Determination is the essence of success. There are very few things of real value which can be obtained with minimal cost or effort.
In order to fulfill your potential in any endeavor, you must be willing to do two critical things:
1 - Count the cost, and
2 - Give everything you have to give towards accomplishing the task set before you
COUNTING THE COST
While living in North Carolina many years ago, I ran a karate school several evenings a week. It was a great opportunity to impact the lives of some young men and women with the Gospel of Christ and elements of character-building. Because I believe that counting the cost is an important part of achieving success in just about any endeavor, I used to require prospective students to come and observe two or three classes before they could enroll. They got the chance to observe first-hand what would be expected of them if they decided to join the school.
A sign was conspicuously placed near the door as one entered. It read, "Many things can be cheaply made or easily bought, but that which is earned by hard work can never be replaced. If you are more interested in WEARING a belt than EARNING a belt, I suggest you study somewhere other than here." It set the stage for the level of expectation.
Fulfilling your potential in your faith life will require that you count the cost. Biblical Christianity is not for the faint of heart.
SALVATION is the gift of God, and is freely offered to all who believe in their heart that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and choose to accept Him as their Lord. But please do not confuse the offer of salvation with the call to become a disciple.
DISCIPLESHIP will cost you everything. Making the commitment to follow Christ is much like enlisting in the armed forces of your nation. It is a commitment to obey the commander in chief, give your all to accomplish the stated mission, and be prepared to lay down your life in the process if need be.
I believe that a faith that isn't worth dying for probably isn't worth living for either.
Jesus is the chief example of the ultimate faith-driven life. He came willingly, lived sacrificially and held nothing back. We are called to lead lives driven by the mission of going into all the world and making disciples of all nations. He empowers us, but we must be willing to obey.
GIVING YOUR ALL
As we pursue the fulfillment of ALL God has called us to be, we must be driven by determination to press on and never give in.
Life WILL be difficult and the challenges WILL appear at times to be insurmountable. But the greater the difficulty we overcome the greater the testimony of our victory will be. You can't have a stunning testimony without an incredibly difficult test. No test, no testimony.
At Harrow School on October 29, 1941, Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed the student body. Just a year earlier it had appeared that Great Britain's life was all but over. Here's the cogent part of what he had to say to those students, teachers and families that day:
"We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours … this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated. Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer.
This is the lesson:
Never give in. NEVER GIVE IN. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."
That is the lesson indeed. That is the lesson of Christ's life. That is the lesson of history. That is the lesson of today's verse.
The only way to fulfill the destiny Christ has for you is to PRESS ON TOWARD THE GOAL TO WIN THE PRIZE FOR WHICH GOD HAS CALLED ME HEAVENWARD IN CHRIST JESUS.
We must PRESS ON. We must NEVER give in. We must be determine to TAKE HOLD of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us.
As for me, I am determined to PRESS ON, to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me …
and I invite you to join me for the journey of a lifetime.