“The Cost of Quitting”
“The Cost of Quitting”
By Darrell C. Porter
“A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is… A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.” –C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Every endeavor in life has a cost. The adage, “There is no free lunch,” applies everywhere. The stunning truth is that peace is not free. Safety is not free. Freedom is not free. Each day someone has to pay to get it, and someone has to fight to keep it.
Success… victory… nothing worth having comes without a cost. Salvation came from heaven at a high cost. God “gave His only begotten Son” (Jn.3:16). He entered fallen humanity as a new born babe, and slowly grew up to become a full grown man. This perfect Man then suffered and died on the cross to complete the required process for bringing into His eternal Kingdom those who put their trust in Him.
The current inhabitants of heaven are there because of the high price that was paid for their entrance. Had they given up on their opportunity for heaven, had they let go of their fight of faith while on earth, then what would they have received?
To walk with God in a world that runs against Him can be most distressing. The inflamed temptation to quit can strike; and not just once, but again and again.
In 2 Kings 6:8-23 a large number of Syrian soldiers surrounded the city of the prophet Elisha. There was no way of escape. The servant of the prophet became very afraid and said, “What shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:15). All this servant could see was the imposing problem that surrounded him. Those forces appeared impossible to overcome.
Yet, Elisha saw what his frightened servant could not see. With his eye on the LORD, Elisha knew that “they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” He then prayed that GOD would open the eyes of his servant, so he could see what Elisha saw. (2 Kings 6:17)
Facing our own dire circumstances it is wise to ask God to open our eyes to see beyond what the world shows us. We need to see the God of glory. When the servant’s eyes were opened by the Spirit of God he saw GOD’s army surrounding the Syrians on the hilltop.
In a mere moment of time the servant went from feeling overwhelmed and defeated to a confident determination to go forward with God. Had he, instead, become “frozen” or simply quit he would have never known the power of God for himself.
Look into 2 Kings 5:1-14. Here Naaman comes to be cleansed of his leprosy. He is instructed to go to the house of Elisha, the prophet. After making the journey the prophet refuses to see him but sends his servant out to tell Naaman what to do. The military caption is infuriated that the man of God would not so much as greet him, but merely instructs him to dip seven times in the river Jordan.
Naaman had no interest in immersing himself in that muddy river. It was far beneath him. If this was the way he was to be cured then he preferred to do so in his own, cleaner rivers back home. He was angry and decided to forget the whole thing. “And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” (2 Kings 5:13) Naaman stood face to face with an earnest choice. It was going to cost him no matter what he did or didn’t do. The cost of quitting meant he’d keep his ugly sickness. The cost of obeying the Word of God meant he’d lose his ugly pride.
“Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” (2 Kings 5:14)
Consider, how that every successful entrepreneur, every star athlete knows there is nothing to be gained by quitting. One’s breathing may calm down, the heart slows its beat and the mind settles into ease. Yet the soul of the quitter is empty of that true dignity and honor that only comes from victory, or at least staying in the race to the very end.
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mt 24:13)
Notice how that, in Genesis 32:24-26, “Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”
Jacob had full reason to give up, after wrestling all night with an angel of God who was more powerful than he. Surely he was wearied and all his energy sapped from him. On top of that he recognized no profit or benefit from all this strenuous wrestling. In order to have done with it, he could have easily laid down, let the angel go; and taken his much needed rest. But Jacob desired to be benefited by God; and would not forsake the promises of God. Therefore, he demanded of the angel of God, and said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”
What boldness. What audacity. Surely the LORD would strike Jacob down for such insolence, would he not? Oddly, the LORD did not strike Jacob down. Rather, He gave him what he asked for. Why? Because Jacob never let go of his hold on God. Therefore God held onto Jacob and changed his name to Israel-price of God; one who wrestles with God and prevails.
Notice how, that if Jacob had quit–threw up his hands in defeat, and given up, the cost of quitting would have been the lose of the very nation from which came the Messiah.
Quitting almost never reveals its true costs at the moment one quits. That large bill shows up much later, down the road, accompanied by shame, guilt and indescribable remorse.
This is why the LORD encourages His beloved saints, continually, to stand and not give up. He exhorts the Believer in Christ to remain faithful, stay the course of faith, and not quit.
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Ga 6:9) Here is the promise, we will reap if we do not give up. The Lord Jesus, Himself, being our highest example. “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Heb 12:3)
Displayed in the Bible are lists of saints who stood with God, and would not quit. Hebrews 11, the faith chapter, honors those who never gave up. From Abel offering a more excellent sacrifice, through Noah building a strange ark, Abraham leaving his land to journey with God, not knowing where he was going, Moses, who esteemed the reproach of Christ as greater than the riches of Egypt; King David and many, many more. These all held fast the profession of their faith in spite of their many challenges and harsh circumstances. Yet they never gave up, and are now remembered.
The cost of quitting would have meant the lose of their eternal reward; and that would have been a price unthinkable to them.
Whatever the cost to stand for Christ, the cost of quitting is far greater.
“But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” (Heb 3:6)