Determination: Firmness of purpose.
My challenge to you: Imagine if you spent every week learning about a different virtue or character distinction and sought to nurture it into your life? I wonder after a couple of months what would shift in your life, or even more, six months from now?
I invite you as a person who is willing to adopt a new set of skills loose into your relationships, your conversation, and matched with the underpinning of your faith to mount of the virtue of determination and courage.
How do we see people who are determined? Usually we admire people who realize their goals or hopes after a litany of challenges and setbacks. There are people who were around such individuals all the while, usually there are people who rush to show some affinity or support like the recent champion of the World Series or Stanley Cup. Die hard fans are agitated by all the new dedicated fans who show up only after the win.
For a long time we would like our stories about how the determined rose from obscurity and found their fortune, their fame, their success, and their noteworthy story with little digging into the fine lines and wrinkles of their past. It seems today, we are consumed with exposing everyone is just as faulty, fragmented, or false as the rest of us. What if your story was one where the means of how you achieved a focus was aligned with the end point itself?
This is were morality comes in and many people today are just as fluid in that department as some other characteristics of identity (unfortunately). It is difficult for people to be willing to have the courage and resolution to stand for something that they are grasping to as “right” or morally “sound”.
For the Christ follower, this is where we are at the distinct opportunity to understand that determination as a characteristic is fueled by the underpinning that our purpose is to love the Lord with “everything” and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus explains that this is the summary of the Law of Moses and of the Prophets.
If we were able to simply bring every desire, focus, ambition, and heartbreak towards the purpose of loving God, then we would see a few shifts within us that would open up our ability to be determined.
First, “It’s not about you”. This idea flys in the face of most of today’s aim of fulfillment and happiness driven ideologies. The self has taken it’s position as the most important force in the universe and anything or everything that seeks to take its focus off of such an ambition is deemed radical or archaic.
“Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”- Matthew 10:39
If we could simply not be so occupied about creating our own narratives that insulate the scared and anxious inner children we all are, we could perhaps find such joy and security in discovering who our focus is to be about. A focus that stems from knowing we are cared for, adored, and encounter the provisional grace of our Father. Until we encounter this, we wont be able to focus outward with the type of determination that God is seeking from us.
Second, not having a taste for the ugly side of compromise. In relationships, there is a necessary amount of compromise that stimulates sharing, prioritizing, and meeting needs for all involved. However, many who reach some form of success seem to sacrifice their hearts, their morals, or their relationship with Christ. The world offers many enticing outcomes if you would just bend your desires and willingness to meet the exploiting compromises that it will take to realize them.
If we can get a sense of who is really for our well-being, then it only can drive our determination ever further to remain firm on our purpose. How much do you know that God has the best set aside for you? When you think of the word “best” is that something you have decided or is it an idea or focus that God has shaped in you? My hope is that you are a man or woman determined to not compromise in order to get a short term result that doesn’t last or remain fulfilling. Seek first the kingdom of God and all the rest will be added to you, that is a purpose to worth remaining firm in!