“Marriage is so hard, and I wanted to leave. I would just lay on the floor of my closet and sob telling the Lord I could not do this anymore. Thankfully the Lord intervened, and we are working it all out. I know the fight it is not over, but I am thankful for the hope that I have.” (Wife of 22 years and mother of 5)
Have you ever been there? That place where it just seems easier to walk out and quit the Christian life than to continue. That place when you have
No desire to pray
No desire to read His Word
No desire to do or take care of anything
I know I have and yet, every time I find myself in that quitting mind frame, I also discover God is so graciously right there with me. How can this be and how do we as Christians make sure we are prepared to fight against quitting when the desire to quit knocks so hard at our door?
Here are three questions to ask yourself when quitting seems easier than pushing through.
1. Do I have the right parameters around my life?
Two parameters help keep us in bounds when it comes to fighting the urge to quit.
- First, do you have a Bible reading plan?
When we have a set Bible reading plan that we are systematically working through, God meets us right where we are and speaks to us. I have already written on this extensively in the past, (click here to read more), but I can not emphasize it enough. Countless times, God has spoken straight to my situation through that day’s reading of the Word He ordained way in advance of me reading it.
- Second, do you have prayer/accountability partners?
“At Rephidim, Amalek came and fought against Israel. Moses said Joshua, “Select some men for us and go fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the hilltop with God’s staff in my hand.”
Joshua did as Moses had told him, and fought against Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. While Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, but whenever he put his hand down, Amalek prevailed. When Moses’ hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat down on it. Then Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his army with the sword.” Exodus 17:8-13
Can you see how important it was to the Israelite community for Moses to have help in the battle? Moses’s relationship with Aaron and Hur allowed them the freedom to offer Moses help during the fight. The same is true for our own lives. We gain support and encouragement in the midst of our greatest battles through prayer and accountability partners.
I can’t tell you how many times I have received an encouraging card in the mail or a text message from my prayer partners reminding me we can meet for prayer. Even if during our prayer time, my heart is hard, God is faithful, and through their prayers and encouragement, God moves. Had my prayer partners and scheduled time of prayer not been in place, the likelihood of me being held accountable as well as encouraged would have diminished.
The enemy is defeated when you surround yourself with prayer and accountability partners and remain consistent in His Word. While these parameters are crucial, consider the next question too.
2. Am I honest?
Sometimes as Christians we believe God cannot handle it if we get upset with Him. Other times we think we will receive punishment if we are honest with Him. However, scripture testifies to just the opposite of both of these lies. Whether it is Moses telling God he doesn’t speak well, David crying out in the Psalms for God to revenge him, or Peter running his mouth in the New Testament, we see that God is big enough to handle our most profound and strongest emotions. And when we are honest with Him, God is free to begin the process of softening our hearts and turning them back into the right perspective of who He is and His plan for our lives.
We also have to be honest with our prayer and accountability partners. Trust is built, and chains are broken within the group when we are vulnerable to one another. The enemy can no longer make us believe we are alone. When we share openly and honestly, God can minister to each heart and life that is united in Him.
One day when I was in the midst of running from God, I was reading the following statement from the book Holiness By Grace by Bryan Chapell.
“The importance to us of finding a person who is “safe” underscores how caring the Lord’s words are as he lays out his plan for our battle preparation.”
No sooner did I read that sentence, than my phone rang. It was one of my prayer partners. God softly nudged, “Are you going to obey or not?” Do you believe she is safe to share what you are going through and do you trust Me enough to see that I do care for you and have provided other sisters to share in this time with you?”
Oh, how good our God is when we are honest with Him, ourselves, and others!!
This brings us to our last question.
3. Do I Know God?
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. Do not have other gods besides Me. Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth [generations] of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand [generations] of those who love Me and keep My commands.” Exodus 20:2-6
It is not a question about whether you know God but rather do you KNOW God. There is a difference between knowing someone and KNOWING someone. Acknowledging God does little when it comes to having a relationship with God. When you are walking daily and honestly with the Lord through the reading of His Word, time in prayer and fellowship with other believers, then God is free to speak to you as a Father to a child. God allows you to KNOW Him in a close and intimate way even when things around you seem to be falling apart and you want to quit.
Paul Washer makes this point clear when he discusses Exodus 20:2-6 in the Bible Study book, Knowing the Living God (which is on sale right now for $5!!). He states,
“The phrase ‘before Me’ (v.3) is literally, ‘before My face.’ It means that the Lord should be our God and that there should be no other competing loyalties in our heart. Any person or thing that we value or serve more than God is a false god. The jealousy of God (v.5) should not be confused with the jealousy of sinful men that is a result of their envy and selfishness. God is jealous in that He will not surrender His claim to that which is rightfully His. He cannot deny who He is—the one true God, Creator of the heavens and the earth.”
As I read the above in the midst of a struggle, it dawned on me that I can’t take my life back because it is not mine. It is God’s. Therefore, since He will not surrender (He chooses not too) His claim on my life, I have a choice to either surrender mine to His or live in turmoil.
When I look to God and who He is instead of who I want Him to be my perspective changes. As I sought to KNOW God, then my understanding of who He is grew and so did my belief in pressing on.
In my dear friend’s words:
“I just wanted to share that I can so relate to how you feel. I do not know what all is going on, but I do understand the overwhelming desire to quit. Of course, that is the big lie from the enemy that our lives will be more comfortable if we just quit this Christian walk. Thankfully the Lord draws us back to him and gives us the strength we need.“
Are you ready for the next time the desire to quit knocks on your door?
Set your parameters
Seek to know the God who loves you!!