When first starting any new endeavor – weight loss, training for a marathon, getting straight A’s, keeping the house picked up, a new job, etc. – determination to stick with the task and finish strong is usually quite high. The determination to stay with it, train consistently, not procrastinate, dust weekly and stay enthused seems like a constantly flowing spring, and you’re completely certain you won’t fail or even let up in your determination.
But not too long after starting, determination often tends to wane. The fact that most people begin giving up on goals within 10 days after starting them speaks to this fact. And we haven’t even mentioned the really big commitments in life – marriage, parenting and friendship, for example.
Fortunately, planning for this inevitable dip in determination can make all the difference in keeping it revved up. A lot of information already exists on how to set and achieve goals, so this post won’t cover that. What it will cover is what the Bible tells us about staying determined.
Let’s look at three individuals in scripture from whom we can learn a lot about how to stay determined regardless of our feelings or surrounding circumstances.
Ezra’s determination teaches us that we must be hearers, doers and teachers of God’s Word and shows us that God blesses that type of determination. (Ezra 7:9-10)
Daniel’s determination shows us that resisting the surrounding culture is not only possible but necessary. (Daniel 1:8)
Paul’s determination illustrates the need for complete focus on the finish line, for knowing our why. (1 Corinthians 9:26)
These men teach us a great deal about staying determined. Above all, their examples show us that we should determine to:
- Obey God: Simply make up your mind to do it. (1 Samuel 7:3)
- Not Sin: Know your convictions before you are tested. (Job 31:1)
- Stand Firm: Stand in faith, and you will be protected. (Isaiah 7:9)
- Follow Christ: Let Him lead you in every area of life. (Mark 8:34-38)
Through Ezra’s, Daniel’s and Paul’s examples, we see that staying determined is possible. And scripture clearly indicates where our determination should be focused.
But how do we obtain the type of determination that endures and allows us to finish strong? Let’s again look to Ezra, Daniel & Paul for the answer.
Daniel had a habit of prayer that he stuck with even in the face of death. (Daniel 6:10)
Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, often included prayers filled with thanksgiving, prayers for others, as well as prayer requests for his ministry. (See a list of Paul’s prayers on Scripture Zealot.)
So we see that a habit of prayer, praise and thanksgiving were keys to their constant determination. Still today, these habits keep a person centered on God, who promises to help us stay determined.
Isaiah 50:7 says, “For the Lord God helps Me, therefore, I am not disgraced; therefore, I have set my face like flint (a stone), and I know that I will not be ashamed.”
The key, then, to staying determined is twofold. First, know your why. Know for what reason you want to stay determined in order to finish strong. Second, stay connected to God. He promises give you the confidence needed to stay determined.
DISCUSSION: What do you need to do differently to be able to stay determined in all areas of your life?