North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

The wonderful thing about our lives is we have all been given a unique purpose to fulfill. Yet, we have the same source of power that helps us to live our individual lives to the fullest. Jesus’ words echo our potential greatness when he says, “…I have come so that people can have life, and that they can have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus, our friend, is also our Good Shepherd; leading us through the valleys and up the mountains. In this journey, we discover things about ourselves and about Jesus. He lived among us to be known, understood, trusted, and believed. We have the real, valid, and ever-true testimony of his earthly deeds recorded in the Bible. Shortly before his ascension to heaven, he told us he would send us a helper, a comforter…the Holy Spirit. And he did. We are not alone.

An unavoidable fact is sooner or later in the course of your life, you and I are going to fail at something. This is evidence that nobody’s perfect and forgiveness is needed. The reason some people seem to fail more than others is because of unbelief. Those who believe in themselves don’t often fail. And when they do, they recover quickly. Practically speaking, “believing” does make the difference in the quality of your living. Spiritually speaking, it also makes a difference. For the Bible says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts. 16:31).

Believe in yourself as being smart and able to learn how to do things the right way. Believe you have a purpose in life. And believe in God who put you here in the first place. No sports champion or team of athletes who have held the championship trophy will tell you they gained victory by disbelief. A champion’s road to victory begins with belief. In fact, the first step in accomplishing anything in life is believing you can. Mentally prepare yourself to be the best student, the best Mom, the best Dad, the best employee, the best volunteer, the best person by believing in yourself and God.

Beliefs or thoughts held in your mind on a conscious or unconscious level can cause your body to respond physiologically and behaviorally. A person, who I admire greatly, once said, “Positive self-communication provides a key to affecting a healthy lifestyle.” He also said, “A thought held long enough in the mind can eventually manifest itself in behavior.” If this is true, it’s important to teach kids behavioral lessons for life. Left to the streets or worldly examples, children will learn how to deceive, cheat, destroy, and take short-cuts that undermine positive and honest success. Kids have to be guided to think in a positive way. They need to be given dreams of what their potential in life really is. They have to be shown the winning spirit of fair play and hard work. And they need to know the consequences of breaking the law. A mother and father can say to their child, “You are going to accomplish something good. You are going to make a great life by following good and avoiding the bad.” If our kids can hear this regularly at a very young age while their personalities are being formed, they will develop self-confidence and will be motivated to become what they can be.

Jesus’ words from John 10 are positive and were given in love. Believing this helps us accept the fact we can get through this world without our souls being destroyed. Only through him can we know the abundant life. Even in the face of life’s difficulties, abundant living is possible. I can remember the time my sister was recovering from brain surgery as a 12 year old. After the tumor was removed she had to learn some physical life skills all over again. Her favorite passage to read, memorize and recite during this time was Psalm 23. For her, it brought comfort to her mind, it strengthened her spirit, and to this day the words of that chapter help her endure physical struggles. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” (v. 1). She stays near the Shepherd (Jesus). Circumstances affect her, but don’t control who she is inside. God was and is the resting place for her fears. You see, bringing our fears to the Shepherd places us in the care of the One who holds our lives together.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters “(v. 2). The shocks of life can be tolerated through our prayer and through our worship of Him. The tender moments with God and with our friends and family helps us enjoy the abundant life. Even the heartbreaks we suffer don’t seem as bad when we’re on our knees in prayer. Disappointments can fade away quicker than you could ever imagine if you would just take counsel from the Holy Spirit. The Bible says, “He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His names sake” (v. 3).

Unbelievers tend to accept life as is. They depend on the world and their own “limited” power to cope with life. This short-changes their life and the people’s lives that depend on them. But those who believe and trust God know that with God they are not alone. Aimless is not the direction of the true believer. The evil around us is defeated by the sustained action of God’s people: “doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God” (Micah 6:8). The answer to life is to believe. Believe in God. Believe in yourself. Believe in others who also have the same hope you do. Believe you have a future and that you “CAN” do it. Jesus wants to be your Lord. He is willing to be your Shepherd. Will you let him? Choose Christ by choosing a church to go to and worship faithfully.

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 Apr 28 2013. Filed under Churches, Local. 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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