North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose by Matt Dobson

In my eight years of coaching collegiate cross country and track I had two (2) NCAA All-Americans, 14 NCAA All-South Region runners, and 39 All-Conference runners. Occasionally, one of my athletes would finish a race slower than expected. They would approach me with heads down, shoulders drooping, and in a weak voice say, “I’m sorry coach, I didn’t run faster” or “I’m sorry coach, I didn’t beat so-and-so” or “I’m sorry I didn’t make the finish time we wanted.” My response was usually a question: “Did you do your best?” I would get different answers and excuses. Most would give me a reasonable answer; things like: “That’s all I had today” or “I’m not sure, I think so”, still others would say “No coach, I just gave up at mile 3”. I dealt with each one with the intention of helping them discover what they could have done differently to improve the next time. I expected a 100% effort from my student-athletes and most of the time that’s exactly what they gave me. But there were a few, like some people in life, who chose to give up when the going got tough. Apart from athletics, there are some people in life who don’t do their best. They do only what’s necessary to get by. They choose mediocrity and the status quo. These people rarely achieve great things.

People are defeated in life or settle for second and third best not because of lack of ability, but for lack of passion. People choose not to put their heart into it because that requires effort and occasionally you feel pain and people don’t want that. Many people are afraid to take risks. Passion combined with belief in God is not defined as risk, it’s called faith.

I was brought up in a religious home where God’s love was talked about and where I was taught and expected to do my best in all things. This came naturally to me because I’ve always been competitive and really never had a problem with self-motivation. Seek out for yourself a positive place where you can thrive. Set yourself up for success. Be encouraged by placing faith in God and yourself. If there is anything to accomplish in life whether it’s a good grade in school, a project at work, or a good deed for a stranger or friend—learn to expect the best, and not doubt it. In so doing, you bring everything into the realm of possibility. One of the most dynamic promises of hope in all of God’s Word is found in Mark 9:23: “All things are possible to him that believes.” Name it and claim it I always say. Apply this method to all of life’s circumstances. Yet, let me remind you, this promise doesn’t mean you’ll get everything you desire. God has a designed plan just for you!

In life, I’ve found when I selfishly got something I wanted or when I went beyond where I should have and reached over God’s will—I was disappointed and felt empty inside. At times, I have been heartbroken and sometimes angry. What’s the old saying…”He did it to himself”. Foolishness is one of the easiest things to accomplish in life. It’s not good that we “always” get what we want. This is where trusting God is critical. When you place your trust in God, He guides your mind so you don’t pursue those things not fit for you. It’s an amazing concept. The Spirit-filled life is life at its best! This is one condition in life where you are never disappointed by the outcome. A Spirit-filled Christian lives in peace, joy, and contentment regardless of the circumstances. A sustained expectation of the best puts in motion the powers to accomplish your positive thoughts and desires. This is not Humanism and this is not New Age thought. It is however, a confirmation and belief in an all-powerful, omniscient God who says: “With Him (God) all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). Don’t hold back. Give your absolute best. Life will not deny you of its goodness and joy when you give it your all. When you take on the idea of positive thinking and that life is good; you are receiving in your heart and mind the Words of Christ, “…the abundant life” (John 10:10).

Give it your best in everything and remember these important truths:

1)      When you’ve done your best, you may be criticized. We mustn’t be ashamed to do the right thing. Even when somebody else has a much different opinion. You answer to God and ultimately have to live with yourself.

2)      No matter what you’ve been doing, determine to improve on it. I won the Disney World Marathon in 2004, beating 16,000 people to the finish. But it took me four (4) tries before I made it: 33rd, 3rd, 7th, and then #1. In doing your best, look for new ways to try. If it doesn’t work or you get set back, at least you know what not to do.

3)      Understand there is no gift too great or too small for Jesus. You may think what you have to give is meaningless. That’s the devil talking—send him packing by resisting him (James 4:7). Do your best with what you have and leave the results to God.

4)      It is only when we do our best, that we receive God’s complete blessing. God knows you better than anyone. Do something in His name and power will be available; blessings will follow.

5)      We come short of doing our best many times, because “good” to us seems satisfactory. God desires your best. Stopping short of it, even if it’s good, is to lack faith in God and in yourself.

6)      Our best for Jesus may not be the best for someone else. Don’t try to be just like someone else. Live your way, God’s way. God is personal. What’s good for someone, maybe wrong for you. You don’t want somebody’s leftovers! Receive God’s best for you.

Understand, God has equipped you for great things. For maximum results, you must accept His offer of eternal life (John 3:16). Stop dwelling on the past, put the present into God’s hands. God is ready to start fresh with you right now! Do your best! Honor Him, trust Him, love Him, and you’ll be amazed at what He will do through you.

  •       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 Sep 9 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

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *