The Brittanica Dictionary defines determination as “a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult.” Webster’s says it this way: “firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end.”
The world of athletics is probably the best place to see the positive results and success of people who have a firm and fixed intention to achieve their dreams. We sometimes marvel at their “overnight” success, forgetting the fierce determination it took every step of the way to make it to the top of their game.
We’ve also seen time and time again that people who make it to the top aren’t necessarily the most talented but are simply the most tenacious. Talent will get your started, but determination is what gets you there.
Determination is the Secret Sauce.
Since most of you reading this probably aren’t striving to be world-class athletes, how can we apply the inspiration and encouragement we experience from watching athletes excel to our personal lives, especially our spiritual lives?
For me personally, my eyes were opened to the determination of our Savior, Jesus Christ, when I visited the Garden of Gethsemane in Israel. There is a church called the Dominus Flevit that is built over the place where Jesus spent that agonizing night before He was arrested and crucified.
The Bible tells us that He actually sweat tears of blood, the pain was so deep.
But Jesus had the Secret Sauce of determination. No matter what was coming, He was determined to do what His Father had sent Him to earth to do. He knew it was going to be painful beyond belief. He knew He was going to feel the weight of our sins upon Him as He hung on that wretched cross. He knew He was going to be mocked and beaten and have to bear our shame, a shame that He didn’t deserve.
As I knelt down and laid my hands on the rock that is on the altar of the church, the rock they believe Jesus actually knelt on, I felt the presence of Jesus like never before. My chest felt as if it was going to explode, and I was absolutely overcome with emotion. It’s hard to put into words how powerful it was; but in that incredible moment, it was suddenly very clear to me that Jesus was indeed living inside me. All at once my greatest desire was to know the heart of Jesus.
I also had clarity like never before that Jesus knew exactly what lay before him, yet He didn’t run. He would have seen the angry mob coming towards Him, and it would have been so easy to simply run up over the hill the Garden sits on.
But he didn’t.
He stayed because He was determined to see His Father’s will carried out.
I wonder how many times we have stopped just short of the prize, given up just when we were about to have the success we dreamed of? How many times have we stopped doing the hard work of spiritual growth right before breakthrough was about to happen? How many times have we started a quiet time but quit when it got too difficult to maintain? How often have we given in to excuses like we simply don't have the time when God is calling us to serve somewhere?
Let me encourage you, my friend, we all have the Secret Sauce! It’s the love of Jesus! And when we accept the finished work of the cross that Jesus agonized over in the Garden, we have his blood flowing through our veins. When we give our lives to Christ, the Bible promises that:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
That's what I felt so clearly in the Garden, that Jesus was alive inside of me.
The love Jesus has for each of us is the Secret Sauce that can keep us pushing through when growth gets hard, when the world around us feels chaotic, when it would be so much easier to quit trying to do good and just go with the ways of the world.
The quiet determination to know the heart of Jesus, to do the things He is asking me to do, to live and love the way He did, has become the greatest desire of my life.
And I’ve got the Secret Sauce to help me do it!
And so do you!
Hugs and love,