As many hopefully know by now our annual Book Reading Challenge is underway. Should there be others who wish to join the challenge, the guidance document with the book list to choose from is on the table under the picture board in the foyer. One of the books on the list to choose is a book entitled “The Domino Effect” by Tim Lewis. Since I have the book in my personal library, I decided to read it myself. To give others an “adapted” preview of the book in case someone may be considering choosing it to read I offer the following.
The name of the book comes from the idea dominos set “standing up” and when the first domino is tipped over, it begins a chain reaction as dominos fall one after the other. The author of the book uses this as an illustration of the decisions we make in life. He begins by saying “The first domino is crucial. Everything starts with the Word of God. The person who decides to base every decision on the Bible will inevitably glorify God. The one who seeks to glorify God will ultimately imitate Jesus. The one who imitates Jesus will always seek first God’s kingdom. When the kingdom comes first in a person’s life, that person will live by the Golden Rule and saturate his life with prayer. When a person does all of the things just mentioned, his life will become incredibly influential and if he hopes to maintain that influence, he will diligently purify his thoughts. A pure mind that is not contaminated or distracted by evil is free to focus on eternal things like the promise of a home with God. The progression is undeniable. Each good decision leads to the next; it is a domino effect.
Decisions Affect Character. Decisions are important because they affect your character. The decisions you make today determine the person you will become tomorrow. In a sense you are writing your life story one day, and one decision, at a time. Your character and personality are the direct result and the sum total of every decision you have ever made. In other words, whoever you are right now is exactly who you have decided to be. Some will resent that implication. Others, I am certain, would protest that such a statement is judgmental and unfair. An appeal might be made to the irresistible forces of nature and nurture. Someone claimed they cannot help who they have become because they are genetically predisposed to be that way or because their environment made it impossible for them to be anything else. This mindset not only removes all personal accountability but it also makes everyone of us a victim of circumstance. Yet we see examples all the time of people who have overcome the odds by coming out of an almost impossible situation and accomplishing something meaningful with their lives.
Decisions Have Serious Consequences. Decisions are important not only because they affect your character but also because they almost always have inescapable consequences. To some people, any talk about harsh consequences has the strange ring of being somewhat unchristian. After all, Christianity is the religion of forgiveness and second chances. It is a wonderful thing that sinners can be forgiven. Prodigals can always come home. The blood of Jesus is greater than all our sins. There is a reason we call the gospel good news – it is good news. But let me remind you that although sin can be forgiven, consequences cannot be avoided. Paul explained it this way in Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap”. In other words, no matter how hard you try you cannot sin and avoid the consequences.
Decisions Determine Destiny. Decisions are important because they affect your destiny in life and in eternity. You don’t need a GPS to tell you that certain decisions are going to lead you away from God. When Achan took the devoted things after the battle with Jericho, how could he have expected things to turn out any differently than the way they did? He must have known from the very beginning how that decision would end. He had to know that he was taking a very precarious course in life and that acting as he chose could only end badly, just as it did, Achan and his entire family were executed. (Joshua 7:24-25) Don’t fool yourself into thinking the road you are on will end somewhere other than where it is so obviously leading. If the path you are currently traveling is not taking you where you want to go, then the wisest thing you can do is change your direction now. Just remember this, “when you pick a path in life you are also choosing a destination.” (The Domino Effect)
-Jerry D. Sturgill