North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    One of the supreme tests of a leader is how they take defeat. Do they take it as the end or as a learning experience? Once when Thomas Edison was working on an experiment, his discouraged assistant was ready to give up when they failed for the 1000th time. Edisonpersevered.

    He said, “We know a thousand things that won’t work, let’s find the one that will.” And he did!

    Character, like muscle, must be developed. No one can give it to you anymore than they can give you strong muscles. You have to earn it with exercise. Sometimes painful exercise. Defeat is exercise for the character. Take it as a lesson. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. People who take the easy way out become dull and soft. People who have learned to grow by defeat and failure are sharp and solid. They have a cutting edge on their lives. They are the ones who keep the continuity of business and industry on its feet.

    The biggest club in the world is the “Down and Out Club”. Revoke your membership! Better yet, don’t join it in the first place. Many people are brittle in character. They are like a pitcher lowered into a well. When it hits a stone, it breaks into pieces. People can be marching right along in life—all is good, things happen as they please, till they hit the first stone or maybe a second and third one. Then they’re done for. These kind of people may do well in a world that’s filled with cushions, but they are of little value in a world filled with stones. People must realize you have to step out of the confines of the baby nursery. And quit crying and complaining, “Somebody hit me!”.

    A great lesson to be learned from life is that a person becomes more well-rounded and complete through the things which they suffer. Trials, failures, defeats, misunderstandings—all temper a person. They give the ability to take the hits and absorb the shock, and then come back. Fictional movie character, Rocky Balboa says, “It’s not how hard you hit, its how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

    This is providing, of course, you take the defeats as lessons, instead of whimpering with self-pity. No person will move forward till the “whine” is knocked out of them! Paul the apostle, described life as a race. Plenty of people start okay—the champion is the one who finishes—even though they get spiked, tripped, or boxed in.

    There are three part’s in learning how to win life’s race.

    First, “GET READY”. The Bible talks about girding up your loins. In Biblical times people typically wore tunics, when a person needed to be efficient in their work, running, or fighting they’d lift the bottom edge and tuck it over the belt as to give their legs no hindrance. We must also get ready for Christ’s return. He said he would come back (John 14:3) and he will! Rid yourself of all things that hinder you from positive living.

    Second, “GET SET”. The Bible says set your minds on the things above (Colossians 3:2). Pray, meditate, attend church, and become rooted and grounded in the faith. This promotes dedication and determination.

    Third, “GO!”. Not in your own strength, but God’s strength. Psalm 71:16 says, “I will go in the strength of the Lord”. We must go in prayer—the power and influence of prayer can reach around the world. We must go in person—if we want to win life’s race, we must call, invite others, and be a witness to those we meet. We must go until the race is finished. There is no stopping this side of heaven.

    Living is hard work these days. It always has been. Sometimes it will seem everything: government, business, your boss, a family member, a jealous friend, or circumstances are conspiring to keep you from succeeding. You will win at life and work if you take every knock, every test, every failure, every defeat as another lesson. People like this grow to be cool under pressure. And strong in character. Christ never promised life without knocks. But he did promise strength to keep on keeping on.

    “Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).


• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a Public Health Services Manager for the Florida Department of Health and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York community of Jay, Florida. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. You can contact him by email:


Posted by on Nov 7 2021. Filed under Church News, 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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