North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

Joy seems to come to us in different forms and at different times. So when a person says, “I’m happy all the time”, don’t think they’re living in fantasy land. It’s probably because they’re living the words of Philippians 4:4, “May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again, Rejoice!” A truth that applies to us all is that we don’t always feel like rejoicing and God understands this. If our feelings were our “joy barometer”, then we might find joy being like the cousin we only see at family reunions; very seldom. We face heartaches and pain on a regular basis. And God says “Endure hardship and rejoice always, because I care for you and will help you”.

The one great thing that should elicit joy in our hearts is the fact that my sin and yours has been dealt with once and for all. My daughter recently wrote on her blog ( something she had discovered: Joy is important to Jesus, joy is an expression of godliness, and joy is experienced anywhere and at any time. She goes on to share that God Himself is a primary source of your joy—His salvation and His promises. “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

It’s incredibly hard to rejoice all the time considering our weak nature. In fact, complaining is almost a coping mechanism for us when the candle is being burnt at both ends. We will inevitably find ourselves on edge the busier we are. When this happens, take a read through the Book of Psalms and you’ll find prayers of relief from fear, danger, grief, and heartbreak; all of the things of life that press hard against us. The Psalms is also full of unwavering faith to counteract the troubles we live with. No matter how your circumstances may appear or how much the world mocks the name of God, it will never diminish the power of the omniscient God. Because God is who He is and because of His great love, there are ample reasons to be happy.

To be happy in God is to turn and open your heart to Him so that He can take all that troubles you. Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” If you lack peace and joy in life, you must know we are a people without excuse. For we have an offer that can’t be beat. The excuses we give for rejecting Christ and his invitation to the abundant life are silly and irrational considering what we stand to lose. Most all our excuses are selfish. Some want to live life on their own and God will let you do it. But the search for what you long for in your soul will continue and never be found apart from Him.

The world’s peace is actually a figment of imagination. Be sure of this, the world’s joy in popularity, possessions, and security will not last, but will fade. The pinch of poverty and lack affects many people in these hard times. Not everyone can be a star on a Reality TV show. People’s money will never purchase anything eternal, only things to satisfy our vanity. God’s peace, however, is eternal. It’s true that everything in your life might not be as you would like it to be, but there’s hope beyond this life. Romans 5:5 says, “Hope will not disappoint us, for God has poured out His love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit.”

The joy that comes in the midst of trouble can be felt when we take our minds off our self and think of the suffering plight of others. Jesus’ teaching proclaimed that there is joy, happiness, and contentment in a life dedicated to meeting the needs of others; in contrast to a life dedicated to selfish interests. Dedicate yourself to your family, your church, and to the admirable work ethic your supervisor wishes all his or her employees possessed. Joy comes to the person who is dedicated to giving.

Whatever you may be going through, seek someone who is struggling with something similar and help them. In doing so, you will help yourself. This joy can’t be experienced by merely reading a book or listening to the preacher. You must become a person who gives of themselves. Just like Jesus did when he gave of himself to complete his earthly mission, live with anxiety no more. Trade in your worries for the joy Christ knew. Jesus says, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). Rejoice and follow Christ knowing that heaven awaits you in all its glory.

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 is a Captain (CPT) in the U.S. Army Reserves Chaplain Corp. 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 6 2014. 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

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