Quit - The End of Hope

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 30, 2013 0 comments

This week’s word “quit” can be looked at two different ways. On the one hand, as Monday’s blog by Katie pointed out, there are activities or bad habits that we can all see in our lives that we need to try to quit. Depending on how long we’ve had the habits or the strength of the grip that they have on us, quitting may be extremely difficult and even impossible apart from God’s strength. Regarding these bad habits, quitting is considered something positive. But on the other hand, quitting can also have a negative connotation. When we invest time, effort, money, and relationships in something that all of a sudden becomes difficult, our natural tendency is to want to take the easy way out and throw in the towel.

Growing up in my family, the word “quit” was definitely seen as something negative. My brother and I constantly began new organized sports or other activities. When my parents had invested time and money and we all of a sudden wanted to give up because of something we didn’t like, my dad would talk to us about the importance of persevering and make us think about the consequences of quitting. In most cases, we would not be allowed to quit something we started. One of the pictures we had in our house growing up that sticks in my mind even today was of a frog and some kind of water bird that was much bigger. In the picture, the bird was eating the frog as prey and the frog was half-way into the mouth of the bird. However, even with his head and top part of his body already being swallowed by the bird, the frog’s arms were squarely around the neck of the bird attempting to strangle it. The caption for the picture was “Don’t Ever Give Up”, because the frog was demonstrating a refusal to quit even in bleak circumstances.

The idea of refusing to quit or give up the fight is consistent throughout Scripture, especially in the New Testament. In Revelation 2 and 3, the Apostle John writes letters to seven different churches, which actually means he was writing to groups of Christians in seven different cities. The letters were written at a time when all Christians, because they were ruled by the Roman Empire, were facing intense persecution. John himself was imprisoned in exile on the island of Patmos for sharing Jesus (Revelation 1:9). In each letter, John talks about the persecution the specific believers in that city are facing, their good deeds and evil deeds, and the need to keep the faith and stay the course until Christ returns. At the end of each letter, John promises a reward “to him who overcomes”. You can read it for yourself in those chapters, but I will tell you that each promised reward is a different picture of what the believer will receive in heaven with God. The promise is supposed to give the believer hope, which should motivate him not to quit.

So, what did the believers have to overcome? Well, I already told you they were facing intense persecution from their own government. But I submit to you that it was something more than that, something that even you and I have to overcome today. I’m talking about the temptation to buy into the lie that our faith is meaningless, to “quit” the faith and end all hope in God’s promises because of the present difficult circumstances. See, you and I might not be presently dealing with the physical persecution that so many believers in history have suffered. But we do have trouble in this world, guaranteed to us by Jesus himself (John 16:33). While the level of suffering may not appear to be as high as what the early Christians endured, the temptation to give up is just as available to us. I encourage you to read those words to the Christians in those seven cities, to put yourself and your specific trials in the story, and to believe the promises “to him who overcomes”.

The challenge for us is to not quit, and to instead learn to see our troubles as opportunities. The Apostle Paul talks about rejoicing in hope in his letter to the Romans, but adds something unexpected. “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5). Friends, the key to the whole progression is perseverance, which is the opposite of quitting. We have no control over whether we will face sufferings. We will. It’s a promise! But so is hope, if we don’t give up. Only through some type of suffering can one persevere. You don’t “persevere” through easy times. Of the four things mentioned in those verses, perseverance is the only thing you can choose. I already said we can’t control suffering, and character and hope only happen as a natural result of choosing to persevere rather than quit. Let’s face it, we all want hope. When things seem to be going downhill fast in our personal lives and all around us, we desperately need something to hope in. These Scriptures make it clear that the road to hope begins with a choice in the midst of suffering. Though it may seem easiest and most comfortable, don’t quit. You will experience the peace, joy, and hope in the midst of trials that can only come through the Holy Spirit!