vs. Faintheartedness
Purposing to accomplish God’s goals in God’s time regardless of the opposition

Key Verse

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness . . . .”
II Timothy 4:7–8

The operational definition of determination is “purposing to accomplish God’s goals in God’s time regardless of the opposition.” Determination is having the resolve to know God’s will and the follow-through to do it, undeterred by competing desires, distractions, or resistance. This perseverance is not to be confused with insistence on our own way. God reveals His goals in His Word and through the Holy Spirit’s leading. When setting out to accomplish a goal, the determined Christian can expect challenges that will test his resolve and self-discipline. He looks for ways to overcome these obstacles and press on toward the goal. Breaking down large goals into achievable steps of action can keep him from being overwhelmed by a task. Sometimes God’s plan involves risk or loss, but the Lord is with His children through danger. Sacrifices will be small in comparison to the end reward.

With God’s strength, we can resolutely push through incredible obstacles.
When facing difficulties, a fainthearted person may feel like a wilted plant.

The opposite of determination is faintheartedness. A fainthearted person may decide to do something; however, in response to the first distraction or hardship he encounters, he quickly forsakes his resolve. He readily abandons his course, succumbing to laziness, discouragement, or fear. Because he does not place sufficient value on the actual goal, he shifts to an easier alternative or quits altogether. He may start learning a musical instrument, memorizing a Bible chapter, or training for a race but fail to complete the endeavor. He lacks the inner strength to exert sufficient effort or make sacrifices necessary to finish. A common sign of faintheartedness is the use of phrases such as “It’s too hard,” “I would rather . . . ,” or “I don’t want to.” The fainthearted person may consider his own comfort or popularity to be more important than completion of the task God has given him.

Evaluation Questions

  • Have I set my heart and mind to follow Christ,no matter the cost?
  • What are God’s goals for me, and how do they influence my decisions?
  • Do I find strength in God through personal Bible study and prayer?
  • If a task is difficult, do I simply give up, or do I remember why I should persevere?
  • Do I learn from failed attempts and adjust accordingly, and then try again?
  • Do I consider how to break down a large project into small, achievable steps?
  • Do I recognize and ignore distractions that keep me from achieving God’s purposes?
  • Am I willing to wait on God’s timing to act on a goal?
  • What might happen if I use the wrong methods to accomplish my tasks?

More About Determination

“When God is about to do something great, He starts with a difficulty. When He is about to do something truly magnificent, he starts with an impossibility.”
Armin Gesswein
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Determination with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:


Know my purpose.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 “This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.” Isaiah 43:21

Keep my eyes on the goal.

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14 “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Psalm 16:8

Do whatever it takes.

“Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” Luke 18:22

Stay the course.

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

Set goals.

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” Psalm 32:8

Make sure my methods are right.

“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” I Corinthians 2:4

Ignore distractions.

“And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” Mark 4:19

Not be discouraged by others.

“. . . Let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of [your enemies]; For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” Deuteronomy 20:3–4

Confront problems boldly.

“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” I Corinthians 16:13 “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” I Timothy 5:20

Prepare myself for the challenge.

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Ecclesiastes 9:10

Determination in Scripture

The Plot to Discourage Daniel’s Daily Discipline

“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”
Daniel lived a life that was fully dedicated to God. When the Babylonian army conquered Jerusalem around 600 B.C., Daniel and many others were taken captive. King Nebuchadnezzar selected certain captives, including Daniel, for training to serve in the royal courts of Babylon. When these young Jews were offered the king’s delicacies, Daniel determined to honor God by humbly requesting food that God’s Law permitted. After King Nebuchadnezzar died, his descendant Belshazzar ruled the empire. One day King Belshazzar held a pagan feast. He irreverently used the sacred golden vessels that had been looted from the Lord’s Temple. Suddenly, a hand from God appeared, writing words of judgment on the wall! The frightened king summoned Daniel, who explained the meaning of the strange writing. That night, the foreign King Darius invaded the city, killed Belshazzar, and took the throne. The new king chose 120 princes to rule over the massive kingdom. Over these 120 men he appointed three presidents, including Daniel, who governed the leaders. Would the other presidents and princes appreciate Daniel and his integrity? Who would attempt to intimidate Daniel? Would Daniel be discouraged from doing right, or despite opposition, would he maintain his resolve to be faithful to God?

Revealed in Nature


After one to four years at sea, the mighty king salmon heads back to the stream where it hatched. Swimming against the swift river currents and leaping up waterfalls as high as 11 feet, the salmon actually increases its daily speed as it covers hundreds of miles on its journey home.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. Through this study, children are encouraged to trust God to give them the resolve and courage to ignore distractions and reach the goal.

View the Determination booklet sample:

Get the complete Determination booklet with all four lessons & activities:

Free Resources for Determination

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
“To have failed once is not so much a pity as is to not try again.”
John Wanamaker