To be determined… What does that mean to you? It’s defined as having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it. Sounds nice. What are you determined in?
Surely, we have all found ourselves determined in something. Whether that be a sport, your marriage, staying pure, seeking revenge maybe(?), or even passing that darn level on Candy Crush! As you reflect, perhaps some were really noble. Perhaps some pursuits ended up being totally destructive – which maybe you didn’t find out until after the fact. It’s one thing to be unaware of the damage, & quite another to be fully mindful.
One of the most destructive things you can do to yourself is intentionally sin. It’s when you know (without a shadow of a doubt) that what you’re determined to do is wrong, but you do it anyway. I’ve been there. But we must caution ourselves. The more we intentionally sin, the more spiritually numb & insensitive we get to God’s truth. There begins this emotional hardening that breeds calloused indifference. That’s where the danger lies. And that’s exactly where those Israelites ^ found themselves. But rest assured, you’re in great company!
One time, Jesus encountered a woman who was caught in adultery (the law of Moses says to stone anyone caught in adultery). The teachers of religious law presented this woman before a crowd of fervent, misled Jews demanding an answer from Jesus on her verdict. As they poised the stones in their hands, this dark cloud of determination lurked over them. Although the religious leaders’ intentions were to trap Jesus, he wisely combats their hypocrisy & famously said, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Basically Jesus punked everyone, but he showed grace to the woman. The crowd of accusers eventually all dropped their stones & left one by one. Jesus said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you? …I don’t. Go & sin no more.” (John 8:10-11 NLT, writers rendition)
Carefully determine what pleases the Lord (Ephesians 5:10).
Truth be told. God hates sin, especially intentional, deliberate sin. But there is grace. Be determined to do the right things, & don’t let you’re pursuits cloud your judgement & turn you into an angry mob. If you’ve messed up (like we all have) don’t wallow in your guilt either & stay there for extensive periods of time as it may be tempting. In part, that was the advice Jesus gave to the woman – repent & move on! God wants you to move forward. And know where sin’s rightful place is in your life. For that which we have dominion over, God grants us the power to overcome. All the time, every time.