Can I ask you a personal question? Have you ever thought about quitting? Not your job, but your Christian life? Have you thought about quitting your church? Maybe, someone in the church has let you down and it has hurt your heart and now you don’t want anything to do with them or Christianity?
This coming Sunday we are going to look at why we want to quit sometimes and what steps we need to take not too. The title of the message is called “I want to quit!”
There have been times when I felt like a failure in this game of life. The combination of the many struggles I must deal with on a daily basis, sometimes leaves me feeling like I want to quit. Just when I think I can manage, a few days will go by, and a new storm takes place… there’s been an accident, someone newly diagnosed with cancer or a death. I feel the pain my church family goes through to the point where sometimes I’m not sure how I can go on.
But then, in the middle of my pain, God moves in my heart and reminds me of three important things, and regardless of the size of your storm or the damage it creates, this lesson is one I, and perhaps you, need to remember.
First of all, when you feel like you cannot go on, remember to keep things in the right perspective. Remember our vision is limited… only God sees all and knows all. He tells us He has a plan (read Jeremiah 29:11) … it’s one for good and has a purpose. Trust Him. Let me give you an example of the “right perspective.”
A story is told about a famous composer-pianist who was scheduled to perform at a great concert hall in America. It was an evening to remember—black tuxedos and long evening dresses—a high society extravaganza. Present in the audience that evening, was a mother with her fidgety nine-year-old son. Weary of waiting, the little boy squirmed in his seat. His mother was hoping that her boy would be encouraged to practice the piano if he could just hear the immortal pianist at the keyboard. So, against the little boy's wishes, he had come.
As the mother turned to talk with friends, her son decided that he could stay seated no longer. He slipped away from her side, strangely drawn to the ebony concert grand Steinway and its leather tufted stool on the huge stage flooded with blinding lights. Without much notice from the sophisticated audience, the boy sat down at the stool, staring wide-eyed at the black and white keys. He placed his small, trembling fingers in the right location and began to play "Chopsticks." The roar of the crowd was hushed as hundreds of frowning faces turned in his direction. Irritated and embarrassed, they began to shout: "Get that boy away from there!" "Who would bring a kid that young in here?" "Where's his mother?" "Somebody stop him!"
Backstage, the master overheard the sounds out front and quickly put together in his mind what was happening. Hurriedly, he grabbed his coat and rushed toward the stage. Without one word of announcement, he stooped over behind the stool, reached around the boy, and began to improvise a countermelody to harmonize with and enhance the boy’s rendition of "Chopsticks." As the two of them played together, the famous pianist kept whispering in the boy's ear "Keep going. Don't quit, son. Keep playing. Don't stop... don't quit."
God is the expert who improvises a countermelody and enhances our efforts. Like the master pianist, He whispers in our ear. "Don't stop.... Don't give up." He recognizes and encourages us to continue, even when our efforts appear small—especially in the eyes of others (or how we think others see our efforts).
The second thing I have learned is when the desire to quit comes from feelings of failure; we must stop and let go of the idea of perfection.
Friends, there is one Perfect Person and it’s not me or you. Jesus is Perfect and though we should strive to be more and more like Him every day, you cannot waste your life worrying about failed moments in your life.
Worry is counterproductive:
•It wastes time that could be spent in better ways.
•It focuses on the problem, not the solution.
•It causes us to assume responsibility that belongs only to God.
•It paralyzes us with fear.
•It saps our joy.
•It drains our energy.
•It keeps us sidetracked when we could be doing God’s will.
•If we want to get off to a good start each morning we need to begin in the right place.
We must not let our “failures” cause us to quit. Our struggles, shortcomings and setbacks can lead to growth… if we let them. Through hard times, our faith gets stronger and God’s Perfection is clearer.
Finally, when we want to quit (regardless of the reason) we must do what Jesus did, persevere. Faith is not a one-time thing… it’s a muscle we must exercise daily. He often allows trials, troubles, tribulations, and problems in our life to teach us diligence, determination, and character.
I love what Paul shares about troubles, failures, and disappointments, in Romans 5:3-4 GWT, “…when we are suffering. We know that suffering creates endurance, endurance creates character, and character creates confidence.”
Let me give one more piece of encouragement today. In 2 Corinthians 4:16 NLT “That is why we never give up.” People who follow Jesus keep on keeping on, no matter what happens in life. Followers of Jesus are single-minded. Followers of Jesus are hardworking. Followers of Jesus don’t know how to quit.
God does not expect us to arrive overnight, but He did create us to press on through the pain and endure the trials. When we do, He will strengthen our faith and bless our obedience.
God is more interested in what you are becoming than in what is happening to you. The problem you are going through right now? It’s an examination of your faithfulness. Will you continue to serve God even when life is tough?
Make Every Day Count!
Please don’t Quit! Come Sunday and learn how not to!