The Supernatural Joy of the Lord
by Mike O’Callaghan, DDS
Dental Impact – May 2012
This edition’s Impact Story is brought to you by Mike O’Callaghan, DDS, a CMDA dental member practicing in Michigan. Mike has led several GHO short-term mission trips and serves on the Dental Advisory Council. He recently published two articles: one was on the topic of short-term mission trips and other titled “Human trafficking and the Dental Professional” was seen in the most recent edition of the Journal of the American Dental Association. ADA members can view the article online here or in JADA print form.
I came to faith in Christ when I was about 30 years old. I had attended church my whole life, but had not yet crossed over from death to life by receiving the gift of salvation through faith in Christ (John 5:24, Ephesians 2:8).
After my salvation experience, I was both excited and confused. I had heard and read enough from the Scriptures to understand that the claims of Christ were radical. For example, I knew that as believers we were commanded to “…live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV 1984).
I was puzzled as to how I was supposed to live the Christian life as a dentist. How was this incredibly significant personal decision supposed to impact my dental practice? I recall studying a full mouth series of intraoral radiographs and wondering "how am I supposed to live by faith and not by sight, when I study these radiographs to diagnose?"
That may sound naive or even foolish to you, but it was a legitimate concern for me at the time. And still today, after a quarter century of following Jesus, I still have questions about exactly how I should live my life and spend my time, talent and treasure. New challenges arise. New choices require further discernment.
I will offer in this brief space just a few suggestions that I am employing as I strive to live in the light of eternity. I share in the hope that it might benefit you.
Never look to others. Use the unchanging Word of God as your only standard (Hebrews 12:2, Hebrews 4:12-13, Matthew 24:35, John 6:63, 2 Peter 1:20-21, Romans 3:2, 1 Peter 1:23).
Pray fervently. Beg God that He might give you a hunger and thirst for His righteousness over and above all worldly concerns and temporal passions. Like Jacob, don't let go of God; persist in this quest for holiness (Genesis 32:25). This is something that you will not be able to generate on your own. It is His righteousness that He has provided for us. (Matthew 5:6, Romans 1:17, 3:21-26, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Ephesians 4:22-24)
While God is sovereign, He seems to fill empty vessels. We must depend on God's power for living a life pleasing to Him, dependent on Him. Yet realize that sin is an encumbrance. In my life, I began to grow in faith after I began to strive to honor God by living a holy life. Not out of legalistic motivations, but out of a desire to please Him who died on my behalf (Romans 6:14). I began to listen for God's leading, usually on small issues.
On first blush, this might not sound like much fun! But I am sure many reading this have experienced the supernatural joy of the Lord, a fruit of His indwelling Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). You have, I hope, also experienced God's peace, another fruit of His Holy Spirit (Philippians 4:7). We also receive abounding comfort through Christ in times of trials and suffering (1 Corinthians 3:3-7).
There is nothing better than living a life that is zealous and jealous for God and His glory, both now and even more so in the life to come. Don't settle for the crumbs from the Master's table. He has prepared a feast!