Quitting is a particularly difficult habit to break. Like most bad habits, once you’ve gotten used to the feeling, you become reliant on it. In this case, the feeling you get from throwing in the towel is temporary relief from pressure you face from a challenging situation. And if you’re like me, you find yourself in this predicament just about every day.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
James 1:2-4 (MSG)
It’s important that we do everything we can to resist the urge to quit on the challenges life throws at us every day if we want to grow. Fortunately for us, the Bible has plenty of of tools that teach us how not to quit. We’ll look at 3, because hey, this is the Internet and you have things to do.
1. Trust God, not yourself
Now that we have God’s approval by faith, we have peace with God because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done. Through Christ we can approach God and stand in his favor. So we brag because of our confidence that we will receive glory from God.
ROMANS 5:1-2 GW
The most unreliable and least stable person you can rely on is yourself. It may sound harsh, but think about it: how likely are we to be completely objective in any given circumstance? Most people quit on things (marriage, job, changing a life habit…you name it) because the only person they consulted was themselves. When you live in a vacuum, your opportunities and chances at success are exponentially limited.
Conversely, God is unchanging. He’s steadfast and unwavering, no matter the situation. He’s the kind of person you want in your corner when everything around you seems too difficult to bear.
Sometimes we just have to trust that someone’s got our back. When we feel the urge to raise the white flag, it’s crucial to remember that God is not only there, but interested. Interested in our feelings, and interested in the outcome of our situation. Things don’t always turn out the way we expect them to, but by not quitting on God and the ways that He wants us to live, we can at least be confident in the fact that we’ll be exactly where we need to be when it’s all said and done.
2. Trust your friends, not your feelings
Any temptation you face will be nothing new. But God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can handle. But He always provides a way of escape so that you will be able to endure and keep moving forward.
1 CORINTHIANS 10:13
When we’re faced with the choice of pushing through a challenging circumstance or quitting, nothing feels more right than our feelings. Our feelings are loud, and they grab our attention. Our feelings have a tendency to become so strong that they become real to us. We get so angry our bills that we’re convinced that we’ve been wrongly charged, and we refuse to continue paying them and balancing our budget in general. I know I’m not the only one who’s been here.
The Bible makes this point: nothing we go through is something someone else hasn’t already experienced in some capacity. Most of us, if we took the time to make a few phone calls, could very likely talk to someone who’s undergone a very similar circumstance as the one we’re currently in. Even if you have a friend who hasn’t experienced your exact situation right down to the last detail, they most likely can recall a scenario which illicited the same emotions.
I remember when my wife and I got into one of our first arguments. It was rough, and my feelings were telling me to quit…not on the relationship altogether, but quit trying to get resolved with her (this attitude would typically manifest in extra TV watching and avoidance). Very mature.
I eventually had a conversation with a friend who was also a rookie married man, who was able to share a similar argument he had with his wife. Our stories weren’t exactly the same, but in essence they were identical in that both of us had hurt our wives. Hearing his story of how he got himself out of his bad attitude challenged and inspired me to come to my senses and get resolved with my wife. Had I only had my feelings to consult, my marriage may have been damaged even more that day. He taught me how not to quit.
3. Trust the Bible, not your fantasies
The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin,which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
The Israelites are an amazing group of people to learn from. They were faced constantly with the threat of discouragement, fatigue, confusion, enemy attacks, and exhaustion. We tend to look down on them when we read about them in the Bible due to their seemingly persistent desire to rebel, but all things considered, it’s hard to imagine that we’d act any differently given the circumstances.
In this particular example, they had just left slavery in Egypt and were mid-exodus in the desert, and had begun grumbling against Moses and Aaron. Their minds started drifting to fantasy land…they actually started convincing themselves that their lives were better in Egypt, where they were enslaved for hundreds of years. It’s almost as if no one told them to read just a few chapters earlier!
At some point in time, every one of us need a reality check. Lucky for us, the Bible provides the cold splash of water to the face that we need in those moments:
Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
EXODUS 18:20, 23
The Bible is pretty amazing. It has answers for every situation we go through in life. For the Israelites, God’s solution was to provide them some written laws that would help them survive both spiritually and physically as they walked isolated in the desert. For us, it’s not all that different.
Today, if you’re thinking of calling it quits on something, ask yourself this question: have you sold yourself on a fantasy? Have you convinced yourself that the scenario is worse than it really is?
I used to work an office job, and like most corporate American workers, I often hated working under my boss. I would find ways to convince myself that my mediocre job performance review was completely unjustified and unfair. I even went so far as to start looking for other jobs, because clearly I had been wronged…right?
It only took a few handy scriptures from a friend before I realized that I should probably stop and take a look at my actual work effort and conduct before I took the convenient route of blaming my boss. That was a reality check that I desperately needed.
What ares in your life do you feel most tempted to quit in? Take a few minutes and do some honest reflection, and then give these three things a try.