During his sophomore year of high school, he didn't make the varsity team. A classmate by the name of Leroy Smith (who never made it to the NBA) beat out Michael for the only sophomore spot on the varsity squad. Of course, it is understandable why this happened--Jordan wasn't even 6 feet tall at the time and Smith was 6'7"! Jordan settled for the junior varsity team and did not sulk. According to his coach, this minor setback motivated Michael to work even harder at improving his game. Michael's determination to succeed propelled him from being a good player to becoming one of the best ever.
But, enough about Michael Jordan's determination--what about yours? Do you have the determination to succeed? You could likely achieve worldly honors--if you were determined to do such. You could likely become wealthy--if you were determined to do such. Again, true determination knows few limits. If a person really desires something badly enough, and if they are willing to make sacrifices by putting in the necessary time and effort, they can reach their goal (whatever it may be).
But, that raises the question for Christians, what should we focus our determination upon? I believe we should pour our lives into the pursuit of spiritual goals (e.g., storing up treasures in heaven, seeking the lost, letting our lights shine to God's glory, etc.). That's not to say that setting physical goals is wrong or to be avoided. The point is that a Christian's determination should not revolve around the temporal things of this life--the things that really don't matter in the big picture.
Colossians 3:1,2 addresses this point - "If then you were raised with Christ [out of the waters of baptism to walk in newness of life, SRB], seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." Is it not clear where our determination should be focused?
Hebrews 12:1,2 states - "...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." The spiritually determined individual will live for the Lord and never quit. He will remain focused on Jesus Christ no matter what.
Also, reflect upon Paul's encouraging words in Philippians 4:13 - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Paul was certainly a determined individual. He has set forth a wonderful example for us.
Should we pour our lives into the pursuit of physical goals, putting such ahead of our dedication to the Lord and His kingdom? Absolutely not! God wants us to be committed to His cause. He wants us to be motivated, "steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord" (I Cor. 15:58). He wants us to be determined like His servants of old were (cf. Heb. 11). He wants us to live our lives for Him--that is, determined to seek His will accomplished in our lives no matter what. To achieve this goal, much time and effort will have to be invested. Sacrifices will have to be made. When challenges arise, we will be tempted to give up and quit. But, we must press on! "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart" (Gal. 6:9).
Friends, I'll leave you with this question: If God evaluated your life today, specifically your determination to serve Him at any cost, would He be pleased or disappointed?