Looking back on my life, there is one characteristic that, beyond a shadow of doubt, has been the single most important of my life. I call it tenacious determination. This is not meant as a boast, or to say, “See, I am better than everyone else.” Rather it is to highlight that for all and any one of us, this characteristic, more than any other, is imperative to our success in the Christian life, marriage, parenting, health, vocation, everything!
Believe it or not, I’d never read or seen this quote until much later in my life. But I have experienced it personally. I’ve observed its truths in the arena of life through my decades of ministry. It’s a quote by Calvin Coolidge who was, by the way, a devout believer in Jesus Christ.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent. Press on.”
I discovered early on in my life that the only way forward, the only way to accomplish and achieve the things I knew were vital to my life, and things God called me to, was through tenacious determination. The unrelenting application of myself to become what God called me to be. The tenacious determination to press on no matter what people or life threw at me. To remain doggedly determined no matter what sorrows or setbacks, trials or adversities, hardships or injustices came my way, I must get up! I must Press On!
It is tenacious determination that I knew must be practiced in my prayer life. I told my wife, after last week’s article and the personal story I shared as a little boy, pounding on my neighbors door, till I put a hole in it because I wanted them to let me in to watch Saturday morning TV shows, that incident, though I realize was a wrong thing I did then, is exactly what I have been doing for decades on the “Door of Heaven!” Every single day for decades I go on a 3 mile, one hour prayer walk, boldly pounding on God’s door with my prayers and requests. Just how tenaciously determined am I? I have now prayer-walked well over 27,000 miles! That is literally the equivalent of walking around the entire planet once and then some!! And I have not stopped! I desperately need God’s help! I desperately need God’s blessings, God’s provisions, God’s wisdom, God’s comforting strength, God’s bearing of my burdens. I need God to answer my prayers! I need God’s divine interventions and miraculous help. In the last 16 years, I’ve literally worn out 4 pairs of leather boots, even after re-soling each pair once. They are completely worn out. This is tenacious determination.
I knew as a young dad it was vitally important for me to stay fit and active. I began some simple exercise routines. Nothing fancy, things anyone reading this could do. I have now done 717,750 pushups. I have used my push bars so much that I’ve completely worn through the rubber cushion on the handles. This is tenacious determination.
Becoming a godly husband, becoming a godly father, becoming a godly man, all comes down to tenacious determination. The characterological attributes required in these roles will require tenacious determination or you will fall far short of what is needed to succeed. Men, we must never stop pressing on in these matters in our lives. My experience through the years has shown me that most men are not tenaciously determined. This data point illustrates my perspective. Currently 68% of active duty service members are either overweight or obese! I have seen the same lackadaisical spirit in the church, among Christian men. The vast majority of men I’ve known were coasting. They never really seriously pushed themselves.
God is worthy of our tenacious determination. Anything less, truly dishonors God.
I have never forgotten this old line to a song we used to sing. It reflects the serious choice of my own heart.
I would not with swift winged zeal on the world’s errands go, then labor up the heavenly hill with weary feet and slow. O not for Thee my weak desires, my poorer baser part! O not for thee my fading fires, the ashes of my heart!
Friends, give the Lord your very best efforts in all you do! Do it now before you’re gone and it’s too late.
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling