By Anne Peterson, Crosswalk.com
We live in a day where commitment is not valued. If things get too hard, you can always give up. If you’re not enjoying something, just find something else.
But we don’t have to follow the world’s views. God tells us in Romans 12:2, we should not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The only way that can happen is if we saturate ourselves in God’s Word.
Is God ever okay with us quitting or giving up? Maybe if we look at what God says about commitment, we’ll have our answer. And looking at examples in Scripture will give us clarity.
God Fulfilled Promises through Abraham
In Genesis 17:5, God promises that he will make Abraham the father of many nations. Abraham struggled believing this because he looked at things as they were. He and Sarah were past the years of childbearing. But even though Abraham doubted what God said, and eventually took matters into his own hands, God still fulfilled his promise.
God gave Abraham grace instead of saying to him, “Fine, you didn’t wait, so I’m not going to fulfill what I said.”
Joseph Remained Faithful
In the life of Joseph (Genesis 37-47) we see someone who was mistreated again and again. Joseph was thrown in a pit by his brothers, left for dead. Later, he was wrongfully accused by his master’s wife, and thrown in prison.
Year after year, Joseph spent his days behind bars, but his attitude remained good and God honored that. We see Joseph’s steadfastness when he interpreted the dreams of others who promised to put in a good word when they left prison. But they forgot for years. And still Joseph’s attitude remained good.
In the end, Joseph came face-to-face with his family who had mistreated him. Would he retaliate? No. Joseph chose forgiveness and grace.
Joseph never gave up his faith. He didn’t quit and become bitter. And God worked all things together for good, just as he promises he’ll do for us in Romans 8:28.
David Trusted God
David is referred to as a man after God’s own heart. When no one would stand up to the giant Philistine, Goliath, David came forward (1 Samuel 17:34-40). When Saul wanted to clothe David in the traditional armor, to face Goliath, David declined. David was not trusting in his own strength, he was trusting in God—the same God who was with David when he fought a lion and a bear. David continually remembered God’s strength and God’s faithfulness.
David was steadfast in his battle with Goliath, although imperfect throughout his life. Steadfast is defined as being resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering. In 1 Corinthians 15:58, Paul exhorts us to be steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in God’s work. And he further explains what we do will not be in vain.
Jesus Exemplifies Commitment
Of anyone we can read about in scripture, God’s own Son, Jesus was committed. In Matthew 4:1-11 the devil tries to tempt Jesus, but finds him steadfast. Although Jesus was at his weakest Jesus did not give in. Jesus kept responding using only God’s Word, “It is written.” If God’s own Son relied wholly on God’s written Word, how can we go to anything else?
All throughout Jesus’ ministry he could have quit. In the garden, facing what was to come, Jesus sweated drops of blood. And Jesus’ prayer to his Father in Matthew 26:39, was, “If there is any other way, let this cup…” but ended with, “…not my will but yours be done.”
In Hebrews 12:2, it says, “Jesus, for the joy set before him, endured the cross despising the shame.” Commitment isn’t easy. Jesus endured the most cruel, painful death there was. But because he was committed to the Father, and because Jesus loved us, he followed through. We were the joy that was set before him! And when Jesus said, in John 19:30, “It is finished,” we see that he truly was not a quitter.
Who Wants Us to Quit?
The enemy of our souls was once named Lucifer. But being the head of worship and the most beautiful angel was not enough for him. He wanted to be higher than God. Isaiah 14:12. So God cast him out of heaven and he took 1/3 of the angels with him. Those angels are known as demons.
Satan cannot stop those who have accepted Christ from going to heaven. So instead, he tries to convince us that God doesn’t mean what he says in the Bible.
When we get discouraged and think of quitting, we are not listening to what God says, but instead we are believing the lies of Satan. Lies like these:
God doesn’t care about you, if he did, why did God let this happen to you?
Maybe God cared about you before, but he’s done with you.
If God cares about you, why did your loved one die?
God is tired of answering your prayers.
God has left you.
Little by little, Satan’s words erode our confidence in God, until his lies feel true. Instead of believing we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, Philippians 4:13, we start thinking maybe the Lord is tired of answering our prayers.
Hold on to Truth
In severe trials, we will be tempted to quit. We need to remember Isaiah 55:8-9. God’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts. God is infinite, we are finite. This is where faith comes in.
We need to exercise that muscle. We need to remember things God has done for us in the past and remember that God is immutable, which means he doesn’t change. Malachi 3:6. We have no way of knowing how close we may be to seeing the answer to our prayers. God wants us to hang on to what is true—His Word.
My sister, Peggy disappeared in 1982. I still have stacks of spiral notebooks where Peggy is at the top of each prayer list. That prayer request was even written on a small piece of paper I tucked into the wall in Israel when we went there.
Her missing person case was changed to a possible homicide and we went to court, 22 years after Peggy disappeared. But we still have unanswered questions. Her husband was found not guilty. We never recovered her body. But I trust God will tell us what he wants us to know, in his timing. When we get weary, God renews our strength (Isaiah 40:31).
I’m not just telling you to “hang on,” something the world says. I want you to hang on to the truth. God will direct our paths. He has not forsaken you. He’s always there.
Ask Him for the next steps that are in His will. Then trust His voice with steadfast assurance. Stay the course that the Holy Spirit is guiding you on, and even if that means letting go of something, never quit staying close in prayer with God.
Anne Peterson knows what it’s like to feel like giving up. Anne is a regular contributor to Crosswalk and a poet, speaker and published author of 15 books.One of her books: Broken: A Story of Abuse, Survival, and Hope. Sign up for anne’s newsletter at www.annepeterson.comand click on free Ebooks to choose one.Connect with Anne on Facebook. Follow her, and you’ll hear about her latest book, Always There: Finding God’s Comfort Through Loss.
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