Summary: Hang on! Let go! Endure till the end! Throw in towel. So should we quit or not quit? That is the question!
Happy New Years! It is in this season that we have been trained to make resolutions. Goals set for change. Great promises to ourselves. Weight will be lost. Bills will be paid off. Hobbies will be explored. Sites will be visited.
Here were the Top 10 resolutions for 2018:
1. Eat better
2. Exercise more
3. Spend less money
4. Take better care of themselves
5. Read more books
6. Learn new skill
7. Get a new job
8. Make new friends
9. Get a new hobby
10. Focus more on their appearance
But haven't you learned like I have that most of the times those resolutions are never even dry on the paper and we quit. Life gets in the way. We were too ambitious. We were set up for failure before we ever got off the starting line. So . . . We quit. Quitters aren't revered in our culture so, we craft statements like "Winners never quit and quitters never win. When the going gets tough the tough get going. Quitter quitter pumpkin eater! Champions don't quit unless it is cable!" We prefer and gravitate to movies like Rocky where the underdog facing insurmountable odds never gives up and perseveres to glory. But the truth is quitting is a part of life. So, in spite of the cute sayings that sound good the real recipe for victory and overcoming challenge is we have learn to what to quit and what not to quit.
When I look through Scripture it is packed with quitters and quitting. I wanted to hang out in one passage but there are too many powerful lessons to be learned from the individuals that quit in the pages of the Bible. I want to start in a familiar story - Gideon. You know the account. He rallied an army of 32,000 men only to have God whittle it down to 300. Then under direction from God, Gideon wipes out the Midianite army with those 300. However, I want us to go back and look at the beginning of the story because like I mentioned we love to read the account of an underdog that wins an unlikely victory. However, we skip right past the quitting part of the account and in doing so we miss some valuable lessons.
One day the angel of God came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, whose son Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress, out of sight of the Midianites. The angel of God appeared to him and said, “God is with you, O mighty warrior!” Gideon replied, “With me, my master? If God is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracle-wonders our parents and grandparents told us about, telling us, ‘Didn’t God deliver us from Egypt?’ The fact is, God has nothing to do with us—he has turned us over to Midian.” But God faced him directly: “Go in this strength that is yours. Save Israel from Midian. Haven’t I just sent you?” Gideon said to him, “Me, my master? How and with what could I ever save Israel? Look at me. My clan’s the weakest in Manasseh and I’m the runt of the litter.” God said to him, “I’ll be with you. Believe me, you’ll defeat Midian as one man.”
In this introduction to Gideon and his interaction with this angel of God there are several insights and thoughts I just want to mention.
a. Quit Hiding
Gideon was not only hiding from his enemy he was also hiding from himself. In order for Gideon to be able to fulfill his destiny and purpose he had to quit hiding behind his own view of himself. God saw Gideon as a mighty warrior. Gideon saw himself as the runt of the weakest tribe. Like Gideon we often see ourselves incorrectly. Our own view of ourselves diminishes what God sees about us and causes us to cower rather than be courageous. I am telling you that you need to quit making resolutions and get a revelation instead. Some of you have been hiding for years and months simply because you can't see yourself any different than loser, lonely, lost, weak, untalented, 2nd best. That revelation forces you to make silly decisions and to be immobilized in fear. The real question is how does God see you?
b. Quit making excuses. Gideon had quit before he started. He was allowing losses in one season to cause him to quit in a new season. So, when faced with an opportunity and assurance that he was capable and chosen he begins to do what quitter do he makes excuses. I'm the least. The Lord has abandoned us. The truth is excuses never lead to escapes or escapades. Excuses only lead to evading. We have got to quit excusing ourselves from victory! We must quit making excuses to evade the challenge that scares us. We must quit making excuses that allow us to disobey instructions that we if followed would liberate us and those around us!