outside of it. You know, I’m like you guys—I get letters; I get challenges; I’ve been in a lot of levels of leadership, way beyond the local church; and it’s not easy leading people.
But I can tell you one thing—I honestly believe that one of the reasons Jesus, in His prayer, talks about forgiving those who trespass against us—if you will pray and ask God to give the power to forgive, you will not deal with unforgiveness, long term, in your life.
Bob: When we read the words of Jesus, saying to us, “Love your enemies and pray for those who despitefully use you,” I can’t do that! That’s supernatural; isn’t it?
Bob: It requires walking with Jesus—remembering that, while we were yet enemies, Christ dies for us—then living in that grace to be a dispenser of grace to others, even people who despitefully use us.
Ronnie: That’s right.
Bob: I know Dennis wants to get to this last gauge of the emotional side—being fit, emotionally. But talk just briefly about the fourth gauge, the financial gauge. What does financial fitness look like for somebody?
Ronnie: Well, I think doing it, first of all—above all—living God’s way—understanding we own nothing and God owns absolutely everything and that we are stewards of all things that God has entrusted to us. We’re responsible; we will give an account of that—we need to know that. We need to, first of all, have an allegiance to Him in the way we handle matters, while we’re living on this earth; and we need to have allegiance to Him when we depart from this earth—in the planning of what we do with the assets / the blessings that God gives us in our life.
Bob: I had somebody, one time, say this—and this was a paradigm shift for me—they said: “The question is not for you: ‘How much of your money are you going to give to God’s work?’ The question is: “’How much of God’s money are you going to keep for yourself and your own pleasures?’” All of a sudden, I thought, “That’s a different way of looking at it.”
Ronnie: That changes—
Bob: That is exactly what you are saying: “This is God’s stuff that we’re stewards of. How are we going to be wise investors of the resources He’s given us?”
Ronne: You know, whenI did my doctorate work at Southwestern Seminary—that was my thesis. My dissertation was on the whole subject of biblical stewardship. The thing that really came ahold of me, more than anything in that, is that God owns everything. The whole power of what Dave Ramsey calls “outrageous generosity” cannot occur apart from the entire commitment that God owns everything, and I own absolutely nothing. Either I want to live my life, with my hands wide open; or I’m going to live, with clenched fist, meaning that I hold on to it: “It’s mine.” Nothing is mine—it’s all dust.
Dennis: Okay; so here’s my question for you: “What’s a recent time, when you were holding on a little too tightly to something, and God wrestled it away from you; and it was this principle that helped you open your hands up and do it God’s way?”
Ronnie: I think probably the most recent, where I would say I would remember that, would be the amount that God put on my heart to give in relationship to a campaign that we had in our church, several years ago. That was probably one of the real challenges of saying: “Wow! Okay; wow!” [Laughter]
Bob: “God, are You sure You know how much of Your money You want to give here?”
Ronnie: You know, Jeana and I have been strongly committed to biblical stewardship for years and years, way beyond what we would believe God would really want anyone to begin at. With that, it’s a matter of: “Okay; God, are You sure?—because I already know what I’m doing; I know what I’ve been doing. I mean…”
As a pastor—I believe, when you are a pastor of a church, you need to be a leader—you need to lead your people. You can’t lead your people where you, yourself, are not willing to go.
It just came back, one more time: “Hey, it’s not mine; it’s His!”
One of the other things, Dennis, would be the whole element of pastoring a church. You know, you’ve been there with this ministry. You’ve been there a long time, and the ministry’s not yours.
Ronnie: And that church, it’s not mine. Jesus bought it and paid for it; it’s not mine. I’ve been an interim pastor all these years, and I’m still an interim. [Laughter]
Dennis: I would say Barbara and I had a fresh illustration of that in the past 12 months as we prayed for, and recruited, and were able to acquire my successor. Barbara put it the best of anybody—she said, “Handing FamilyLife® off to a younger man to be the next leader of FamilyLife is a lot like giving your daughter away at a wedding.
“There’s lots invested there—a lot of emotion, blood, sweat, and tears—but you’ve got to do it by faith.” God calls us, as leaders, to let go and place the hand in the next person. He’s got to run the place.
Bob: There are a lot of people listening, who are thinking: “I’d love to be outrageously generous. I’ve got $50,000 in student loans; I’ve got credit debt I’m dealing with. I’m so far from being outrageously generous; I’m just trying to keep my head above water. How do I get financially fit?” Do they need a trainer? Do they need somebody to come alongside them to help get their house in order?
Ronnie: At times they do. Everyone needs those basics taught to us that we were all supposed to learn before we got married—you know, those basics of debt / those basics of “Don’t live beyond your means.”
Bob: “Don’t spend more than you are earning”; right.
Ronnie: That’s right! And the whole element of: “You know, what does God want from us? Am I going to do this the Bible way or am I going to do it my way?”—
—that’s the wrestling match. It’s just like everything else in life: “What does God say about it?” and “How am I going to run my relationships?—the way God wants me to or me? Finances: “God or me?” Physical: “God or me?” My spiritual life: “God or me?” Nobody gets that prefect; but the point is: “Is the heart, the intent, the will power to do what God wants you to do?”
Bob: We’ve got a little time left to talk about the emotional fitness. Do we want to squeeze this in here?
Dennis: We do! Tell us what you would say is the most important lesson, Ronnie, if you were coaching a young couple—starting out their marriage / maybe in the first five years of their marriage—starting their family out. What’s the best advice you could give them around this emotional gauge?
Ronnie: Unconditional love, at all times—and not sacrificing your relationship because you’ve had a bad day, because maybe you haven’t paid attention to your emotional gauge. Really respect the other people that you are around / respect God’s intent for your life. You’ve each been created in the image of God—you need to treat each other like that—in your good moments / in your bad moments. Treat one another like God would want you to treat them.
Bob: This is the where, for me, to have emotional strength/emotional health—I need to be remembering that: “I am a recipient of God’s grace—that He’s poured grace into my life—I’d be nowhere without it. Then, I need to be a dispenser of grace and be as generous with others as God has been with me, whether that’s my wife, my kids, my co-workers. I need to remember, ‘Look, God has been long-suffering and gracious to me. I’m the recipient of grace; now, I need to be a channel of grace to others.’”
Dennis: I’m going to tell you where I started my day—just interesting, Ronnie, because there’s a story behind this. My life verse is the same as a good friend of yours—used to be—he’s now in heaven: Adrian Rogers. His life verse was Psalm 112: verses 1, 2. If you’ll see my Bible, it’s got the handprint of my granddaughter, who only lived seven days: Might Molly we called her.
Dennis: I started my day in the middle of “30 Days of Praise.” I’ve been reading the Psalms, spending a lot of times in the Psalms. I’ve been taking note of how many of the Psalms begin, like this one does: “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commands. His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”
Just take a look sometime, when you are reading the Psalms, how many times it tells you, “Praise the Lord,” “Praise His name.”
Bob: I guess we don’t do that naturally; we have to be told; don’t we?
Dennis: It’s what Ronnie was talking about—gratitude. What’s God trying to do there? For me—I don’t know about anybody else—but for me, I needed 30 days of praise; because I’m facing some challenges that I need to stop and just: “Thank You, God. I praise Your Name. You’re in charge; I’m not. I yield to You. I surrender afresh to You. Praise the Lord!”
It’s not a Christian cliché, by the way; it’s genuine. I think that’s what you are after in your book—it’s getting people to look at the gauges—whether they are spiritual, physical, financial, relational, or emotional—and make sure you read them right, and pay attention and make the main thing the main thing, and deal with your stuff.
Ronnie: You know, one of the things that is so important is what we read in
1 Thessalonians 5, verse 23: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And your whole spirit, soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Sanctify you completely—set you apart completely. Think of your life in those five gauges. God wants to set each one of those elements apart for His use and His glory. Somehow, we have got to discipline ourselves, where we have the power to check the gauges, not rationalize the gauges. Even the other day, I had to do something in relationship to this book; and I got under conviction, reading my own book—[Laughter]—
—because, you know, I hadn’t dialed in at that moment; I was really involved in a lot of things. It was like a repentance moment—it was a repentance moment. There are things, where we just have to say, “This is not, and this is good.”
Bob: Again, I think for listeners to take these five areas and say: “How are we doing in these areas?” and do a little self-evaluation; or if you have the courage, ask your spouse: “How do you think I’m doing in these areas?” Sometimes, our spouse can give us a better calibration than we can.
Ronnie: That can be brutal. [Laughter]
Bob: We’ve got copies of Ronnie’s book, Living Fit, in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can order it from us, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call to order: 1-800-FL-TODAY is our number. Again, the website: FamilyLifeToday.com; the toll-free number is 1-800- FL-TODAY. The title of the book is Living Fit: Making Your Life Count by Pursuing a Healthy You.
You know, you think about it—that is what our mission is, here, at FamilyLife. We want to help effectively develop godly marriages and families / healthy, strong marriages and families that are in alignment with God’s purpose and God’s design for you. Our team has put together a series of devotionals we’re making available for families to use over the next few weeks—you can use it whenever you’d like to this summer.
It’s a four-week devotion series that has devotions for couples and devotions for families, all designed to help you spend intentional time together, talking about what the Bible has to say about communication, kindness, service, and gratitude. This devotional guide is available free. You can download it as a pdf file when you go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com. Just click the link for the Growing Together devotion series. If you’re driving, and you’d like us to fill it out and send you an email with the link in it—
—just call 1-800-FL-TODAY and our team will be happy to send you the link. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com if you want to do the download on your own; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to get the Growing Together devotion series. The reason we are making this available is because this is our mission: To effectively develop godly marriages and families.
And we want to say, “Thank you,” to those who make all of these resources possible—this daily radio program, these devotions, the online resources, our weekend getaways. When you support the ministry of FamilyLife, you are supporting the marriages and families in your community and people all around the world.
If you’d like to help with a donation today, it’s easy to do. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com to donate, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and make your donation over the phone. Again, thanks for your support of this ministry, we are grateful for your partnership.
And we hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend.
And I hope you can join us back on Monday. We are going to talk about what the Bible has to say about healthy sexuality. This is a subject we are revisiting because, in our culture, there’s a lot of noise about sexuality that is not biblical. We want to keep reminding you of what the Bible teaches when it comes to human sexuality. Todd Wilson is going to join us Monday to talk about that. I hope you can be here as well.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. Have a great weekend. We will see you Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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