Relentless Determination

327I will thank You, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.  I will be filled with joy because of You.  I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.  – Psalm 9:1-2

I like movies.  Of course, we like to watch the really good movies, but sometimes it’s fun to watch a movie that is known for some really good cheese too.  I think that Independence Day was one of those movies.  It had some amazing special effects, but there was a lot of cheesy scenes in it too with corny dialogue and over the top theatrics.

One scene in the movie was different though.  When the President gives his speech just before the world goes out on an attack against the aliens, he gives a speech that actually roused the spirit.  I’ve never thought of Bill Pullman as an actor that could pull off that kind of clout, but in this scene he did.  When he stood in front of those pilots he gave them a challenge.  They faced a seemingly undefeatable foe, but even in the face impending destruction, he was encouraging something in them:

A relentless spirit.

They would not go quietly into that dark night.  They would fight, and they would keep fighting as long as there was breath in their bodies.  There was a spirit of unyielding desire for victory in that speech, and I know that even though the movie was far-fetched, that speech spoke to the heart of every man that watched it.

Several thousand years ago another speech was made by a young man in the face of an unbeatable opponent.  A giant of a man whose size, voice, and reputation made the entire army of Israel tremble before him.  There was no one willing to go out against him.  Then a young boy named David came to the battlefield to bring supplies to his brothers.  When he saw Goliath mocking the people of Israel he spoke out and asked why they were not fighting.  Eventually he was brought before King Saul:

David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine. Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the LORD be with you.”

– 1 Samuel 17:32-37

David stood in complete and total confidence in the God of Israel.  There was no option other than forward.  There was no thought of defeat.  That is a relentless attitude.  That is an attitude born out of dependence on God’s ability rather than his own.

I am sure that over the years as David watched his father’s sheep he lost sheep to bears and lions.  It would be foolish to think that it never happened, but that did not change the fact that David knew His God had put an opportunity to show the glory of God working through one of His own, and he was going to do it.

Some say that David took extra stones in case he missed with the first one.  Others say that it was because Goliath had brothers that would possible come to his aid.  I wonder if David had wondered if he would have the chance to get a few more after he dropped Goliath.

One of my commentaries says that the verses at the beginning of this post were written after David defeated Goliath.  He wrote them in praise to God for giving him that victory.  The commentary goes on to say that he was also speaking of his resolve to continue in that spirit of following God and ultimately praising God for Christ’s victory over Satan.  Both are possible.  David was not only a king and song writer, he also spoke prophecy in several of his Psalms.

When I look at these verses I see something else.  An affirmation.

If you’re my age, just hearing the word “affirmation” takes you back to Saturday Night Live and Stuart Smalley as he sat in front of his mirror saying, “I’m smart enough, I’m good enough. And doggone it, people like me!”  (Anybody else remember those pastel sweaters?) Just about the only thing Al Franken ever did that made me laugh.  Anyway, I digress.

I’m trying to live my life in relentless pursuit of God.  I want to grow closer to Him, to know more about Him, to see others come to know Him!  I want His teaching to permeate my marriage, my parenting, and my relationships!  At the end of my life, I want people to remember not me, but the things that God did through me.  I want to leave a legacy that resulted in others adopting the same pursuit of a relentless desire for God.

Just as I am sure that David walked home dejected a time or two after losing a lamb, I am going to have moments where I feel like a failure.  I’m only human, born to make mistakes. (Two thousand points to those who got that.)  What made the difference for David is that the next day; David got up and went back out with the sheep again.  I will need to go back to the point of my failure and face it with God’s help.  Be honest. Learn from the mistake. Reject the lie that Satan will use to try to keep me there. Press on, wiser, and stronger with God’s grace strengthening me.  That is a relentless attitude.

There is an old Japanese proverb that says, “Fall seven times. Get up eight times.”  With God’s help that is possible.

So, back to the affirmation.  (Yes, I rabbit trail sometimes.  Stick with me. I get back to the topic.) This morning I made a little poster and put it beside my desk where I will see it every day at work.  I took those two verses (Psalm 9:1-2) and changed them just a little.  I want to read these verses every day, not as a little mantra to make myself feel good, but as a battle cry.  Every day of my life brings spiritual warfare, and some days I do better than others.  I see that many of the days that I fail are the days that I am not focused on God.

So, this is my battle cry:

  • This day, I will thank You, Lord, with all my heart for what You have done for me.
  • This day, I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done.
  • This day, I will be filled with joy because of You.
  • This day, I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.

My focus is not on tomorrow.  His grace is for today.  My strength is not a factor. I can do all things through Him.  My emotions will not control me. God has put joy in my heart.

There will always be obstacles and challenges in our paths, but we do not have to admit defeat.  Be relentless in life! Live a life of purpose that brings glory to God.  Commit yourself to growth in Him.  I won’t promise it will be easy, but I will promise that you will never be alone!

I welcome your thoughts!  Feel free to comment below and let me know if this was an encouragement to you.

In HIS Grip,


Author: Tom Tanner

I'm a follower of Christ, husband, and father. Over the last few years I have been learning how to dig deeper into God's Word and letting it influence more of my life. As I learn, try, fail, and repeat in this process I am seeing God's hand more and more in my life and that of my family as well. This journey is long, hard, and at times a little lonely, but living a Relentless life for Christ has rewards that reach beyond me and my family. My prayer is that it brings God glory and leaves a legacy that will show His influence in my life.

I would love to hear your comments here or e-mail them privately to

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