North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

There was a day when “keeping up with the Joneses” and other affluent people occupied some peoples time. Today, the more modern struggle is to “project the right image”. It’s about perception and how people look at you or see you in light of all that goes on in society. I’m not sure which is worse or which is better. Perhaps they’re both not what’s most important. But I do know man started out with the right image: The image of God. Genesis 1:27 says, “And God made man in His own image (likeness). In the likeness of God He made us. He made both male and female”. In spite of the ravages of sin, there remains the characteristics that mark man and woman as unique in all of God’s creation.
We are a reasoning being, with whom God is willing to reason (Isaiah 1:18). We are endowed with a free will, that is, the right to choose to accept or reject the God who made us. We’re a consciously moral creature who is able to distinguish right from wrong, and we’re expected to act accordingly. These things make us different from all other living things because God created us and “breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul”. God desires fellowship for all eternity between Himself and His highest creation (us). Although distorted by the sin in our lives, God’s image can be restored in us. We can “project the right image” by living the characteristics and traits that make us what we are: a God-conscious being.
I’m intrigued the Creator of the universe would give us the right to choose to follow Him. In a sense, this freedom is undeserving because of our sin, failure, greed, and inadequacies. But God’s love transcends all of the things we have done to “mess up” God’s perfect and ideal will for us. The Bible says, “above all…love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). This is undisputed evidence of His love for humanity; not forcing Himself on anyone but allowing us the opportunity to get to know Him through His Word (the Bible), prayer, and worship. If you regularly do these things you will come to see just how enriching your life can be. The trouble is some will not take the time to pursue this divine relationship. Our own agendas and self-will are promoted by the devil and he seeks to distract us from all things good and all things that glorify God and His supreme power. This is not to say the devil is more powerful or even equal to God’s power; it is to say, however, the devil is the “prince of this world” (John 14:30) and is involved in misleading you. We must know what’s fact and fiction to determine the right course of action and wisdom to discern what we should do with our life. God’s Spirit reveals these things.
Do you want Jesus? Do you want a true and abundant life? Do you want to do more than just make it through? You can have it and you can do it! God says He’ll be your partner for life granting you all things needed to fulfill your specific purpose (Phil. 4:19). God makes it available and allows us to discover it ourselves, so that life becomes an adventure in living. When the motivation of our heart seeks the things of heaven, God can and will at times and at His discretion, allow very specific things to occur. So, what’s best for you is made available for you. Make no mistake about who’s in control. God is in control.
God’s people are very special to Him. He hears us when we CRY (Psalm 17:1). Don’t be afraid to cry out to the Lord when you are distressed or disappointed. He is lasting, unlimited, and understanding. He truly cares. He also helps us when we TRY. God did not promise to take us to heaven on flowery beds of ease. He didn’t promise to do everything for us, but He did promise to help us. When we do our best with all of our strength, and it’s not good enough, God will do the rest. Our strength (however small it may be), plus God’s help, can handle any situation (Phil. 4:13). He hides us when we’re SHY. We all become exhausted physically, mentally, and spiritually. At times we wish we could just fly away like a bird. In fact, Psalm 55:6 says, “If I only had wings like a dove, I would fly away and be at rest.” We must trust and rest in the Lord when we feel shy, inadequate, and unable to go on. He will renew, revive, and replenish our resources. And finally, He holds us when we DIE. In death, we will not be alone and we need not fear crossing the “valley of the shadow of death”. The Bible says, “The death of His holy ones is of great worth in the eyes of the Lord” (Psalm 116:15). The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 17:15, “…I will behold Your face…I shall be satisfied (happy), when I awake, with Your likeness.”
Because of His great love for us we are the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8). God will lead you home through the pathway of obedience and thankfulness. St. Augustine stated it well with these words: “Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” Be a part of God’s family by choosing Him as your guide in life. Find a church where you are loved, free to worship, and watch yourself grow in strength and wisdom.
• 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 16 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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