We see it all the time with patients. Physicians ask them to take their medications, follow a certain regimen, and so on, only to see those patients disregard their orders to their own detriment. Advice only works if we take it in the trenches of everyday life! If we’re honest, of course, we know it’s easier said than done.
So, now that it’s been roughly one month since Dr. David Levy gave his Intermed talks in Philadelphia, I wanted to review what he talked about and see if we’ve continued taking the ‘medicine’ he prescribed.
In my mind, here are the main takeaways from Dr. Levy’s time in Philadelphia:
- Who we are matters more than what we say. Dr. Levy gave some of the best talks I’ve heard in a long time. The content was tremendous. But, the thing that made them so great is that they flowed out of his living, dynamic relationship with God. Even though he’s a highly-trained neurosurgeon, it’s immediately obvious that he understands – really – that God is absolutely vital to every moment. During our rides in the car to and from events, he would often spontaneously just offer short prayers of thanks or need. And so, his talks were essentially just an outflow of who he is, and his walk with Christ, each day.
- We need to make our relationship with God real and specific. During each of his main talks, Dr. Levy invited his audience to imagine they were with him in his office. He then walked us through exercises he uses with patients, such as a declaration of forgiveness. The issues he addressed were important in and of themselves, but more generally he taught us to move beyond a vague, lifeless faith to one that is specific and (therefore) full of life. For example, it’s very different to say, “Lord, I forgive Joe” versus, “Lord, I forgive Joe for the ways he keeps criticizing me and never returns my phone calls.”
- Our hope lies in God, not our abilities. In ways big and small, Dr. Levy really modeled that the difference-maker in our lives is God, not us. We believe that on one level, but our lives often show we really don’t. There was a moment where Dr. Levy mentioned a passage from Isaiah where God talks about revealing new things to his people for their benefit. Reflecting on that, Dr. Levy mentioned that he’s been thinking, “You know, that’s what I need… for God to show up and show me something new, something I can’t come up with on my own.” Dr. Levy has recaptured this idea that God can break into our lives at any moment and take us way further than we ever could on our own.
After listening to his talks, you may have your own takeaways. The key, though, is asking God to help us start living it out. (I’m working through the declaration of forgiveness pretty regularly). That’s where life becomes exciting, where we go beyond information downloads to real-life change. That should be true whether we’re listening to a talk, a sermon, or just looking around us (see Proverbs). When we do that, each day becomes a new adventure.
What one thing is God leading you to start living out?