How to Live in Four Easy Steps. Part 3: Why Quit Now?

Bob Dylan once said, "When you feel in your gut what you are and then dynamically pursue it - don't back down and don't give up - then you're going to mystify a lot of folks." It's funny, perseverance in any incarnation amazes and bewilders people.

Don't quit: it's a popular theme. One that is shouted at athletes in locker rooms across America. Whispered in broken marriages. A message of encouragement or rebuke, of promise or hope. It is an attitude we instill in our children as they learn to talk and take their first steps.

From Winston Churchill's Never Give In speech, to the cartoon of a frog choking the stork that is trying to eat it. From Tim Allen's cry "Never give up, Never surrender" in Galaxy Quest, to Reliant K's song Pressing On. The will to keep going - no matter what - is embedded in our culture.

Yet, quitting sometimes seems to be the easiest thing to do and those who defy that logic to weather the storm are often considered irrational.

The wisdom of man is foolish in God's eyes. The call to persevere is a constant element in God's word, in the conquest of the promised land, in the words of Jesus and the prophets who foretold His coming, and in many of Paul's letters.

In those times when perseverance seems the hardest thing to do, Paul gives us the first (and likely most difficult) step, "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead." (Php 3:13) To move on you must let go of past failures. I'm not saying to ignore them entirely or lose the lessons learned from those mistakes. But DO forget the act itself and never dwell on your errors. It's been said that without failure, success would be impossible. When I teach colleagues a new concept, I often explain it then let them try it out for themselves, knowing they won't get it right. Only after they have completely and utterly failed, I show them the correct way so they can see what they did wrong and how to succeed on their own. Don't let the act of a misstep distract you, but learn from it. Focus, and keep going.

But keep going for what? There is a reason to all we do, a purpose for why we are here. "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Php 3:14) There is more to life than what we can see. The unseen should be our focus and will be our reward. Quitting is such a selfish thing, and nothing should be done for our own ambitions, but for the glory of God.

There are a few keys to this perseverance. Know God. Know yourself. Realize you're not infallible. "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." (Php 3:12)

God's got a hold on us, He won't let go even if we do. It is up to us to grasp on to the purposes Christ has for us. And His plans for us are amazing, why quit now? Like Dylan said, you'll mystify a lot of folks.

(Originally posted on What's Inside on 8/4/06)

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