Summary: Ever felt like quitting? Ready to throw in the towel? You seek to live for the Lord, to serve Him but everything just goes the opposite of the way you hoped. You’re discouraged and want to run away. You're not alone
Feel like Quitting?
Introduction: Have you ever felt like quitting? Ready to just throw in the towel? You seek to live for the Lord and to serve Him but it seems like everything just goes the opposite of the way you hoped. You’ve become discouraged and wish you could just run away. You’re not alone. In fact many great people of the Bible experienced lives fraught with discouragement. Jeremiah was one such person. Jeremiah was perplexed. He had labored diligently before God’s people with no apparent success. The wicked seemed to prosper; those that lived unfaithfully were at ease; with their mouths they spoke of God, but He was far from their hearts. He became so discouraged that in Jeremiah 9:2 he says, “Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place for travelers; that I might leave my people, and go from them!” Later in chapter twenty, Jeremiah tells us that there were times he was ready to just quit. He said he told himself at times, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.” (verse 9) By looking at Jeremiah’s life we see not only the causes of discouragement but also how we can have victory over discouragement
I. The Causes of Discouragement
A. Discouragement can take many forms and be caused by many things.
B. The Brick Wall of Dull Minds.
1. Sometime ago in the "Peanuts" comic strip as Lucy, Linus, and Charlie Brown looked up to the sky, Lucy said, "You can see lots of things in the clouds." Then turning to her companions, she asked "What do you see, Linus?" "Well," he said, "those clouds up there look to me like the map of Belize, the little nation in the Caribbean." Glancing in a different direction, "That cloud looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor. And that cloud formation over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Steven; why I can see Saul of Tarsus standing to one side." "Uh huh," gasped Lucy, "That's good." "And, what do you see Charlie Brown?" Clearing his throat, "Oh, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I've changed my mind." – copied
2. Jeremiah 5:21 “Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not.”
3. There are many who have not exercised their spiritual lives to point of being able to see spiritual truths that God wants them to see.
4. Jeremiah 10:14 “Everyone is dull-hearted, without knowledge”
5. I’ve heard people say, “I don’t get it – they just don’t get it!” You become discouraged when you try to show someone something but they totally misunderstand what your saying.
6. "A sharp tongue and a dull mind are usually found in the same head." - Dr. Stan Toler, Pastor's Little Instruction Book.
C. The Barrier of Closed Minds.
1. There are those who neither try to nor want to understand. They want to have things their way.
2. Jeremiah 5:4-6 “Then I said, “But what can we expect from the poor? They are ignorant. They don’t know the ways of the Lord. They don’t understand God’s laws. So I will go and speak to their leaders. Surely they know the ways of the Lord and understand God’s laws.” But the leaders, too, as one man, had thrown off God’s yoke and broken his chains.”
3. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
4. Those who attend church are so often preoccupied with preconceived thinking that they listen to the Gospel with closed minds. They are not willing to be corrected by the Lord. They have made up their mind, and they know the truths they want to know and how they want to govern their lives and actions.
D. The Storm of Opposed Minds.
1. Jeremiah 20:1-2 “Now Pashhur the son of Immer, the priest who was also chief governor in the house of the LORD, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. 2 Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the LORD.”
2. “Any kind of opposition is discouraging but when opposition seems to triumph, real conviction and genuine dedication are needed to stand against it.”
3. A Baptist minister asked a Methodist minister, "How many of your members are ACTIVE in the church?" "All of them," said the Methodist minister. The Baptist minister was impressed. "That's an outstanding achievement!" he said. "I wouldn't be too sure of that," said the Methodist minister. "Half of them actively SUPPORT me, and the other half actively OPPOSES me!" – copied