North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

In the major motion picture titled, “Forrest Gump”, Tom Hanks played a fictional character that had many people come in and out of his life. The movie itself grossed over $677 million and was so wildly popular perhaps because people could relate to the emotional struggles he faced. His life’s journey carried him to many unique and different places. All the while, these different people and changing circumstances taught him something about himself and others. In one scene Forrest confidently tells his sweetheart Jenny: “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.” Life experiences indeed teach us things about what’s lasting, temporal, and most important.

God not only calls us to love him — He shows us what real love is.  Through Christ, God’s love shows us that love is costly.  It means giving everything for the sake of another.  For all of us, our love for God must go right to the heart of what we really want out of life and what we are living for.

When Jesus spoke the words of Mark 12:30 he was quoting the prophet Moses:  “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your might.” (Deut. 6:5).  Moses specified three inner sources that leads and guides us in our dependence upon God:  the heart, the soul, the might.  These three convey certain meanings about the inner workings of who we really are “inside.”  The “heart” is generally the foundation of a person’s understanding, the “soul” is the center of a person’s will and personality; the “might” refers to the outward expression of these inner faculties.

Love is an action word, not a feeling.  Jesus defined love as doing his will and keeping his commands.  John 14:15 says, “If you love me, obey my commandments.”  If we say we love one another, but do nothing to show that love, then we really don’t love him.  For example, withholding forgiveness or failing to give it is disobedience.  You can also tell your spouse you love them, but if you never do anything that pleases them, your professions of love are merely empty words.

Christians are called to love God and all others.  This is the highest requirement of the gospel.  We have difficulty carrying this out because of selfishness, unforgiveness, and because we don’t study the Bible enough to know what things please God.  The person who loves God will want to know and do whatever it is that pleases Him.  Be careful not to confuse religious activity or going to church as a cover up for what’s in your heart.  What do we do if we don’t feel loving toward God and others?  The first step is to confess our coldness and pride.  The loving person realizes their faults and decides they have nothing to hide.  They become open to God and other people’s feelings.  Confession brings openness.  The second step is to ask Christ to give you love.  Bear in mind, he may not give you an emotional feeling.  He will most likely call you to obey him in something that up to now you’ve been refusing to do.  He will test the sincerity of your requests.

My daughter will soon graduate from high school.  She’s had a different high school experience than most because she attended three different schools in four years.  She found it difficult to establish and maintain true friendships because of the frequent changes.  At any age, having a base of loyal friends is important when coping with hardships, persecutions, let-downs, and difficulties.  Although she desired these relationships it seemed convictions, inconvenience, and misunderstandings would somehow creep in and take away what seemed to be the right thing.  Through these experiences she admits she learned the valuable lesson of how to love God with all your heart, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30).  She’s come to know the ultimate fulfillment in relationships is found in God.  He is the one that will never leave you nor forsake you no matter how many times the tide changes and how hard the winds of change blow against the tender walls of your heart.

When a person declares to the world who God is, they are affirming faith in the only true God who will grant peace, love, and joy in this life.  This is the responsibility of all people; to love God.  This love must be complete, without any reservations and must be sought in every circumstance of life.  God is the great One who not only calls us to love Him, but shows us what real love is.

  • 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 May 11 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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