The Bible tells us that the double-minded man is unstable in all his ways and will not receive what he asks God (James 1:7-8). This suggests, therefore, that single-mindedness is a worthy pursuit. But what is single-minded determination and how does it translate into getting what you want?
What is Single-Minded Determination?
Single-mindedness is the pursuit of your goals to the exclusion of all else. Some definitions say “to the detriment” of everything else. Is this what God means when He asks us to be single-minded? Why does God want that level of single-minded determination from His people?
Characteristics of a Single-Minded Person
A single-minded person has a goal. They can clearly see it and have visualized themselves claiming it. They will not allow anything or anyone to get in the way of that goal. They are actively working to achieve their goals. When not tempered by godliness, single-mindedness can look a lot like selfishness.
But when single-mindedness becomes God-centered, it becomes commitment. It signifies one person’s determination to do what God says regardless of the cost. It looks more like Noah’s obedience (Genesis 6-9) and less like Saul’s determination to do what he wanted (1 Samuel 15).
How to be Single-Minded and Please God
To please God with our single-minded determination is to focus solely on pleasing Him and doing as He commands. When we are soul-out for Jesus, we are willing to put our personal agenda aside and focus on doing what God wants. It means we no longer live to please ourselves or live by the whims and fancies of this world.
Like Abraham, we should look ahead to the next life and claiming our place in the city with a foundation whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10). The person who is single-minded for God recognizes that they have to give up their desires for His, only then will they truly receive everything they want.
When Single-Minded Determination Fails
What happens when despite all your efforts…all your single-mindedness…you don’t get what you want? What then? How we behave when we can’t have our way has a lot to say about our characters. Do we act like a petulant child? Or, do we go back to the drawing board and make a new plan…maybe accepting that what we wanted is not the best thing for us at that moment.
How we behave when we can’t have our way is an opportunity to be a witness for God. Our actions depict if God is truly Lord of our lives…or if our single-minded determination is.
When Stubbornness Fails: Forever, Lately Review
Forever, Lately, a new book by Linore Rose Burkard gave me a glimpse of how single-mindedness could be bad. Clarissa Andrews, the antagonist in Forever, Lately, had all the signs of a single-minded person. Her pursuit of Julian St. John had neither rhyme nor reason and she would stop at nothing to make him hers. Enter Claire Channing and things got a lot more interesting, fast!
I love time travel romance especially when both characters get to experience a new time (especially if one character thought the other one was loco and finally learned the truth). But it’s hard to find time travel romances that don’t have an element of darkness. The last time travel romance I tried to read I ended up burning the book because the character made a deal with the devil. Even before my conversion, I knew that was wrong.
Forever, Lately uses the unlikely catalyst of a prayer shawl to transport people through time. Ms. Burkard’s tale of an author transported into the world of her fictional characters was a delight to read. There were a lot of scenes with her sitting in his lap which was not quite kosher for a sweet regency. However, there were no explicit references to sex which made it possible to overlook.
Know God—There weren’t a lot of religious elements in this book save that St. Joh had become “a man of religion” and was now a reformed rake. We see a glimpse of the “old Julian” and a glimmer of what God can do when we take on His image. He changes the old man into a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Know yourself—Claire made several discoveries about herself while she was in the regency world. Our environment can impact our behavior but if we know who we are at the core, then we’ll behave in a manner consistent with our identity in Christ.
Run your race—All three characters had to learn how to run the race set before them even though at times it wasn’t necessarily what they wanted. They showed us that though life may not turn out how we expected it, we have to willing to make the best of the situations we find ourselves in.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and had several laugh-out-loud moments as I got caught up in the drama of Claire, Clarissa, and Julian. The characters were vibrant and drew me in from the first line. I received an electronic advanced reader copy from Celebrate Lit; a positive review was not required. Have you read Forever, Lately? Get your copy today.
About Forever, Lately
Book: Forever, Lately
Author: Linore Rose Burkard
Genre: Time-Travel Romance
Publisher: Lilliput Press
Release Date: September 2019
Julian St. John needs a wife–and fast. An oath to his deceased guardian must be kept. Miss Clarissa Andrews, a vexatious beauty, has dangled after him all season but he has no intention of choosing such a she-devil.
Maine, present day
Author Claire Channing needs to write a bestselling book to salvage a failing career. She moves to her grandmother’s rustic cottage, but without the deed, the clock is ticking on how long she can stay. She thinks she’s writing St. John’s story, until an old prayer shawl with embroidered lovebirds transports her to his Regency world! She falls in love with him–a man she thought she created. But a jealous Miss Andrews would rather see Julian dead than in another woman’s arms!
Claire and St. John must beat the clock to prevent a deadly tragedy, but can love endure past the limits of time?
About Linore Rose Burkard
Linore Rose Burkard wrote a trilogy of genuine regency romances for the Christian market before there were any regencies for the Christian market. Published with Harvest House, her books opened the genre for the CBA. She also writes YA Suspense/Apocalyptic fiction as L.R. Burkard.
Married with five children, Linore home-schools her youngest daughter, teaches workshops for writers and is the Vice President of the Dayton Christian Scribes. Her latest Pulse Effex Series takes readers into a “chilling possible future for America while affirming the power of faith in the darkest of times.”
Bible Verses on Single-mindedness
With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments (Psalm 119:10 NASB).
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, (Philippians 3:13 NASB).
But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62 NASB).
‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13 NASB).
“And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them” (Jeremiah 32:39 NASB).
Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose (Philippians 2:2 NASB).
“But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29 NASB).
Is Single-mindedness Bad?
If you are someone who gets totally focused on one thing to the exclusion of all else you may wonder if single-mindedness is bad. My answer to you is that it depends on how you use it. If your determination to achieve your goals looks like a single-minded pursuit of your own desires regardless of what other people want or who gets hurt, then you need to make changes in your life lest, like Clarissa, you destroy the very thing you’re seeking.
If on the other hand, it looks like single-minded obedience of what God has called you to do, then, by all means, carry on. Take comfort from biblical role models such as Noah who did what God called him to do in spite of the obstacles and the impossibility of the task at hand.
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