January 2018


Great Determination

by Tom McLemore


        Many resolutions are made; some are made good, and others not.  Why do we fail?  Perhaps we fail to understand what is involved in resolution.  The primary meaning is “the quality of being resolute, great determination.”  The secondary meaning is “a mental pledge, something one intends to do.”  We may fail because we utilize only half of the definition.  Individual and congregational resolutions can become reality with great determination.



Lack of determination promises defeat.  


        The ten spies and their generation are monuments to a lack of determination. They said, “We are not able to go up against this people, for they are stronger than we” (Numbers 13:31).  They were ready to give up and go back to Egypt (Numbers 14:4). 

        God would not let them see the promised land (Numbers 14:23).  They died in the wilderness (Numbers 14:35-37).



Determination equal to the task promises victory.


        Solomon built the temple.  What was his secret?  Great determination.  “Solomon decided to build a temple for the name of the LORD, and a royal palace for himself” (2 Chronicles  2:1).  Great determination is what we need to build up the church and one another.

        Ezra proved to be a great teacher who enabled all the people to understand the law (Nehemiah 8:8).  His secret?  Great determination.  “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach the statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).  Great determination is what we need to excel in Bible knowledge, being teachers, and full obedience to God.

        Jesus accomplished the greatest and most difficult task of all.  He went to Jerusalem and laid down his life for his enemies (Romans 5:6-8).  He was tempted to deviate (Matthew 4:1-11).  His secret?  Great determination.  “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).  Great determination is what we need to overcome temptation successfully (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8, 9). 

        The Antioch church sent relief to the brethren in Judea.   Their secret?  Great determination. “The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers living in Judea” (Acts 11:29).  Great determination is what we need to excel in our giving to enable us to support of benevolent and mission works (2 Corinthians 9:7).



Determination equal to the task (whatever it might be) must be cultivated...developed.


        Several components are involved in a developing determination.  First, there is strong desire...a realization of the importance of the task.  Solomon realized that the house that he was build must be great because the God of Israel is great above all gods (2 Chronicles 2:5).  Jesus considered doing the will of his Father the sustenance upon which he thrived (John 4:34).  We will build up the church, save the lost, work faithfully, and serve others when we cultivate strong desire.

        The second component is self-denial.  The members of the Antioch church could have been selfish.  However, they were not (Acts 11:29).  We will give according to our ability and make sacrifices when we fully affirm the value of others and their needs.

        The third component of developing determination is singleness of purpose.   Paul exhibited this component.  “Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13, 14).  Jesus manifested it.  He declared, “For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).  We will be knowledgeable and able teachers, live holy lives, and reach the lost when we are fully committed to these purposes.

        The fourth component is trusting faith.  Paul possessed such a faith.  He affirmed, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).  He knew that the God we serve “...by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).  

        As we begin a new year, we must realize that there is no limit to the good that can be done as a congregation or as individuals IF our determination is equal to the task.  It is not enough to MAKE resolutions; we must HAVE resolution...great determination.  Many intend to obey the gospel.  Many intend to be dedicated.  Does this describe you?  Obeying God calls for great determination.  Will you determine now to respond?

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