Giving up is easy. Whether it is something as small as cooking a difficult recipe or a workout program, or something as big as a marriage or a job, quitting is easy. As a kid growing up my late father used to say, “Can’t Never Could” as a response to me or anyone else saying the forbidden word “can’t” around him. It was his way of saying, “Never Give Up”, or in biblical terms, “Run the Race”.
Fight The Good Fight
What was Paul talking about in 2nd Timothy 4:7? It states, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith“. The “Good Fight” was the work in spreading the gospel and good news of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Paul’s beginnings before becoming a Christian were harrowing.
He actually persecuted and killed Christians himself. Once becoming a Christian, he was not only ridiculed for being a Christian, but was also chastised by Christians for his previous behavior. Yet through it all, he never gave up and he continued to fight the good fight for his new-found faith until the day he died.
The testing of our faith through suffering builds endurance. In 1st Peter 1:7, it states “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world“.
As Christians, we will be tested. We will be ridiculed. We will suffer for our beliefs and our faith. But if we fight the good fight and finish the race strong, Gods waiting rewards are well worth the temporary pain here on earth.
NEVER Give Up
Have you ever considered that quitting in of itself is not biblical? All things considered of course, unless we are talking about a sinful action, God does not like quitters. Think about the following for a minute:
- Consider the apostle Paul, arguably the most influential figure in shaping the New Testament as we know it. What if he would have just given up?
- Abraham Lincoln took on a task of ending slavery that ultimately ended in his own life being taken. But was ending slavery the right thing to do? Of course it was. What if he had just given up? Consider this about Lincoln. As a young 23-year old Lincoln lost his job. He was also running for state legislature when he lost his job and he also lost that bid for State Legislature. At 26 years old Lincolns first love, Ann Rutledge died. A few years later he lost his attempt to become speaker in the Illinois House of Representatives. In 1848, in hopes of becoming the Commissioner of the General Land office in Washington D.C. he failed once again. When he was 49, he lost in an election to become a U.S. Senator. A few years later at 51, he was elected President of The United States. That’s almost 30 years of failures. But did he give up? No.
- Henry Ford, the icon of the modern day Ford Motor company did not have it so easy in his start either. Ford founded the Detroit Automobile Company which failed in 1901 after his inability to pay back a loan. The vehicle he had designed associated with the company was very inefficient and thus the company stopped all operations. Ford convinced one of his partners to give him a last chance but after disagreements, this company too ended in failure. Ford never gave up and today is one of the leading auto manufacturers in the world.
- Jesus Christ. In Luke 22:42, while facing imminent ridicule, torture and death, and knowing it, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done”. But note the end of that prayer that Jesus also stated for God’s will to be done, not his own. Ultimately, God’s will was done, Jesus, the son of God, was ridiculed, beaten, tortured, and hung on a cross to die. What if He had given up?
Galatians 6:9 states, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up”.
Suffering Strengthens Us
Romans 5:3-5 states, “……..but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Abraham Lincoln endured a painful and distraught marriage to Mary Todd. During their marriage, it was noted that Mary Todd relentless complained, she outspent their budget frequently and mistreated servants. Their marriage was a painful one. In looking at historical photos of President Lincoln, a repeated look of somberness and distress are revealed. Was this the effects of the Civil War or of his marriage, or both? Whatever the case, he and Mary continued their marriage and endured the pain.
Throughout the presidency of Lincoln, his time in office suffered and endured the most troubling time in our nations history. Through the trials of the Civil War, he led the country and his administration effectively. One historical review of his time in the White House states, “Over the slow fires of misery that he learned to keep banked and under heavy pressure deep within him, his innate qualities of patience, tolerance, forbearance, and forgiveness were tempered and refined.” Was is the endurance of an extremely difficult marriage that helped him to lead our country during this difficult time? Likely so.
1st Peter 4:1, tells us, “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.” By suffering in our earthly body, we gain strength to persevere and be “done” with sin. That is strength through suffering.
In John 16:33, Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have may trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world”.
Quitting is Easy – Excuses are Many
Quitting is easy. Anyone can give up, move on, take the easy route, etc. Everyone can likely find a topic of some sort, a feat, or something over the course of their lives they have simply given up on.
Considering we are coming up on the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, here is a topic that many struggle with………overeating and weight loss (or gain in my case). 1st Corinthians 6:19-20 explains that, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body”.
That’s right, taking care of yourself is Biblical, yet how many have started a workout program only to find it “too hard” and simply give up? How many have started that college degree only to quit because “life took over” and there “wasn’t enough time”.
God wants us to endure the suffering. Spreading the word and saving grace of His son, Jesus Christ isn’t easy. As Christians, we’ll be ridiculed, talked about, made fun of, chastised, and more, but should be just quit because it’s “too hard”? No. As my late father used to say, “Can’t Never Could”.
Finish the Race
Paul endured suffering of all types for God and Christ before his death but he never gave up. Ultimately, the ruler Nero had him beheaded.
The Bible actually informs us that as Christians, suffering is part of our destiny if we continue to fight the good fight for Christ. While it is easy to quit and fall back on the comforts of this world, what lies beyond is well worth our suffering here for our short time on earth. Fight the good fight. Finish the race. Never Give up.