North Santa Rosa

Living with Purpose

School’s Out Edition

The end of the school year is anticipated by teachers as much as it is by students. It’s a welcomed break from homework, grading homework, class projects, and faculty meetings. One of the highlights for students and proud parents at the end of the school year are the honors presented on “Awards Day”. The anticipation can be exciting for some who through the year have had to similarly wait for report cards. Students have to “live in hope”—hope that somehow he or she scored better than expected; hope that the teacher was “feeling good” and gave better marks than he/she knows they deserve. Maybe? Don’t count on it! When the report cards are handed out; it may be too late for hope. Nothing is left but stark reality. Judgment day has come; doomsday and restrictions for a few. The lesson in this is to be prepared, study what you must, and know that you don’t have to FAIL.

Spiritually speaking, to each one of us will come the judgment day. There, the grades will be given out. There the award-winners will be announced. Is this not an incentive to make a real effort to be a witness for Christ? It’s important to know we can’t save men and women against their will, but we can be persuasive. By our positive living and consistent encouraging witness we can affect others. Our own behavior and choice of words (particularly the use of Scripture) can persuade others into a consciousness of their own need to receive Christ. This will be sure to help us earn good grades.

In my years as an educator, I’ve heard several educational philosophies tossed around. One of the more modern ones is to cut out the report card system, declaring that “it creates feelings of inferiority”, but as followers of God’s Word we know it doesn’t allow for such change. II Corinthians 5:8-11 says, “…it will be good to be at home with the Lord. So if we stay here on earth or go home to Him, we always want to please Him. For all of us must stand before Christ when He says who is guilty or not guilty. Each one will receive pay for what they have done. They will be paid for the good or the bad done while they lived in this body. Because of this, we know the fear of God. So we try to get people to put their trust in Christ. God knows us…”

Still another passage reads: “Each person’s work will become known. There will be a day when it will be tested by fire. The fire will show what kind of work it is. If a person builds on work that lasts, he or she will receive their award. If their work is burned up, they will lose it…do you not know that you are a house of God and that the Holy Spirit lives in you?…Do not fool yourself…you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God” (1 Cor. 3:13-23).

There’s still time to aim for all “As” on your Christian report card. There are ways to F-A-I-L-proof your life. You don’t have to F-A-I-L and don’t think of yourself as a failure. Despite disappointing circumstances, or frustrating situations, you need not F-A-I-L if you heed the following points. First, you need F-aith   (1 John 5:4)  We all need to exercise more faith. Faith makes the difference between success and failure. Faith brings conversion, cleansing, confidence, and courage. Our faith also increases when we pray, read God’s promises, and practice Biblical principles. Secondly, there’s A-ction (James 1:22). Some people fail because they’re afraid to take action, lest they do the wrong thing. Others are just plain stubborn and set in their ways. It’s the lazy people who seldom succeed; accomplishment calls for action. Act in faith through prayer and this will breed confidence in God, which assures success. He helps get the job done. Thirdly, there’s I-nsight (James 1:5). Man’s understanding is limited and insufficient at times. We must gain insight and wisdom from above. People who totally commit their lives to God are promised guidance and direction from the Holy Spirit (John 16:13).   And finally there’s L-ove (1 Cor. 13:8). Marriages may fail, homes are shattered by heart break, churches are closed because of a lack of love, not a lack of money. Love is the answer; it never, ever fails. True love never fails because God never fails. Try not to be discouraged when friends and loved ones forsake you, or when your wealth and possessions may pass away, or when your youth and beauty starts to fade. Always remember God’s love will never fail, because it’s the greatest (1 Cor. 13:13).

God gives His rewards for faithfulness and obedience, not worldly success. God’s rewards are eternal; they last forever. The things of this world will pass away. Choose to believe and you will go to the head of the class along with all others who put their trust in Christ. Find a church where you can study God’s Word with others and worship God with all of your being. See you in church on Sunday!

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 Jun 9 2013. Filed under Churches, Living With Purpose, 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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