North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

Religious convictions sustain many people through the good times and the bad. But there must be a discernment made between “knowing about” a religious preference and “knowing” its truth. It’s similar to making the distinction between knowing about a particular food and actually eating it. A person can starve themselves knowing there is food to sustain them. A person can choose to remain spiritually anemic and without beliefs while knowing all the history of Christianity. The hope and life of Christianity is wrapped up in John 17:3, “This is life that lasts forever. It’s to know the only true God and to know Jesus Christ who God sent.”

Jesus made an interesting declaration about himself when he said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). This was an insight and simple metaphor into who he is and what he can offer the person who wants life. He also went on to say, “He who comes to me will never be hungry. He who puts his trust in me will never be thirsty.” What does he mean by this? Why would he call himself bread?  First, at the moment he said this he had their attention and he liked to make people stop and think about the words he spoke.  Second, he knew people needed food to survive. So, he used a subject all people could relate to.  To truly “live” people need to accept him and God’s offer of Salvation and eternal life.  To understand Christ we must let his words percolate in our hearts and minds.  To understand Christ and his divine mission on earth is to know his message.  To be in a relationship with him is to have your core needs (hunger) so thoroughly met that you’ll never hunger or thirst again for the indispensable things needed for spiritual life.

Whether you’re discouraged or encouraged, no matter what you win, lose, or suffer, you can have a mysterious well of spiritual resources that no one can take from you.  God has a complete itinerary for your life and it includes eternal life, His Spirit, the promises of His Word, and heaven as your ultimate destination.

The prince of this world and the people in it can throw every obstacle at you that can possibly be imagined, but they can’t snatch you from the hands of Jesus (John 10:28).  The times you feel malnourished in your soul, Jesus will sustain you with himself.  Jesus is the bread of life.  Jesus can provide for your every need because he knows how to relate to you.  The Bible says, “I have been put up on the cross to die with Christ.  I no longer live.  Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in this body, I live by putting my trust in the son of God.  He was the one who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20).

Christ lives in his people and his presence brings much needed comfort and reassurance.  Even in todays troubled world we can be assured of his continued presence through the Spirit of God.  If a person makes a commitment to Jesus “old things are passed away, all things are made new” (2 Cor. 5:17).  A true Christian is a changed person with a new desire and supernatural force within them.

Even if it seems your voice is sometimes difficult to be heard and is drowned out in the noise and confusion of our busy times, Christ listens to his people.  He always gives us a listening ear.  He can hear the faintest cry of the child, the elderly, and the wayward person who comes to their senses.  If you truly seek him and simply ask him he will give guidance and direction.  All you have to do is heed his counsel (Isa. 30:21).

Violence and crime have invaded countless homes, cities, and our nation.  We live in a danger-filled society.  Christ looks after his people. He watches over us, guards, and guides our footsteps; and acts as our source of protection.  The key that makes this possible is for you to trust and rely on him completely.  You need not fear that you will suffer rejection and loneliness when doing God’s work.  Stand up and claim the promises of God in Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t fear for I am with you.  Don’t be afraid, for I am your God.  I will give you strength, and for sure I will help you.  Yes, I will hold you up with my right hand that is right and good.”  Christ will help you as you help others.  He will comfort you as you comfort others.  He shares his love as we share it with those who do not believe or don’t like us.  This all means that Christ also labors with his people.

Finally, let me share what the greatest need of our day is.  It’s not more possessions, pleasure, or power.  Our greatest need is the love of Christ.  Christ loves through his people.  Of all the things you think you need to fight your way through life, only the love of Christ can crumble the walls of hatred, greed, and resentment.  An old hymn rings true, “Love lifted me, Love lifted me!  When nothing else could help (Christ’s) love lifted me!”  Trying to get there any other way, will prove unsatisfying when you come to the end of your life.  Consider the cross this Easter and consider what Christ has done for you.  In Christ you have what you truly need.  Your life may be difficult sometimes, but he is more than enough to satisfy and sustain.

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 20 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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