North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

It was reported that six weeks before Elvis Presley died a reporter asked him, “Elvis, when you first started playing music, you said you wanted to be rich, famous, and happy. Are you happy?”

“I’m lonely as hell”, he replied.

Sometimes there’s an unhealthy pursuit of happiness. And most days what the world calls happiness, isn’t really happiness at all. The idea of our culture is that there’s something we’re supposed to do to be happy. Is it making the right choices, or having the right set of beliefs? The Declaration of Independence even says something about the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is not a permanent condition, but contentment can be.

Happiness might be defined as when your wants are the same as your needs. There’s a great amount of consolation when you have found what you’re looking for. And it takes contentment to truly be at peace with yourself. So much of our life is spent toiling away after things that we rationalize we can’t live without. We’ll only experience God’s peace when we let go of our plans and find out what God’s desires are for us. It requires a close walk with God, which involves reading the Bible, listening to Him, and the discipline of obedience.

It’s been discovered through research that a person’s character and contentment in life are revealed by how they handle emotional crises. A person who handles disappointments without blame and bitterness often knows the secret to happiness. If we’re not joyful all the time, we conclude there’s a problem. No one can force happiness; we just recognize it when it shows up.

I once came across a list of rules for “Happy Living”. I added a few and here’s the complete list:

  1. Give something away with no strings attached.
  2. Do an act of kindness and don’t expect anything in return.
  3. Laugh often and things will not bother you as much.
  4. Look intently into the face of a baby and marvel at the innocence that is there.
  5. Spend a little time with someone over 85 years old. Their experience can be a priceless guidance for you.
  6. Give thanks as many times as you can throughout each day.
  7. Pray or you will lose perspective on what’s most important.
  8. Work at your job(s) with vigor.
  9. Plan as though you will live forever, because you will if you go to Heaven.
  10. Live as though you’ll die tomorrow, because you will physically on some tomorrow.

True contentment comes from knowing that God gives us what we need. It’s in the little things that contentment and satisfaction can be discovered. Never underestimate how God can take the small things and magnify their worth in your heart. In fact, it would be good if we would develop the mind-set that God will take the simple things and help us find joy in them. God desires to be active in your life in the small things and you will be amazed at how active God is in your life if you are walking by faith.

Happiness begins for you when you give God first place. He says in Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you”. This includes happiness and contentment.

Give God first place with your TIME. Multitudes of people are treating life as a playground where they waste their time on earth with selfish endeavors. Life is brief at best. We only have a brief time here. The only lasting value that contributes to soul satisfaction is that which comes from what we do for Christ. We should give time to visiting the sick, comforting the lonely, lending a helping hand, prayer, studying the Bible, and attending church.

Give God first place with your TALENTS. John 6:27 says: Labor for that food that endures for eternal life.” Gaining prominence and making money are the prime objectives of shallow people. All of us must use our talents or we’ll lose them. When we use what we have, God will increase our gifts. Our talents should be used to build others up, glorify God, and be a blessing to others.

Give God first place with your TREASURE. In today’s affluent society, the love of possessions has captured the hearts of millions. Possessed with the “love of money” people are selling their souls to obtain material wealth. God doesn’t want us to live as paupers, but he does want us to keep a right perspective. Giving to the work of the local church is a good place to start. We need to give generously to help meet the special needs and missionary outreach of the church. Assisting the less fortunate is a way to lay up treasures in Heaven, not on earth (Matthew 6:19-21).

Most people are unhappy because they believe the world’s lies about God. A new relationship won’t always make you happier, nor will healthier bodies or a better house. We have our ideas of why we’re not happy. Our happiness is not a circumstance problem, but primarily a problem in our heart. We all need to step back and consider all the good things we do have and be thankful for them. We weren’t made to know complete happiness here on earth. This world is flawed, broken, and messed up. We were made for Heaven and by honoring God with our life He will reward us with Heaven when our time on earth is done. Anticipate that day and it will help you with your days of discontent.

  • This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He’s the author of the “Living With Purpose” book series, “TBH The Truth Will Set You Free”, and “Running With Purpose”. 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 Dec 21 2014. 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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