John Farrell: What was the inspiration behind writing Living Fit?
Ronnie Floyd: I believe that so many people evaluate life in a singular way rather than a whole way. We have to look at our health in relationship to our health spiritually, physically, financially, emotionally, and relationally – all that is in a holistic manner. I was really motivated to try to teach people the importance of living fit spiritually, living fit physically, living fit relationally, living fit financially, and living fit emotionally because that deals with the entire person.
Oftentimes, we look at it singularly and say, ‘Well, I’m doing well spiritually, so all else is fine.’ But that doesn’t always mean it’s all fine. It can be and it should be, but at the same time, we know that we can have broken relationships. We know that we can have health issues. We know that we may be running around the country too much and not taking care of our bodies or we may be a financial disaster or an emotional basket case. In reality, a holistic look at living fit is a totally different way to look at it than what most people would look at it in relationship to fitness.
JF: When you look at the five different segments of living fit – the spiritual, physical, relational, financial, emotional – is there one that stands out as more important than the others?
Ronnie: I believe that out of all of them there is one that is the most important and that’s the living fit spiritually. That doesn’t minimize the other four, but it maximizes the importance of the ability to infiltrate the rest of your life when things are better off with you and God and your own personal walk with Christ. For example, you can be extremely healthy financially, but you might be losing your marriage or you may be extremely healthy financially and you have absolutely no relationship with God. But if you have and you are living fit spiritually, it has the chance to influence every area of your life – to be biblical, to be Christ-centered, to be led by the Holy Spirit, and to be what God wants you to be in your life.
JF: In what ways does having a strong Christian faith and relationship with God affect that fitness level where we all need to be?
Ronnie: I believe, first of all, more than anything is that it gives us purpose in life. Once we come to know Christ as Lord and Savior, the Lord blesses us with a purpose in our life. And we need to be people who are what I’ve identified in the book as living purposefully and people who would live with that kind of a purpose.
So many people don’t think that they have a purpose for their life. Even many Christians don’t quite get that, but I deeply believe that each one of us has a purpose in our life. And in fact, I even talk about the importance of pursuing the purpose that God has for your life and knowing that even according to the scripture we learned that nothing can hinder the purpose of God because God is over all, in all, and through all. We also know that when someone finishes living out their purpose in their generation. We know that from the biblical understanding of David’s life and death that he died when he served the purpose of his generation.
I think we need to understand that we are people who are living on purpose. So, when I live on purpose and with purpose, it changes everything in my life. It changes my perspective, the way I feel about myself, the way I feel about everyone around me, and what I feel about what I’m doing with my life. That’s why it’s so important to be fit spiritually and when you do that it’s impacted only by us living out our purpose that God calls us to be and to have in life.
JF: Is that the overall message you hope readers take from your book?
Ronnie: I hope leaders will take from the book that your life is made up of five segments, but the most important segment is spiritual. In fact, you could look at it on the basis of in the center of a circle would be your spiritual life and in that circle you take care of yourself. You learn how to be yourself spiritually and be what God wants you to be. Circled around that within the circle are four segments of your life that could and usually will be impacted by your spiritual life. You know, as your spiritual life goes so goes the rest of your life. That’s what I found in my life and that’s what I see in other people’s lives. If I’m not doing well in a certain area, it typically points back to something spiritually that needs to occur.
JF: For those who are struggling to find some kind of balance in one of the five segments, what kind of impact can prayer have?
Ronnie: I tell people all the time, ‘One of the things you need to do is pray about your health, the health of your whole life, every part of your life.’ I think prayer can get us through a lot of things that we face, whether it be relationally, financially, or in the other areas. It doesn’t simply get you through your spiritual life.
When do people want you to pray for them? When they’re in their greatest need, and their greatest need may be when something is a crisis in their life. One of the real keys is to go to Christ first in prayer, and with that you’re going to see your life differently. You’re going to have a different perspective. You’re going to see your life through the lens of God’s Word as you read God’s Word and that’s where you need to see it.
JF: Of the five sections, what do you find is the most challenging for people to get under control?
Ronnie: I think, probably more than any of them, people notice their physical more, their physical fitness – the taking care of their own bodies and all that’s comprised of that. I think everybody has challenges in one of those five areas, if not all five at times.
Life is not about being perfect, but life is learning how to live and navigate through a journey in your life. It doesn’t matter what comes your way. That’s why we need the Lord, but it’s also why we need to be concerned more than simply about our spiritual life. We need to also be taking care of ourselves physically. We need to take care of ourselves in relation to our emotional health. We need take care of ourselves physically as well as financially. All of those matters play into it and you can’t escape it. You do not live life on an island apart from any one of those four things.
What I have found is that of the five areas, people usually have a desire for one of them and it is greater than the desire for the others so they always lean toward that one. That’s where people get their identity, but we need to get our identity through Christ and Christ alone. We need to follow His will, His leadership, His word, and literally try to live out our Christian lives in a way that will honor God in all of those areas I mentioned in the book.
JF: What is your own personal testimony?
Ronnie: I came to the Lord when I was 15 years of age. I grew up in a Christian home and always wanted to be a football coach, but God called me into ministry. That’s my journey and my calling and salvation experience. Ever since then I’ve been pastoring churches and leading people. I have had the incredible privilege to be elected to several positions. I’m no longer a pastor. I am the president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, which is located in Nashville, Tennessee.
John Farrell is the Digital Content Writer / Editor of Inspiration.org