North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

Jay is a small farming community in northwest Florida. When somebody is in need there’s usually someone near to help. The principle of denying self-interests for the sake of a common good runs throughout all our life and one of the benefits of growing up in a wholesome, rural community is the willingness of people to help one another. This same principle should undergird our relation to God. When duty to God requires it, a person must put their own interest and welfare in second place; maybe even third place, behind God and others. It’s a matter of priority. Most people find the time, strength, and money to accomplish what they really want to do for themselves. If a person truly desires to please God, they don’t allow excuses to hinder them from following through.
A person’s words are only as good as their deeds. Somebody can say they’ll help you, but if they never show up, their words mean nothing. Profession of faith in God makes the same kind of demand on us. Unfortunately, some professing Christians think they can have God without any inconvenience to themselves. If people have to be made uncomfortable or go out of their way for the Lord; they’re not being faithful to him. Be careful, because of your nature! If God is not first in your actions as well as words, then He’s not really Lord of your life. It’s not always easy to think about the relative importance of things we profess to love, but you can be sure that God will force that issue on us in one way or another.
By nature, we like to do things our way, on our terms, and in the time frame we approve of. Many times, due to business and an overbooked schedule, we allow outward conditions to impair our sense of spiritual reality. Obedience to God becomes dependent on our economic and situational concerns. We must admit however we rarely get around to doing what God wants us to do, even when things do get better. The principle is that the time for obeying God and doing His work is now, not tomorrow, next week, or next year.
Think about your life and the things that are God-directed, but unfinished. Why do you think some Christians are content to drift along with an outward profession of faith, but never put it to work for Christ? What “projects” do you have in your life or in the life of the church, that have gone unfinished for a long time? What will you choose to do about it?
Our lack of effort is often due to our personal desires being taken as the priority over our outward testimony for the Lord. No excuse is good enough to cover up for our disobedience. What we do with our time and money reveals where our hearts really are. God’s work suffers when we put our own interests first.
The duties we accumulate due to our willingness to “be involved” are well and good. And many of our jobs are legitimate and necessary, but God’s work and helping others should have priority. If you don’t hold this truth as your belief, God could very well with hold His blessings on all your legitimate needs. If you’ve wondered why things seem to keep going wrong for you and your family, this could be the reason. It’s never a wise thing to crowd out God in your life. Sometimes it seems the harder people work for themselves, the less they get in return.
The thrill of the Christian life is to know God’s presence in every situation. That’s the blessing which obedience to the Lord brings. God can withhold that touch when there’s disobedience and sin in our lives. But when people are open to the leading of God, things begin to happen. Obedience is the key. Outward problems and obstacles may remain, but if God is put first, He promises His presence in the struggle: “I am with you”. The proper pattern for success is the Spirit of God working in the spirit of every human being.
Repentance and a desire to go the right way is the best way to combat the evils of materialism. People think they are getting ahead by short-changing the Lord, but they’re really putting their time and money into a bag with holes. Jesus said, “One must deny themselves if they are to be one of my disciples.” Victory starts with God—make this your life motto!
• 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 Nov 2 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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