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Determination

“And if it seem evil to you to serve the lord, choose you this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your father…

And if it seem evil to you to serve the lord, choose you this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your father served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the lord. “  (Joshua 24:15) from this scriptural passage, we would see that Joshua was fed up of hide and seek games. He thought over it again and again and decided to make a strong decision about whom to serve. He was assertive and was not afraid of anybody or what they would say or think about him. He was determined to take the bull by the horn come what may, he and his household would serve the lord. The decision was not just made for making sake; he took time and courage to decide who to serve either the Almighty God or other gods. Determination is a decision we have taken and also ready to defend come what may. It takes a long period to be able to attain such a stage in life. 

However, determination is an emotional feeling that requires perseverance in other to attain a particular goal in spite of all odds. A person must be determined before any goal is achieved; it serves as a driving force that would help in attaining any goal. It is like a magnet drawing an individual into action that will eventually leads to success. To be determined, one needs courage to achieve the desired goal or needs in life. Courage is the basic foundation of determination. Once you are determined no power can change it, it helps you to be focus and continue to look ahead in achieving your goal. Courage is a powerful tool that helps in confronting intimidation of all kinds either fears, worries, pains or agony. Courage can be physical or moral, physical courage is the ability to be able to face hardship, pain or even death while on the other hand Moral courage is the ability to be able to act rightly in the face of opposition or confusion. Just like the days of Joshua when there was confusion about whom to serve and who not to serve, determination helped in resolving the issue of choosing whom to serve after much consideration Joshua came up with a decision of serving the one true God who is capable of saving them.

Furthermore, once we are determined we would be focused knowing fully well that we have a target to meet. Meeting a target is not easy to come by; it requires hard work and dedication. To be focused means that there is a direction, once there is a direction it means there is a road to follow. Determination always keeps us in check so that we would not deviate from the right track. Determination helps us to set a pace that others would follow, this was the typical scenario we see with Prophet Joshua, “And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the lord, to serve other gods.” (Joshua 24: 16) when the people discovered that Joshua and his household are on the right track they quickly turn around and followed him. They discovered that he was determined and focused and was not ready to change his mind. They have no other choice than to follow him.

More often than not, determination requires some criteria that would make it work; one of it is “Discipline”. Discipline helps us to work in conformity with the desired goal or target. For one to be great and equally become an achiever there is need for discipline. Discipline is a powerful tool that can help us to get to the height no matter how difficult it may be. It helps us to set a standard for ourselves and bring our plans to fulfilment. It is a kind of practise that would later become part of our lives. The training we get through discipline is not always favourable. Initially, it may be difficult and impossible but later the fruit will bear witness to the good work.   “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11). As Christians, sometimes we would discover that we want to live our lives the way we want it and we do not care whether it pleases God or not, but God who is all powerful and do not want the work of his hand to be destroyed through our waywardness would try to bring us back to the fold, through words from His prophet, many a time these corrections are not easy but they help us to get back on track. The lord only disciplines those he loves and cherishes. 

Nevertheless, determination calls for dedication. Through it, goals are met, destinies are fulfilled. It takes all within us to be determined whenever there is determination it would lead to dedication. It comes as a result of hard work no one would reckon with a lazy person due to the fact that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Determination helps in attaining perfection and brings forth the good in us. A dedicated person does not count his/her loses or successes, due to the fact that it is not the main aim of working, he is working because he is convinced of what he is doing, gain or losses do not bother him.

In Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians he says, “Not that I have already attained or I am already perfected: but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 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, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3: 12 – 14). From the above scriptural passage, we would see how determined and dedicated Saint Paul was in his race of salvation he was focused and was never ready to lose. He was so vigilant to make use of any slightest opportunity to excel. He was not in competition with anyone. He was so humble enough not to boost of his achievement or allow it serve as a distraction in attaining his goal as a Christian (Heaven).

Determination and hard work cannot be separated they are interwoven with each other; you cannot be determined without hard work, determination comes after much reflection on a particular situation and it helps in taking a bold step. Determination helps us to overcome challenges that may serve as obstacles. It is the instrument used in conquering fear and timidity.  

Sr Margret Ogbebor SSMA is a Catholic Nun, working in the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto. She is the Head Teacher of St Martin de Porres Nursery and Primary School Katsina. okaimaogbebor@gmail.com