Welcome back Devin Riley, my friend and personal trainer. He's guest blogging making a health and fitness applications to the current sermon series, Days of Future Past on the Book of Daniel. With over a decade of experience, and over 25,000 sessions completed at Hoffacker Health and Fitness, Devin is a true marathon man. If he’s not running or riding his bike, he’s mindfully pushing the weight to get the most out of his body in the least amount of time. Devin has attended Heartland Church with his family since 2006. If you don't see him in the sanctuary, chances are he's onstage entertaining and educating your little ones in the Crossroads (K-4) Ministry. Connect with Devin at email@example.com
Last week I gave you the introduction to the Daniel Plan by Rick Warren. The plan focuses on 5 essential areas of your life (Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, Friendship) to help you become a beast like Daniel. This week, we’re talking about Faith. You see, without faith, Daniel’s three friends would have been burned to a crisp, and Daniel himself eaten for lunch by lions.
But before we get into this, I know that we’re just getting to know each other, but I’ve got a confession to make. I love EDM. There—I said it, and it feels good to get that out there. EDM, or Electronic Dance Music, is that noise emitting from your teenager’s headphones. You also hear it blaring in those stores in the mall that hope to attract the 18-24 trendy style-oriented demographic. Well, I’m old, uncool, and forty-one years old. And I love EDM.
Why am I confiding in you, dear reader? Well, because there’s this EDM song that I wanted to use for this week’s illustration. If you feel like broadening your musical horizons, you can click here and hear some ear ecstasy. The song is called Battle of Hearts, by First State.
The first line is the musical equivalent of what Paul writes in Romans 7:15-25.
“Hey, let’s be the definition of insanity—want change but do things the same.”
Now, I do have a background in psychology, and it’s been awhile since I’ve studied the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) but I don’t think there’s and official definition of “insanity.” But the often quoted and accepted definition of insanity: repeating the same behavior over and expecting a different result. Sometimes faith is simply praying that God will give you the strength to act upon what you know is right. How frustratingly true is that definition of insanity in some area of your life, especially when it comes to your wellness? By wellness, I mean total wellness of your mind, body, and spirit. You know you should (insert positive behavior here), but you keep doing (insert negative behavior here).
Paul knows this well, and he conveys it passionately in Romans 7:15-25. Notice how many times he uses the word “do”!
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Let’s apply this passage to your wellness of mind, body, and spirit. Paul’s situation is bleak. We’ve all been there, frustrated with our thoughts and behaviors, unable to get out of our own way--lost. Paul spends 9 verses lamenting his hopeless condition. Then in verse 25, all of it is erased by the amazing, uplifting, cleansing power of God, brought to us by our faith in Christ.
Pastor Rick, in the Daniel Plan, calls faith “the foundation” of the other four components in the plan (food, fitness, focus, friendship). I will argue that faith is more than a foundation for your total wellness. Though a foundation is absolutely essential for the structure built upon it, I find it more useful to view faith as a force. Faith is the force that pushes you to DO. Paul uses the word “do” 24 times. Nike, who popularized, "Just Do It," has nothing on Paul who says, "Have faith, and do."
When I feed my faith through worship, quiet time, prayer time, and service to others, the force of my faith is strong and I do make good decisions with my food, fitness, focus and friendship. Having faith means that even if you’ve failed countless times before at changing your poor eating habits to healthy eating habits, get up and do it again.
If you’ve failed at exercise, get up and do it again.
If you’ve failed to understand WHY you’ve failed at these things before, analyze the thoughts and behaviors that have caused you to fail, make some adjustments, then do it again.
If you’ve failed at your walk with the Lord, get up and do it again. You will find that He is seeking you, ready to meet you where you are and guide you toward success.
Run the good race. Fight the good fight. Live the life you were called to live. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.