North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

     There is a deep tendency in our human nature to become exactly what we’re thinking in our minds. If we have a record of making mistakes and failing to live up to our own expectations we may mark ourselves as a “no-good has been” who can’t do anything right. This defeatist attitude is not your destiny. It’s not meant for you or anyone else that longs for better things. Don’t accept defeat even though you may have previously missed the mark. Accept the fact unexpected things are going to happen and that pressures will mount against you. But never make “giving up” one of the options on your list. My grandfather used to tell me, “If you can dream it, you can do it”. And I’ve always been a believer in the God of “second chances”. This phrase holds a valuable truth for the believer.

     Consider your circumstances and what you need to change. The problem here might involve psychological barriers more than anything else. Most of us feel guilty at least once in a while. However, we all have the ability to replace guilt and failings with the capacity to see what we did and to feel genuine regret without labeling ourselves as “bad”, “at fault”, or “a failure”.

     Making mistakes is a part of being human and the concept of self-blame is fundamental to guilt. It’s important we distinguish a healthy response to our mistakes compared to the negative response. Remorse or regret can be healthy and leads to the idea you can make a difference the next time. You were not created to live in a guilty state. The Bible says, “…Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). This includes being free from guilt. John 8:32 says, “…know the truth and the truth will set you free”.

     Guilty feelings imply you’ve done something you shouldn’t have or failed to do something you should have. Self-punishing intensifies the guilt cycle and leads to unproductive actions that reinforce your belief in your “bad”, “no-good” state. But what’s the point of punishing yourself with guilt in the first place? It doesn’t help rectify the original mistake and it certainly doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. After your shortcomings, it’s healthy to be remorseful. Remorse stems from awareness that you have hurt yourself or another, but your feelings don’t imply that you’re bad, evil, or immoral. Remorse and some regret stems from blameworthy behavior. Guilt stems from a sense of self-blame, and is often based on distortions of our thoughts.

     It’s time you started thinking better about yourself. It’s important we don’t condone our negative behavior and tell ourselves “that’s just the way we are”. Think differently, think better, act better, and you’ll do better. The first step in changing your circumstances is to start thinking differently. Don’t passively accept your mistakes or unsatisfactorily circumstances, but form a mental picture in your mind of how things should be according to a positive, spiritual, consciousness. Develop in your mind a picture of God’s perfect plan for you, your family, and your relationships. Believe in it and pray about it. Work at doing your part in those relationships. Channeling God’s power through you in this way brings about positive, praiseworthy situations. The law of prosperity and success involves three words: Believe and Succeed. Commit all that you think about to prayer. Matthew 21:22 says, “All things you ask for in prayer, you will receive if you have faith.” The more faithful you are in doing this, the more clarity you will have in what you should be asking for in prayer. This means you’ll visualize what it is you’re praying for believing its God’s will and not selfishly wanted. Ask things for your good and the good of others. God answers positive prayers, not negative ones. This kind of praying sets you up for “second chance” opportunities. We should never give up trying on anything as long as it’s wholesome, noble, and the outcome can bring glory to God.

     Failure at the first try need not spell the end of the road or the shattering of a dream. If you can dream it you can do it. Prove yourself worthy of a second chance by improving yourself. Admitting failure and starting out fresh takes the courage of a real man or a real woman. Don’t let anybody tell you you’re too young or you can’t do it! We all need inspiration and forgiveness. Surround yourself with people who will give it and do not betray their trust. If you have failed the Lord, God will give you a second chance if you’ll give Him first place in your life. Find a church where you are loved and encouraged and above all, find one where the Spirit is alive and active. See you 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 23 2013. Filed under 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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