North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose by Matt Dobson

The greatest teacher to have ever lived was also the greatest motivator that ever walked this earth. His words for you and for me: “I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly (in all its fullness)” (John 10:10). For those who follow in Christ’s footsteps, this means your life can be filled with joy, excitement, and a never-ending trail of peace. He can help us achieve far more than we could ever achieve on our own.
Take a moment and consider what your life is like right now. Like everyone else, you wake up to the challenges of surviving in a society who prides itself on thinking of no one but itself. Some lives are cut short due to accidents or disease. Which proves what Jesus said was true, “In this world you will have trouble”. Then Jesus immediately follows that by saying, “…but take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). If you have Jesus, you have all you need to make your life one of achievement, success, and lived to its fullness. But, what is life? Even if you live a full life of 70, 80, or 90 years—the Bible says, “Life is like a vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes away” (James 4:14). This verse should not be taken with sad sentiment, but taken as a call to live every day to the max with joy and happiness, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Remembering, it’s not always the number of one’s years, but the quality that counts.
Part of the puzzle of life is figuring out the truth from the falsehood, what is real and true as opposed to what is not true. Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). We can also add to this Jesus’ words, “I have come to give an abundant life!” If you want a life of joy and one that overcomes hardships and troubles—find Jesus and let him in. It’s an interesting thought, but Jesus comes to you many times. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). Your invitation to the joy-filled life often comes in the form of Christian friends, a pastor’s invitation to faith, a TV show or movie that presents the “Plan of Salvation”. You see, God gives you opportunities to accept Him and His promise of joy and peace. It starts with a relationship. We must choose. This is an encouraging fact. If you want it, you can have it. We’re all sinners my friend and God knows what’s best for us, much more than we do. We have to trust Him. It takes a surrender of your will to His. To know this joy-filled life, the one Jesus spoke of, you must believe. Believing in God’s way is how we become the person we are meant to be.
You may think you know what joy is, apart from Christ. Yet, how long does it last? Do you know what it really is? The story is told about a lady, many years ago, who bought a steamboat ticket from Boston to New Orleans. The cost of her ticket was so high she brought along a case of crackers and packages of cheese, feeling she could not afford the meals on the boat. All through the voyage she lived on the crackers and cheese. On the last day of the trip, she decided to have one good, warm dinner. When she offered to pay for the dinner, she was told the meals had been included in the price of the ticket! Are you living on a meager diet of the crackers and cheese of life, when you could dine from God’s abundance? You don’t know real joy and peace until you know the Lord!
God wants you to be really happy (joyful). He has given, through His generosity, all the good things of earth for you to enjoy in the right way and to be happy. Added to this, He sent His Son into the world to bring you joy and happiness you could never get out of some bottle of pills. God’s Word rings in our ears when Jesus said, “I have told you this, so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete (full)” (John15:11). Even in the Old Testament God’s Word says, “You will go out in joy, and be led forth in peace” (Isaiah 55:12).
Joy! Joy! Joy!…over and over these words echo throughout the Bible. If there is anything that can truly be called God-given, it is joy and happiness, which God wants you to have. Want you say “Yes” to Him today? The enjoyment of life, as God intended, can be yours today and forever. Take joy into the new week and share with your friends. Go to church this Sunday and learn to follow God’s ways to the Joy-filled life.
• This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and a 1LT Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on May 20 2012. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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