The Temptation to Quit

The Temptation to Quit

Last week we defined temptation as a strong desire for a wrongful pleasure that offers a temporary escape from an agonizing emotion. That wrongful pleasure can be overeating, sexual immorality, drug and alcohol abuse, video games, or any other thing. Another way we temporarily escape a frustrating situation is to prematurely and selfishly quit.

I suppose all of us at some time or another have been frustrated, discouraged, and tempted to quit. We tried hard, but we didn’t immediately get the results we expected. Therefore, we declared, “I tried that, but it didn’t work. I quit!”

The temptation to quit affects us in the Church. We witness, teach, and preach, and it seems no one’s life is changed. As a result, we are tempted to quit sharing the Gospel, quit teaching a class, quit preaching, and perhaps quit attending church entirely.

Everyone that has ever attempted to faithfully serve the Lord and live a life that honors Christ has encountered frequent oppositions, disappointments, and discouragements. These can become so severe and prolonged that the temptation to quit seems like the easiest course to take.

As the Lord’s coming draws nearer, it is going to become even more difficult to live the Christian Life. The wicked will seem to prosper and persecution against the righteous will increase. Instead of quitting, we need to prepare ourselves, encourage one another, and continue in the work of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

When people you love leave the fellowship or go to another church, it is very discouraging. You wonder how you failed them and what you should have done differently. The tempter tells you that you caused them to leave, and you should quit before you drive anyone else away. But God’s Word reminds us of Jesus’s experience. Thousands of followers left Him when He preached a difficult message to understand. And He was left with just 12 disciples.

John 6:66-69 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

The Word of God tells us that many will quit and leave the fellowship in the last days. Therefore, we need to expect it, prepare for it, and not be overcome with discouragement. We need to remain faithful to our Lord and persist in sharing the whole Word of God until Jesus comes.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Another area of life where we are tempted to quit is in our marriages. At the first sign of difficulty or disappointment, many are tempted to escape by ending the relationship. Their vows before God and man mean little to them. Selfishness has overcome them and they continue to commit one sin after another against each other. If they prematurely quit on the marriage, they may escape temporarily from the difficulty but they will take the consequences and their personal problems with them.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:31-32 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Today, people think they can escape the sin of adultery by living together without getting married. Since they are not married, they reason that they can have other relationships and leave the one they are living with without being guilty of adultery. They are wrong. In God’s eyes, the day you sexually consummate a relationship with someone is the day you married them. Multiple partners outside of marriage is committing the sins of fornication and adultery.

1 Corinthians 6:16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”

Therefore, if you have ever experienced a divorce or sex outside of marriage, you need tell God that your rules for sexual conduct were wrong and ask for His forgiveness. He is faithful and just to forgive your sin and will cleanse you of all unrighteousness.

No one knows on the day of their marriage what the future may hold, but each should know, regardless of what they encounter, that they are committed and will not quit.

Many times the world tells the Church that it must quit bringing our Faith and the Gospel into politics, education, entertainment, science, and the work place. But the Lord Jesus, who is the Creator and Owner of the Universe, has both commanded and commissioned His Church to take the Gospel everywhere.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Therefore, by the authority of Jesus Christ, no place can be off limits to the Church. We must say to a rebellious world the same words as Peter and John spoke to their opposition.

Acts 4:20For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”

Jesus commands us to share the Gospel to everyone, every day, everywhere we go. The opposition, the devil, and our flesh will tempt us to quit sharing, be quiet, and enjoy a worldly life. But we must remember: thousands die and slip into Hell each and every day. We must reach them with the Gospel before death does.

So, don’t quit. Be persistent in your place of ministry. Keep on, in spite of your feelings or frustrations. Keep on, even though you are forgotten, as was Joseph. Keep on, even though you are forsaken, as was Jesus. Keep on, even though you have failed, as did Peter. Keep on, in spite of fears and foes, as did Paul. Keep on, through all the pain, knowing your labor is not in vain!

Trying times are not the time to quit trying! Those times, when you feel like quitting, can be times of great opportunity, if you take our eyes off of ourselves and look at others.

Pam Kumpe had this encouragement yesterday, “We wait for the winds of change to ease our suffering. We wait for a sense of peace. We wait for joy. We wait for hope. We wait. But even as we wait, may we live in the presence of the present gift of today; the day the Lord has given us.

“You can help someone who is waiting for the rain of doubt to leave. You can offer peace to someone who struggles to find calm in the storm. You can be a joy-giver to the one who is waiting for hope to return, when time stops and tragedy hits hard.

“Be the person you long to see. Be the one who rises up, for there’s someone who needs the power of your friendship and the strength of your presence. You can bring the change you wish to see, for you possess the ability to make a difference now.

“So don’t wait. This is your season, be it hard, or long, or cold, or filled with trouble. For you serve Christ, and He is the miracle worker and the One who is giving you the breath in your lungs. Go and whisper hope in a heart today—for if you wait, you miss a chance to shine like Christ. To be a light. To witness the beauty of today.

“And yes, there’s a place to wait—and be still before the Lord. But when He sends you to the forest of faces today, I must ask, who will need the embrace of hope you can bring? That’s right, go breathe life into someone today! Life that’s found in Christ!”

I find that encouraging. It tells me to take my focus off of me and place it on Christ and other people. Don’t quit. Be Christ’s ambassador now!

Remember, in addition to one-on-one evangelizing, don’t quit praying, teaching, and preaching. There are many ways to spread the Gospel. Besides the various media choices that require a lot of money and effort, we can individually reach people all over the world from our living room by the internet at very little cost.

Nevertheless, living daily as a disciple of Jesus, is not easy in this world. Some days we need God’s help just to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Some days we need God’s help to keep praying, keep standing, and keep working. Some days we feel like the only success was that we didn’t quit. Perhaps this morning you are tempted to escape a trial by quitting and you need some encouragement to persevere.

Remember, Psalm 46:1-2 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

Don’t focus on your situation and don’t focus on what you see. Trust God and focus on Him. He alone is our refuge and our strength. Every trial and tribulation we go through in this life has a reason, a purpose, can make us stronger in our faith, and draw us closer to God.

So quit thinking about quitting, because quitting is not a good option. As Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go?”

Instead of thinking about quitting, think on the Word of God. For example:

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Deuteronomy 3:16, “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3, “But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

If you are in Christ this morning, if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have been adopted into God’s family, you are a child of God. God will not abandon His children. Ask your Father to help you trust Him. Ask Him for more faith and for the Holy Spirit. Speak to Him in prayer, read His Word, listen to the Holy Spirit, trust God’s promises, trust His grace, and don’t quit regardless of the severity of your trial.

Jesus warned us that there would be trials and tribulations in this world and He encouraged us to endure.

John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Mark 13:13, “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

I repeat, the Christian life, living daily as a disciple of Jesus, is not the easy option, but the consequences of quitting are worse.

Hebrews 3:12-14 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart, that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.

Christians need to recognize that the world is a battleground, not a playground. God does not leave us defenseless in this war. We can draw on His power and grace to overcome. As long as you are in the battle against the enemy, you are not a captive of Satan.

Romans 8:37 says, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

The challenge for us is to keep on keeping on. When discouragement presses in, we need to persevere and focus on Jesus instead of our trials or our results. In Christ, we are called not to be quitters; we are called to be overcomers; we are called to be victorious.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Victory doesn’t always look how we thought it would. The cross certainly did not look like a victory. It looked like a defeat and a hopeless situation. Sometimes the victory is the seed that falls to the ground and dies for a new life to be born.

Have you died to your old life of sin and unbelief in order to be born again of God? The victory and blessings of God are only for His children, the ones who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. If you believe this, put your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation by repenting of sin and giving your life to Him through baptism. Then you will be born again of Holy Spirit of God, who will empower you to be a witness for Christ and give you power to overcome the world, the devil, and your flesh. Then you will have power not to quit. And as God’s child, you will have His grace to persevere until Jesus comes again.

   March 2019   
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