Being willing to change—to admit when we are wrong and to accept the direction of God—is an excellent thing! Being persuaded by people, however, rarely is…
Remember the crowd that was given the choice to free Jesus or not. Yes, they may have been inclined toward the decision they ultimately made beforehand, but it was persuasion that led them wholly down the wrong path (see Matthew 27:20).
We are like that crowd. We can be persuaded by man or stand with God, determined in His ways. But the choice is ours.
Are we going to walk in man’s persuasion or in God’s determination?
It is time for us to discover the path God designed for us…
Being persuaded by man is different than receiving the correction and direction of God; even when that correction and direction of God is given through people.
“Before you were led astray, you were so faithful. Who has deceived you so that you have turned from what is right? The One who enfolded you into his grace is not behind this false teaching that you’ve embraced.”—Galatians 5:7-8 (TPT)
“He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who refuses correction goes astray.”—Proverbs 10:17
When God points us in a different direction from the way we are headed, it is always for our good, and always a better way.
When people persuade us to change course, too often it is not based in God’s perfect will, but in a false view of who we are and where we are meant to be.
As Believers we want to be led by God, but it is easy to succumb to persuasion. Especially when the persuasion is telling us that the path we are on is wrong and that the path it suggests is not only easier, but better…
A little encouragement here. A little coaxing there. A word against the path we are on. An urging about getting on the supposedly ‘better’ path. And soon enough we can find ourselves believing a false narrative, turning aside instead of walking with determination into what God has for us!
“As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us.”—Hebrews 12:1 (TPT)
Only God has the perfect plan for us, but there are many seemingly ‘acceptable’ options that often appear before His plan arrives; trying to persuade us to exit early.
Consider the path of Orpah, Naomi’s other daughter-in-law, in the book of Ruth. Orpah was prepared to follow Naomi to a land she did not know, and in fact, she had started on that very path…
Orpah, Naomi, and Ruth had all PREPARED to go to the land of Judah, and were even on their way to the road that would take them there! Both Orpah and Ruth, perhaps even Naomi at the start, thought the decision to go there was already made…
But at the junction—the place of true decision—Naomi tried to persuade her daughters-in-law to return to their old life and false gods. Orpah and Ruth BOTH said, after this first persuasion, that they would go with her; their love for Naomi being strong enough to go forward, even though the way was uncertain. But then Naomi tried to persuade them a second time, and Orpah gave in, while Ruth held fast to her determination…
“When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.”—Ruth 1:18 (NIV)
Why was that?
Orpah wanted to go with Naomi, but when the situation was put to her as dire. When the comforts of her prior home were recalled to her. When she was persuaded not once, but twice… she gave in. Orpah had a ‘level’ of determination, but not enough to outlast the persuasion of Naomi.
Persuasion led her to a place where, yes, she may have had some comfort, but she did not have an inheritance. She did not have God. And she did not have a kinsman redeemer.
Meanwhile Ruth was determined. Her words AND actions together showed the truth of it. And it was with that Godly determination that she was led to a place where she would know inheritance, follow God, and discover her kinsman redeemer; leading her and Naomi to promise and blessings!
This example of persuasion versus determination is interesting, because each of Naomi’s daughters-in-law displayed a ‘level’ of determination that echoes in many of us who follow God.
As Believers we have affection for God and His ways and want to follow Him, but when we reach the place of decision… sometimes we stumble. Persuasion comes with other paths that appear smooth and prosperous, but because they are not God’s perfect plan for us, they are merely a poor substitution. They are not what is written in our books. And while we may find earthly comfort in that false path, ultimately it draws us away from God’s will and therefore, in many ways, God Himself.
Just like Orpah, many of us may say no to such paths once… perhaps even twice. But the persuasion we experience and the temptation it brings can be too much. Yet, it does not have to be…
We can choose to be like Ruth. We can stand firm in our love. We can believe that God’s ways, no matter how hard or uncomfortable they may be, will ultimately lead us to a place of fulfillment. Of love. And of God’s perfect design…
The question is, will we walk in this determination or allow ourselves to be persuaded?
Choosing to Walk in Godly Determination
Orpah likely thought she was determined. She had put on her travel clothes, packed up her bags, left her home, and had made it all the way to the crossroads. What is more, she even said no to the first alternative that came her way… until it came again.
It is easy to be like Orpah. To change the way we appear, pack our bags, leave where we have been, and journey to the crossroads. But this is where the truest test of our determination comes. Where we have to decide if all the days, weeks, months, or even years of planning and preparing for God’s plans are still worth standing by…
This is where we discover if we are determined enough to pass up the first alternate offer, but not the second… or if we will be like Ruth and stand, and having done all, stand!
Choosing to be determined is not the end of our road. It is only the start of the sold-out journey. It is where we take the first step, knowing that there will still be some hard choices and times ahead. That we will need to be obedient, even in things we do not understand…
But the choice to walk in determination begins at the crossroads. It is where we enter into the manifestation of all the planning and preparation we have done. It is where we build our faith so that we will be able to be obedient in every circumstance to come. To have the faith to follow God’s path.
There are many things we can do to help us stand in determination at the crossroads. We can pray. We can fast—food or things. We can spend time with God. We can read His Word. And much more! And each serves a purpose. Each helps us understand that what God says is true. That He does not merely say a thing, He adds action to it… creating a manifestation of His words. Of promise!
Whatever God has planned and prepared for you, if you have not done so, you need to ask God to reveal them to you. You need to know that you know that EVERYTHING God says is true. You need to recognize your purpose. And you need to be able to stand firmly on the promises and will of God!
It is time to walk in Godly determination. It is time to seek Him and His will, and to find Him!
“So it is with your prayers. Ask and you’ll receive. Seek and you’ll discover. Knock on heaven’s door, and it will one day open for you…”—Luke 11:9-10 (TPT)