Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Heart of a Quitter (Part 2)

If you haven't read it already, The Heart of a Quitter (Part 1).

Seriously. No one wants to quit. No one wants to be a quitter. But we must realize that any of us can be tempted if we don't know the warning signs and the pitfalls that lead to quitting. Even great men like Elijah gave into the temptation of quitting.


1 Kings 19:9-10 "And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there;
and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him,
What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the
LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant,
thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword;
and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."

Elijah felt alone... isolated. He was feeling overwhelmed. The task was too great for him, and there was no one to help. He just knew he was the only one left. This loneliness brought him to the point of quitting.

5. The heart of a quitter is engulfed and overtaken in loneliness and isolation, and is overwhelmed by the size of the task.

1 Kings 19:11-12 "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.
And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains,
and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind:

and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire:
and after the fire a still small voice."

God brought Elijah on this mountain to teach him some things. He reminded Elijah of His great power. He had complete control over the wind, the earth, and fire. God didn't need a big army to accomplish His will. Then God reminded Elijah of another precious truth... the still small voice of God which desires to guide us, comfort us, help us focus, teach us, and fellowship with us.

Elijah had forgotten that God is enough!

Yes, the task is way bigger than we are, but God is ENOUGH! He is the one who must accomplish the task. He chooses to use us in the process. He doesn't need a big army. He doesn't need the most gifted and talented people. He doesn't need eloquent speakers and teachers and writers. Two great truths we must realize...

The task is bigger than me,
but it isn't bigger than Him!

John 15:5 "I am the vine, ye are the branches:
He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit:
for without me ye can do nothing." 

Matthew 16:18 "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell
shall not prevail against it." 

Ecclessiastes 3:14 "I know that, whatsoever God doeth,
it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it:
and God doeth it, that men should fear before him."

Hebrews 13:5  "Let your conversation be without covetousness;
and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said,
I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

We are not alone! God is always with us. There are times in our lives when we must learn to encourage ourselves in the Lord, knowing He is enough.

But there was another truth Elijah needed to learn. God understands our desire for companionship and help from "flesh and blood" people. And He hasn't left us alone in that area either.

1 Kings 19:16  "... and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah
shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room."

God knew the perfect timing to send Elisha on the scene. Elijah had given up and almost missed out on meeting and working with Elisha. What a blessing Elisha turned out to be!

But Elisha wasn't the only person...

1 Kings 19:18 "Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him."

God always has a people set aside for His work and His glory. Elijah truly was not the only one left, and he was not alone.

If we want to protect ourselves from the sin of quitting,
we must realize that God is enough, and that we are never alone.


2 Timothy 4:10 "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world..."

Luke 18:22-23 "Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him,
Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor,
and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this,
he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich." 

How tragic to be lured away by the things this world has to offer! And how tempting it is!


6. The Heart of a quitter is affectionate toward the world and its pleasures.

Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one,
and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.
Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

Colossians 3:1-3 "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above,
not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."

1 John 2:15-16  "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

The Bible doesn't say what Demas's love was, only that it was worldly and it lacked eternal focus (this present world.) There are some sins that are easy to spot. There are some carnal lines of thinking that we are quick to dismiss. We know they are wrong. We know they are dangerous. It's easy to spot the rich ruler's love of his money. He was sorrowful at the thought of leaving it behind!

But what about the sins that sneak in? What about the ones that steal away our eternal focus? What about things like discontentment? What if Demas wasn't guilty of the things we think of as blatant sin? What if it was discontentment that stole away his affection? What if he was tired of travelling? What if he was tired of leaving family and friends behind? What if he missed the comforts of home? What if he allowed these things to take him away from the work God had called him to?

It's much easier to cast judgment on Demas if he is guilty of a lust for money or adultery or fornication or enticed by political power. I am thankful God's Word doesn't clarify Demas's specific sin because it helps me to inspect myself... do I have affections that would steal away my eternal focus? Maybe it isn't obvious, "no-brainer" sins, but maybe a heart of discontentment because I love something here in this present world more than I love my God. It is easy to spot idolatry when people are bowing down to statues, pictures, and animals, but it is more difficult to spot idolatry in our own hearts... when we love something or someone (family, friends, etc.) so much that we are willing to forsake the Lord's calling to be with them.

I must admit, I miss some of the comforts in the States. I miss our woodstove. I sure get cold in the winter here. I miss having electricity 24 hours a day. I miss taking long, hot showers and not having to turn the water off. But do I love the comforts of this world more than I love my God? Am I allowing discontentment to sneak in?

If we want to protect ourselves from the sin of quitting,
we must guard our hearts from treasuring the things of the world and in this world
and anything that would steal away our eternal focus.


To Be Continued
Next Week...
The Heart of a Quitter Part 3: The Quitter Who Couldn't Quit

Charity, Southern Asia

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