Determined to Win

I was reading someone thoughts about what makes the difference between those who change their lives and those who don't. It boiled down to the person's determination. When a person approaches a problem, but leaves themselves an excuse for not solving the problem, more often than not, they take the excuse.

In this latest round of drug usage, I and your friends all noted that you weren't fully determined to beat your addiction. I realize that a part of that was fear on your part that you might not succeed and part was a desire to be honest and not promise something you couldn't keep. But you missed something you deeply need: a determination to win.

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified" (I Corinthians 9:24-27).

When an athlete competes, does he focus on the fact that he might lose or that he has a chance to win? I can almost guarantee that the athlete who focuses on the probability that he might lose will lose. Each setback just confirms that he really isn't going to make it and so his level of effort drops off. It is the athlete, focused on the fact that he can win, who finds each setback a reason to increase his effort because he is determined to win.

Paul used that example to talk about the Christian reaching heaven. If we aren't absolutely determined to gain heaven, we are likely to miss it. "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience" (Hebrews 4:11). We can't focus on the fact that we might sin. We focus on the goal, and any sin that enters our life just makes us more determined to push harder for heaven. The truth is that heaven is possible to reach. God promised it to us. "Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it" (Hebrews 4:1). Yes, sin isn't going to go away. Satan will always be looking for ways to trip us up. But God is watching out for us. There is always a way out (I Corinthians 10:13).

It is no different with the sin of drug addiction. You won't win your freedom focused on the possibility that you will slip again and use. That possibility is real. But if you focus on it, each slip will just confirm in your mind that you can't really make it. To win this battle you have to be focused on wanting with all your heart to have control over your own life and to be drug free. Then if any slip occurs you will be that much more determined to push drugs out of your life. That is what your friends and I are looking for in you -- a determination that shows you are going to win back control over your life. I know you have it in you to be that determined.