Posted: June 29, 2021 in Uncategorized

I woke up this morning wondering what I should write about today. I started to think about determination. I’ve never really studied etymology (The study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history) at least since high school a very long time ago and so my etymology may be way off, so we’ll just call this Dave’s fractured etymology. But let’s break it down simply. Termination is the ending of something and the prefix “de” means the opposite of whatever follows. Determination, then is the refusal to quit, at least to my mind. Sometimes I think I need a little more determination. How about you?

The theme verse and memory verse for this past week at Haven Camp was Philippians 3:13b-14. “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” In preparation for this series of messages, I really got to dwell on what Paul was saying here. I think of the Apostle Paul, who was writing this from the confines of a Roman prison. At this point in his life, he was pretty much prevented from doing all that he was called to do. He couldn’t very well go out and plant churches or spread the Gospel, at least beyond the walls of his confinement. A lesser man would have given up. I fear I would have given up, but Paul was not a lesser man. I’m sure he looked at all the things his circumstances at the time prevented him from doing, but determination had to bring a new thought to mind. “What can I do?”

We need to do the same thing. When circumstances keep us from doing what we want to do and especially what we are called to do, we can lament those circumstances or we can use our determination to ask a follow up question, “What can I do where I am right now?” In Paul’s vernacular, “If my freedom is currently in the past, what can I strain toward to keep moving forward to my future?” For Paul it was writing letters. I’m sure writing those letters to the churches he founded had to feel very anticlimactic—like they nailed in comparison to planting those churches, yet Paul followed the leading of the Spirit and wrote them anyway. That’s determination, and I’d ask you to remember that those letters, letters that again had to feel anticlimactic have been encouraging the church of Jesus Christ for 2000 years.

Being impeded from doing what Paul was called to do in the moment, he still pressed on (determination) to the goal to win the prize. I’d ask you to remember, that prize cannot be Heaven. Heaven is something Jesus gives freely, it does not have to be earned or won. What then is the prize? It’s reaching the goal God has set before you. It’s hearing the Lord say, “Well done.” I get the idea that we will not always see the importance of what we are doing when we are doing it. We need to do it anyway, trusting that if God calls us to it, He will make it important as only He can define it. That’s determination. Circumstances are going to be unfavorable at times. We can lament them or we can look to what we can do today.

Determine to press on with determination. The Lord has got this!

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