Determination is the ability to make difficult decisions and accomplish God's goals based on the truths of God's Word, regardless of the resistance that may be encountered. It is the ability to set ourselves toward Godly pursuits, and not allow ourselves to be distracted or discouraged (Psalms 33:15; 119:29-30; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8; Hebrews 12:12-13).
Weakness, Discouragement, Powerlessness, Giving Up, and Faintheartedness, are the opposites. These dire mindsets will allow you to give up way too soon, when all you had to do is hang in a bit longer. These characteristics lead you to distrust God's provision and forbid others to help you. If you are not determined to exhibit character, the rotten works of Galatians 5:19-21 will find their way in you and even take you over!
In 2 Timothy 4:7- 8 and 1 Corinthians 9:25, Paul looked back on his life of perhaps over thirty years of toil and struggle as a follower of Christ. He used the language of an athlete who has won the event. And, he applied this analogy to our true purpose and reward. In ancient times, the reward was not a medal or money as it is now, but rather a crown made of olive branches, and the respect of the people. Paul knew his reward was to come in the form of righteousness, which is far more valuable than any earthy prestige or reward. So, his eyes were on Christ and the goals God gave him. He did not allow suffering, failure, prison, or any other obstacle to thwart God's purpose in his life and mission. To see someone like Paul, who was an ordinary person, stay the course and persevere through all impossible obstacles, should give us inspiration so that we can do it too! The key principle for Paul was to guard his faith from anything that would turn it from God; so must we. We cannot let our setbacks, the discouragement of other people, or our own disregard of a problem hold us back from obeying and finishing well for Christ's glory.
Righteous Determination requires our persistence to overcome barriers that hold us back--those that can be overcome by more effort, right thinking, clear goals, and help from others. Obstacles that are wrong, misplaced, or laden with sin are the ones to hurdle first. We are to honor obstacles and the timing that God gives, and not rush through with matters to which we are not called, or are not ready for. Our study of His Word, our prayer life, and listening to good, godly advice will be our keys to unlocking the right doors and making sure we do not open the wrong ones. Our Determination needs to be governed by righteous desire, commitment, and dedication to God's principles. You are on the right track if you have the desire to transform laziness or wrong direction into ways you can improve with good, Biblical, quality goals. If we are driven by pride or just the motivation to excel at all cost, it is a good bet we are on the wrong track and not in this Godly Character--just into ourselves.
Is the Character of Determination working in you?
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Determination from God's most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now, ask yourself:
- How do I exhibit Determination in my daily life?
- What can I do to develop a better willingness to embrace Determination, and value people?
- What blocks Determination from working and being exhibited in me?
- How can I make Determination function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
· Here are positive examples from Scripture (Book of Nehemiah; Daniel 1:8-16; Luke 15:4; Acts 20:16; 11:29; 15:2)
· Here are negative examples from Scripture (Numbers 22:15-19; Joshua 7: 10-26; Psalms 37:12; Mathew 24:4-14; John 12:10)
- How would you define Determination? Do you exercise Determination with God? Is so, what about people you dislike?
- What part does Determination play in our relationships with church leaders, the elderly, and with one another? Do you think God desires us to give special care or Determination to church leaders? Do you have a motivating purpose for your life? If not, why?
- How does Discouragement counteract Determination? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a person who gives up too easily?
- What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are overly cautious?
- When have you been most filled with Determination toward a good goal? What is the balance between Determination and right timing, or being Cautious?
- In what situation did you fail to be Determined when you should have?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with more Determination?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Determination into action in a specific instance. For example, how can you put in the necessary effort to complete a lagging project? What can you do so that discouragement, failure, distractions, or lack of foresight will not block you from God's call? How can you turn seemingly impossible tasks into achievable goals, or face problems head-on?
© 2003,Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org