The first time I tried to march and play drums at the same time, I was terrible. When I concentrated on playing a steady beat, I marched out of step; when I focused on marching in line, I played off beat. After the first week, I went to the band director and told him that marching band was not for me and that he shouldn't expect me at any more of the rehearsals. I'll never forget what he said to me "Bubba, I didn't think you were a quitter." That cut through me like a knife.
We don't like to be called quitters, but we sure act like them. We try various hobbies and crafts for a while, and if we don't enjoy them as much as we originally thought we would, we toss them aside and move on to something else. How many have picked up the game of golf only to throw it back down a couple of weeks later? What about attempting to learn a musical instrument? Even those who make a substantial investment in their potential interest — equipment, lessons, accessories — give up after their initial failure.
If we're not careful, we allow this mentality to carry over into our spiritual thinking. With high ambitions and fiery spirits, we march into the battlefield of life full of vigor and ready to conquer anything that crosses our path. Yet the first time our courage is demanded because of some obstacle or hurdle that lies in front of us, we abandon the Lord and run the other way. The excitement that fueled us at first is lost because we recognize that some exertion is required of us or an unanticipated conflict must be resolved. Even those who make a considerable investment in the Lord's work — time, energy, resources drop out long before the race is won.
Quitting is easy because it involves no effort, no commitment. The world convinces us that life is self-centered and that we must do anything and everything to make ourselves comfortable and content. This philosophy implies eliminating that which causes discomfort and discord; things like our marriage, our religion, even our own life.
Please reflect on these simple suggestions the next time you encounter the temptation to quit the Lord.
Trust in God
Faith is not simply believing in the existence of God, it involves putting your complete confidence and trust in Him. He has promised, "I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). Even in your darkest hour, when it seems that all hope is gone, He is standing by your side, ready to help you overcome your adversaries. Those who abandon Him have not totally surrendered their fears and worries and are attempting to live life on their own. Place your confidence in God that He will lead you through the difficult times and build you up so that you can endure them. If you never forsake Him, He has promised that He will never leave you. Trust Him.
Finish what you start
Jesus did. He came to this earth with a mission, to fulfill an incredible plan to save men from their sins, and He did not allow one thing to step in His way not the devil, not the apostles, not the scribes and Pharisees.
Paul told Timothy to "be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (II Timothy 4:5). The young preacher was to expect trials and setbacks, frustrations and anxieties, but he was to endure them with patience and persistence and not give up. Paul knew about hardships; "five times I received from the Jews thirty—nine lashes, three times was I beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times was I shipwrecked ..." (II Corinthians 11:24-27). Do you think he considered calling it quits a time or two? Yet through it all, he continued to trust in God and that allowed him to finish what he started.
Remember the big picture
Heaven is for those who have endured and those who have conquered, not for those who have given up. Since Paul had fought the fight and kept the faith, he was confident in his eternal destiny — "in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but to all those who have loved his appearing" (II Timothy 4:8).
Remember where you're going
It's easy to get distracted by the temporal things that this life has to offer; they cause us worry and tempt us to throw in the towel and quit. They make service to God seem less important and perseverance impossible. At the judgment, those who have endured and those who have given up will be separated, and the ones who have kept the faith will receive their crown of life. Won't the temporal things seem so insignificant then?
Consider the poem of Jill Wolf:
Don't quit when the tide is the lowest, for it's just about to turn,
Don't quit over doubts and questions, for there's something you may learn.
Don't quit when the night is darkest, for it's just a while till dawn;
Don't quit when you've run the farthest, for the race is almost won.
Don't quit when the hill is steepest; for your goal is almost nigh;
Don't quit, for you're not a failure until you fail to try.
Fight the good fight, finish the course, keep the faith, and whatever you do, don't quit.