Tuesday, September 30, 2014

3 Reasons to Never Give Up

People quit all the time. I run an employment agency and at least once or twice a month I talk to people who are quitting their jobs for "no good reason".  Many Christians also quit. They stop actively following the Lord. They shift the car into neutral and coast. They still go to church, drop some money in the offering, and listen to the message. They may even hang around after the service to drink coffee and "fellowship",  but they've stopped growing in their relationship to the Lord. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.  Many people quit something because it is difficult. Being a DH in Hong Kong is one of the world's toughest jobs. Quitting because something is hard is almost always the wrong thing to do.  Last Sunday as our Pastor was teaching on Philippians 3 I began looking at Philippians 3:12-21 from the perspective of quitting. He preaches in Filipino, so I have a good excuse for letting my mind roam. Here is what stuck out to me:

3 Reasons we should never give up

  • Jesus has a purpose for me and he is working in my life  

 But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me."  3:12b

Jesus had something in mind when he first took hold of my life. Earlier in this letter, Paul says "God is at work within you both to will and to do his good pleasure". God has a purpose for my life and he is actively working to bring that goal to fruition. If God hasn't given up on me, how can I give up on myself????

  • Jesus has promised a reward to finishers. 
"I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." (3:14)  What is "the heavenly prize"? Is it heaven itself? Is it a reward or status we receive in heaven? Is it simply me actually becoming the person that Christ wants me to be? Living out your God given potential? Over and over again God promises rewards to those who don't give up, who perservere through trials and tribulations, who overcome. I won't know what that prize is unless I "press on". 

  • I am a "citizen of heaven". Citizens of heaven don't quit. 
"But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. "

Family and friends say "It's not worth it. Just give up and quit. It's okay." They say "it's so unfair, you shouldn't stand for it anymore. Quit." God says "I have a plan. I called you. I'll bring it to pass." When I look to the Lord to ask "Can I quit?" I see nail pierced hands and a thorn crowned brow. I know the answer. "No". 

Sometimes we need to end one thing in order to move onto the next thing that God has for us. I've done that recently. That is not quitting. It is just changing direction and focus. In our pursuit of God's purpose for our lives, we should never give up. 

Tomorrow I'll post about "How NOT to give up".