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Quitting is Not an Option

Don’t’ be grieved, for the joy of Yahweh is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b

This is the time of year that a lot of us are feeling very worn out. I feel like I notice it more because of the cold weather and lack of sunny days. But it’s more than just that. 

A sense of being worn out happens to all of us for many different reasons. Weariness can cause us to quit doing things that we know we should be doing. We can even be tempted into going back to things that we know we shouldn’t be doing because it just seems easier.

When this happens to us, we always have the solution. It’s the same solution for any circumstance in our lives. Our solution is going to our God. 

As we can see from our opening verse that God is telling us that when we feel weak, His joy becomes our strength. But how can that be? How can God’s joy make us strong enough to keep going? 

A lot of times our weariness can be the result of personal failures, either our own or of others around us. When this happens to me, I’ll just want to quit and give up even trying. And this is exactly what was happening to the people when God had this written. They were realizing that they had failed miserably in what they were supposed to be doing. But God was encouraging them. Yes, each and every one of us will fail in our lives. I do it all the time. Still, God does not want us to quit. But how does God’s joy keep us going? Let’s look at God’s answer to this question.

…lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us and let’s run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

This verse answers the question perfectly. Jesus Christ did what He did not want to do, that is He endured suffering and death, because of what the result would be. God tells us that it was because of the joy set before Him. But just what is that joy? The amazing answer is that God’s joy was restoring our relationship with Him that was destroyed because of our sin. That is how much God wants us! God was willing to suffer and die to have the joy of having a relationship with us! Who does that?? Who loves us that much? That is our God! Knowing this gives us strength.  

That is why we absolutely cannot quit when we fail. No, instead, we have to keep going. If we want to quit because of sin, we have to change our minds about it (this is the true meaning of repentance) and move on. When we do this, then the sacrifice of Jesus cleanses us, and our relationship with God is restored. This is God’s joy and our strength. 

That is why God encourages us over and over to not give up on Him and His ways. 

But you, brothers, don’t be weary in doing what is right. 2 Thessalonians 3:13

Let’s not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

This along with all the other promises in God’s word belong to us. They are for sure, they are not maybe. We have to hang on to them when the going gets tough. We all know that doing the right things can sometimes be a battle. And many times we can feel very alone in this battle. We can’t let that feeling fool us. We are never alone no matter how it feels. God tells us this, and it’s another promise from Him that is ours to hold on to. The famous Apostle Paul who wrote most of the letters in the New Testament felt very alone at times.

At my first defense, no one came to help me, but all left me. May it not be held against them. 2 Timothy 4:16

Paul was left alone in doing what was right for God. But he didn’t give up. He knew that even though no people were there for him, he was never left alone by God. Here is what he said at the end of his life:

I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

God is letting us know that keeping our faith in Him and His promises is the way to win this fight. When we keep going, when we don’t quit, when we get back on the right track after we’ve fallen off, we will have God’s joy as our strength. One day we will see Him face to face and guess what we will hear from Him if we do this…

His Lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:21

If we don’t quit, we will enter into God’s joy. I don’t even think I can imagine what that will be like. One thing I do know, though…if God created everything, including the things we love and enjoy, how much more love and joy will there be with Him? 

Yahweh, has taken away your judgments. He has thrown out your enemy. The king of Israel, Yahweh, is among you. You will not be afraid of evil any more. … Yahweh, your God is among you, a mighty One  who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will calm you in His love. He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:15, 17

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