Thinking of Quitting?
I wish we could say Christians are immune to discouragement but we cannot. Good, faithful men and women suffer “low points” in their faith sometimes. Moses did (Num. 20:9-12). Elijah did (1 Kings 19). The great apostle Paul did on several occasions (Acts 18:9-10; 2 Cor. 1:8-9; 12:7-8). Yet the reason we remember them as “good faithful men” is because they did not quit even when they felt like it. Do you know how that feels? If so, I hope these three points help you.
There is much good in the world. Oh, how easy it is to develop a pessimistic and cynical disposition about life. True, there is much evil in the world, and most of it parades itself as good. The Bible acknowledges this without hesitation (1 John 5:19). Yet Christians are determined to set their minds on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and of good repute. “If there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Phil. 4:8). Difficult as though it may seem in a world saturated with violence, immorality, and religious error, we must choose to dwell on the good.
You may ask, “what good is there in the world today?” Plenty! Look into the eyes of a child, for instance, and see the innocence and humility of spirit we all are to imitate. Find the good in your brethren; observe and take consolation in those trying to do right. Amidst a time of grave religious peril, John rejoiced to hear of other disciples walking in the truth (3 John 4). Be refreshed by the kind words or actions of a fellow worker, as Paul was numerous times (1 Cor. 16:18; 2 Tim. 1:16; Philemon 7). Better yet, become a source of refreshment to someone else; perhaps we need to stop waiting for a blessing from others and instead be a blessing. Don’t despair—there is good if we choose to see it.
Jesus has not given up on you. Anytime we feel like quitting, consider how Jesus endured the cross with such faith and grace. It was not easy to hang for several hours while being crucified; Jesus despised the shame. But He endured “for the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). “For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:3). It may be that we have sacrificed a great deal for Him (Heb. 10:32-34), or that we have not suffered hardly at all (Heb. 12:4)—whatever the case, we have Jesus to look to as the author and finisher of our faith. If anyone can provide incentive to not give up, it’s Jesus.
Amazingly, Jesus has not given up on us even to this day, despite all our failures. He knew there was hope for Peter to repent and strengthen his brothers after he denied Jesus three times (Luke 22:31-32). In hindsight it must have been uplifting for Peter to remember Jesus’ words. Presently, Jesus continues as our great high priest who grants our petitions for help in times of weakness and need (Heb. 4:14-16). If you feel like giving up, Jesus is there reaching out his hand to provide the strength you need.
Your reward is worth too much to quit now. As I remember my parents encouraging me along as a young boy hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, “You’ve made it this far. Why give up now?” We are regularly reminded in Scripture of the reward awaiting us: “the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1:9), “the crown of righteousness” (2 Tim. 4:8), “the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14), “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1). The list goes on and on. Our gaze must be steadily concentrated on what lies ahead. We must deliberately refuse to get distracted or sidetracked by the allures of the world around us. Nothing is worth giving up the “surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7) which God eagerly waits to show us in the ages to come.
“Therefore, do no throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Heb. 10:35-36).