Determination

I want to share some thoughts on the determination of a salmon. The salmon has enjoyed the freedom of the ocean, but the instinct God placed within it to reproduce itself turns it back to its inland spawning ground. However, there will be obstacles and dangers to overcome. The salmon will have to navigate upstream around rocks and swim over fast running waterfalls. It must fight the strong currents to reach its destiny before it can reproduce itself. There will be other dangers. Have you seen videos of the bears wading in the water, with salmon jumping all around them? Many of these salmon will become breakfast for the bears. This journey presents the salmon with its life’s greatest challenge. It will be difficult and dangerous, but necessary. It is driven to make this journey so it can fulfill its destiny.

Within the salmon’s danger-filled journey, there is a picture of the biblical principle of evangelism and discipleship. This is a picture we all need to understand and highly value. If we are to reproduce what God has made us to be, we must determine to strive to finish, regardless of the difficulties, risks and effort necessary to get there. We need to have that attitude the salmon possesses, that we will not be denied our destinies. We will press on until we have achieved the will of God for our lives. The Apostle Paul is our biblical model of this. Here is his testimony, as he journeyed toward his final days in Rome.

 Acts 20:22-24 NKJV

“And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, {23} except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.  But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

There is a story told about an Olympic athlete named Derek Redmond who was running his race, when suddenly, he injured his leg and fell to the ground. As he lay there, the crowd was hushed with concern. All the runners passed by him and he was left alone, laying on the track. The, from out of the crowd, a lone figure came to his side. It was his father, who had jumped from the stands and ran to him. He took hold of the injured runner, spoke words of encouragement to him, and helped him up. Together, they continued the runner’s now pain-filled effort to make it around the track and get to the finish line. As they watched, the crowd was silent for a moment, but suddenly, along with all the other athletes who had already finished, they began to cheer for the runner and his father. People were shouting, “You can make it! Just keep going! Do what is in your heart and do not stop. The greatest prize you can have is knowing in your heart that you have finished the race.” The Apostle Paul understood how vital it is for us to finish our race and gain the prize God has offered to us. His own confession to the Philippians of his determination is a great encouragement to us.

Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV)

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. {13} Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, {14} I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

My friends, a great promise and destiny awaits those who make the effort and accept the challenges serving God holds. The Bible tells us that you will never be alone, as you run your race. A great gathering of witnesses in heaven will be your greatest fans and encouragers. They will cheer you on, as you run to your finish line. Every step of the way, whether filled with pain or run with joy, will be a testimony to your commitment and dedication to Christ. The great assurance we have is that, if we stumble, our heavenly Father will come alongside of us, and by His Spirit, will pick us up and take us to the finish line. Let the following Scripture in Hebrews speak to your heart and give you a fresh determination to continue your personal race until you gain the victory God has promised you in His Word.

Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, {2} looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. {3} For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”

I strongly suggest you keep your heart turned toward your destiny. Never give up. Focus on your purpose, not the bears or rocks, or the tough currents of life you will have to navigate. When your destiny seems to be beyond your own strength to get there, you will find your heavenly Father will come and by His Holy Spirit will be there to help you finish your journey. Just keep going. If you refuse to be denied what God has called you to do, you will not be denied. Just do it. You will make it. Always remember that with God anything is possible. He is infinitely bigger than your biggest problem or obstacle.

 Now go and do what God has called you to do.
Dr. Bob Abramson