JF: What was that writing process for you like and what part of the book spoke to you the most while writing?
Ronnie: In any writing process, you go through a journey in relationship. The thing that really motivated me to write is wanting to help people live life successfully in a way that would bring glory to God in a way that would help them add life to their years regardless of their number of years. People can’t control the number of years they get, but they can control their perspective and the life that they have left on the earth to live. And so I’m motivated greatly by helping people.
I think this book helps people and, obviously, it’s written from a biblical perspective, but also a lot of personal perspectives. Many people, when they read this book, they immediately said, ‘You wrote about your life. That’s what you’ve modeled, that’s what you do.’ Those are their words, not my words.
I was excited about the book because I think it gives a unique perspective compared to other works. I’ve been a Christian a long time and I’ve walked with the Lord deeply for many years so I feel the area that I enjoyed writing about the most was the importance of living fit physically and living fit financially. I think those are two major barriers that people struggle with, whether they’re Christians or not. Whether they’re followers of Christ or not. So, I was excited to write about that because I think what I’ve done is help people, and again, I’m motivated by helping people.
JF: What’s been the overall reaction to the book?
Ronnie: A big ‘thank you’ for helping them talk about something that most people don’t talk about. The book confronts this in a positive way, not a negative way. It holds us accountable and accountability is a big deal. Every one of us needs accountability in those areas. They’re not easy areas to ignore. Anytime we can help people live successful. Anytime we can help people live in a way that honors Christ then we have done them a favor. We have also had the favor of the Lord in it because God honors his people when his people live for him. And I want to be a model of this book. I feel like I am to some degree, but I can always get better, and that’s true for all of us. That’s my real commitment: to live it out where somebody sees it and they want what I have. How does he do that? What is going on? How is all of this happening? That really motivates me.
JF: Could you give me one example of what the book says biblically about living fit physically?
Ronnie: That’s a great question. In that specific section, I go deep into the importance of living out 1 Thessalonians 5:23, which talks about this whole element of your whole person being presented to God – body, soul, spirit, and that it all belongs to the Lord. That you are made up of who you are and you have a spirit, a soul, and a body, and you’re not just some physical blob of human matter. You’re a person who’s been made in the image of God.
Genesis 1 and Romans 12 states that you’re a person who is to present your bodies fully to the Lord. Romans 12:1 talks about that. Romans 12:2 talks about presenting your mind, renewing your mind, and your mind is powerful. All those things are in the book.
There’s myriad of scriptures used in every section. I haven’t randomly said, ‘I’m just going to give you my perspective.’ Did I give my perspective some? Yes, but it’s been altered by a biblical perspective and I pray that it’s been a biblical perspective. That’s what I would say in relationship to the physical thing.
A lot of people want to excuse the physical thing because they think, ‘I can’t do that.’ Living fit is becoming fit. I get asked questions on how do you know when you’re becoming fit? Well, you’re just advancing – you’re better off emotionally than you were a year ago, you’re better off physically than you were a year ago. Whatever it may be … your Christian life. We’re all going to struggle, we’re all going to have setbacks, we’re all going to have things that get us off pace. I hope this book has served as a compass to really help people know where to go and the direction they need to go. That’s what I’ve tried to do.
JF: What’s next for you?
Ronnie: I have written a book since this book released called How to Pray. It’s the twentieth anniversary of that book and I rewrote about 95 percent of it and added five chapters. That was one of my next things. I just transitioned out of the pastorate into providing leadership to the Southern Baptist Convention, which is the largest non-Catholic denomination in the United States. We’re involved in a lot of stuff all over the country and the world. That’s pretty big. That keeps me going. Really, I’m just trying to hold on and see what the Lord wants to do and pray for that he’ll use me in an effective way.
JF: Is there anything I left out or something you want to re-emphasize?
Ronnie: One of the things that I would remind people about the book is that they really need to get a hold of this financial section. I think living fit financially is really done well in this book in relationship to helping people arrive where they need to arrive and how to live financially. It teaches people how to live life and how to really make a difference in their lives financially. It gives people hope financially.
I think there’s a way every person can learn under God’s leadership how to manage that part of their life that oftentimes gets so out of whack. You can get your physical life out of whack and you may go through several years and never feel it or evidence never shows up. If you do that financially, and you make one or two wrong decisions, you may feel it for the rest of your life. So, I really get motivated trying to help people know how to do that.
JF: How does the financial section of the book draw on the Bible and scripture hone in on the message of living fit from a financial standpoint?
Ronnie: Thank you for that question. That’s a good question. The Bible talks a lot about money. Sometimes people only think that the Bible talks about money in relationship to the biblical principle of stewardship or in relationship to giving. But there’s so much written in the New Testament and the Old Testament about living fit financially and it involves matters that are really critical and we need to live by the word. Psalm 119:105 says, ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.’
I really believe that the way people handle money, they need to follow what God says. Not only do I give them enormous challenges about how to live financially today, but I also talk about how to overcome them. I talk about how to work through that in your life. The Bible also talks about how to live life way beyond the giving side, but with what God gives you in your life.
The Bible talks about how it’s important that God is the owner of everything. We don’t own anything, but God owns everything. When we acknowledge that God owns everything, then we can change our lives. He has an opinion about how to live and operate your life financially. There are biblical scriptures all over the financial section based on the Word of the Lord. The book gives you the whole deal about making an indelible impact with your life. I think there’s a lot there for folks to sink their teeth into and figure out what God’s doing in their life.
John Farrell is the Digital Content Writer / Editor of Inspiration.org