Everyone has opportunities to give up on things in life. There’s a constant barrage of distractions and feelings of inconvenience that make us want to mail it in and say, “no more.” Have you ever quit on something? What feels so right to do immediately becomes a source of great pain and embarrassment. I dropped out of a marathon one time and it was a terrible experience. For one thing, I had no justification for trying to do three marathons in six weeks. Since this was the third, I was feeling tired before I started. To make matters worse, I preached special meetings all week in a church in the area where the marathon was to be held, so I was not rested for the event. As we began the event I saw many of my friends and tried my best to keep up with them for the first seven miles of the race; however, the course was a figure eight where you did an eight-mile loop then an eighteen-mile loop to complete the course. The problem for those who were contemplating dropping out was the fact that you went by the start/finish line after the first loop. Somehow, I allowed myself to talk myself into dropping out. It seemed like such the right thing to do as I mulled it over while running mile eight. However, as I made the move and turned in my timing chip, I lived to regret it.
Things that are worthwhile are worth pressing on to accomplish. The Bible is full of examples of people who celebrated for the way they persevered, Jesus being the greatest example.
Hebrews 12:1–3 (ESV) — 1 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, 2 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. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Matthew 26:53–54 (ESV) — 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”
Jesus never gave into the tormenting of the religious leaders. He knew what He was to accomplish and when His time was, so He didn’t pull the plug and fight. Remember that Jesus said He could call legions of angels, yet He submitted to the kangaroo court and the false accusations that took Him to the cross where He would accomplish atonement for our sin.
Notice the words in Hebrews 12 that give the key to never giving up; “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.”
How do you think Jesus felt when He said at the end of the cross, It is finished?
How do you think Jesus felt when He showed Himself to His disciples after the resurrection? How do you think Jesus felt when He took His place at the right hand of the Father having accomplished all that He set out to do? How do you think Jesus is going to feel when He presents His entire bride without spot to the Father?
He kept His eye on the prize therefore it says he “despised the shame of the cross” and “he endured…”
Enduring means you never give a thought to dropping out or quitting. It means when you take a job you persevere, when you agree to a covenant such as marriage or church membership you bear whatever you need to. When things get uncomfortable you just keep on going and never give up.
We are surrounded by a “softy mentality” which says to give up whenever things get uncomfortable. Can you imagine how little would have been accomplished if people in the past lived like that? Thankfully, Jesus has given us the best example of endurance and God has given us others in His word to consider.
James 5:10–11 (ESV) — 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Next time you want to give up and quit at something, I’d suggest picking up God’s word and studying how God shows His delight when His people endure and press on. Whether it be through sickness, a tough job, a weight loss program, exercise, or serving God – no matter what you find yourself doing, you’ll be much better if you NEVER GIVE UP.