Our Own Determination


Many statements have been made and preserved over the years which have given many people the determination to begin, continue, or complete a noble endeavor. “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me” (Robert Schuller). “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination” (Tommy Lasorda). “Never give in! Never give in! Never give in!” (Winston Churchill). “You were not born a winner, and you were not born a loser. You are what you make yourself to be” (Lou Holtz).

Although we may appreciate these statements, these sayings are helpful in empowering in one way or another way. They do urge me to take responsibility for what I do. However, they seem to imply that a human being who is determined enough can do anything to which he sets his mind. But that is not true. What is “going to be” involves a wide range of factors that are not “up to me,” and there is a good deal more that separates the probable from the improbable than my own personal determination.

2 Corinthians 1:9 says, “yea, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead…” Paul would not have escaped his trials by persecution without being determined. He refused to give up in the face of difficulty. What he learned from that experience was not how strong he was (2 Corinthians 12;8,9). The lesson was to have less faith in the power of his determination and more faith in God. He learned “that we should not trust in ourselves.” That’s not a “motivational speaker’s” words. That is divine discipline.