Aug/Sept 2011

The Domino Effect

“A little yeast leavens the whole lump of dough.” - Galatians 5:9

As a kid, I had fun setting up rows of dominoes on the floor and weaving them around chairs and under tables. The real fun, though, was watching them fall one by one after nudging the first piece. Who would have thought that one small move like that would set off such a chain reaction?

Life is a lot like dominoes. Our small decisions often lead to rippling consequences that we never expected. We tend to think single, small choices are stand-alone decisions and that they won’t affect our futures. Over time, though, these decisions lead us to make other decisions just like them and eventually result in either tremendous negative consequences or outstanding positive patterns.

For example, one choice to get up early and start the day with God can lead to a series of positive choices on the field of competition or at work. On the flipside, however, one decision to smoke a cigarette can lead to a powerful habit and eventually result in cancer.

Positive or negative, the point is that one thing always leads to another. Single, negative compromises generally lead to more, while single, good decisions create momentum for the next ones.

With respect to our health and wellbeing, this shows up in two main areas: diet and exercise.


When it comes to diet and exercise, we all have areas in which we can choose to push the positive dominoes and create powerful momentum for our health. In the spaces below, list three food- and exercise-related dominoes that you can push in order to give you the life and energy you need to serve the Lord with strength and joy!

Positive food dominoes I will push:

Positive exercise dominoes I will push:

Now, take it one step further and examine your spiritual life. List three positive lifestyle choices you can make that will bring you closer to Christ.

Positive lifestyle dominoes I will push:

For instance, when it comes to food, whenever I choose to knock over the “eat too much” domino, it always leads to more “eat too much” dominoes. My cravings are rarely satisfied through indulgences, so, if I start eating sweets, I always want more. Eventually, this brings the domino effect of poor health physically, emotionally and relationally.

Thankfully, the effect of making healthy food choices also creates a similar ripple. Whenever I knock over the “eat healthy food” domino, it leads to more “eat healthy food” dominoes, and I feel better. When I feel better, I crave more healthy food. Then I have more energy, fewer aches and pains, and start to desire that “good” feeling again. This leads to more small healthy choices that make big, lasting differences.

With exercise, it’s the same thing. Knocking over one “sit on the couch” domino leads to more “sit on the couch” dominoes. Every time I miss a workout it gets easier to miss more. Then I gain weight and lose energy, which results in more “sit on the couch” dominoes until I just get used to having no energy and feeling sick and tired all the time.

But, just like with diet, the positive effect of knocking over the “go for a run” domino is that it leads to more “go for a run” dominoes. I start enjoying the way I feel, and I desire that feeling more and more. One good decision to work out leads to a series of workouts that provides me with abundant strength, endurance and energy.

The same kind of domino effect also applies to our lives as Christians. On the negative side, it often shows up in what we think are subtle sins. The Apostle Paul summed it up well with the passage above from Galatians 5:9. When we give into temptation, it never fully satisfies us; we always want more. And, once we have given in one time, it becomes easier to compromise later.

As believers, we can’t afford to push these dominoes. We have to realize the power of our small choices and their potential to lead to big consequences.

The good news, though, is that we are always just one choice away from getting back on track. When we turn back to God, He refreshes us and starts a domino effect that leads to life. Through the power of obedience to Christ, these positive dominoes can lead to the abundant life He promised in John 10:10: “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.”

This month, let’s examine our personal areas of compromise and ask ourselves what kind of people we want to be. Better yet, what kind of people does God want us to be?

Don’t let one bad decision lead to more. Make each single decision a good one and let the dominoes fall for His glory!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: For nearly 20 years, Jimmy Page has been involved in various leadership roles in the medical fitness industry. As the former national director of FCA’s Health and Fitness Ministry, Page now serves as one of FCA’s 11 vice presidents of field ministry and is the co-author of the book WisdomWalks. He and his wife, Ivelisse, reside in Reistertown, Md., with their four children.

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Medical Disclaimer: All information in this article is of a general nature and is furnished for your knowledge and understanding only. For serious health symptoms, always consult a physician or health professional.