Don't Give Up On God
"Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him"
by Tom Stewart
n truth, only two kinds of people inhabit this planet-- those who are for Christ and those who are against Christ. Jesus said, "He that is not against us is on our part" (Mark 9:40). The Apostle Peter wisely observed, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh Righteousness, is accepted with Him" (Acts 10:34, 35). On one hand, Christ's adversaries are commanded, "Repent ye, and believe the Gospel" (Mark 1:15); but, on the other, to the Saints, who may be presently undergoing difficult times and circumstances, the Apostle Paul said, "Stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong" (1Corinthians 16:13). Strength comes in the believing of those words from God. "In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk" (Acts 3:6). The Epistle of James promised, "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8). And, to that testimony, the Apostle Paul added, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). If we are doing right, then we should never quit. "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Hebrews 10:38).
Right Doing is Righteousness
ight action flows from right willing or the willingness to do right. That is Righteousness. "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth Righteousness is righteous, even as He is Righteous" (1John 3:7). When we are actively trusting "Jesus Christ the Righteous" (2:1), then we are "clothed with Righteousness" (Psalm 132:9), and we may rely that His promised Spirit is working in us "to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). In fact, we may fortify ourselves that so long as we still have the slightest willingness to do right, the Almighty will breathe strength into us by His Spirit. "And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My Statutes, and ye shall keep My Judgments, and do them" (Ezekiel 36:27). What an amazing amalgamation of the Sovereignty of God with the Free Will of man! "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17)! When you feel yourself ready to give up, pray for the mercy of God-- "uphold me with Thy Free Spirit" (Psalm 51:12). Since God "cannot deny Himself" (2Timothy 2:13), in that He faithfully chooses the right, He will always choose those who choose the right, as well, i.e., "Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth Righteousness at all times" (Psalm 106:3). Even when He will soon judge the Earth, He chooses the right in that He seeks His own highest good and the highest good of His moral creatures. "Thus will I magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD" (Ezekiel 38:23). "The LORD is known by the Judgment which He executeth" (Psalm 9:16). "When Thy Judgments are in the Earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn Righteousness" (Isaiah 26:9).
Giving Up on God is Not Our Right
hen we are tempted to cease from doing right, we are tempted to give up on God, e.g., "he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar" (1John 5:10). We have no more right to give up on God than an employee has to disobey a lawful order from his employer. "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God" (Colossians 3:22). Neither should we feel that children obeying their parents is anything but what is expected by God and ourselves. "Children, obey your parents in the LORD: for this is right" (Ephesians 6:1). In fact, we have no right to feel that we have done anything but our duty, when we did not give up on God. "So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do" (Luke 17:10). That God is pleased with our faith and right doing is evident by His Word, i.e., "without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6), and by His rewards, e.g., "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the Crown of Life, which the LORD hath promised to them that love Him" (James 1:12). But, His punishment for unbelief, disobedience, and wickedness demonstrates His displeasure for our not doing or ceasing to do what we know is right, i.e., "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). "8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the Truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile" (Romans 2:8-9).
God's Spirit and Promises Keep Us From Giving Up on Him
as the dinner bell rung yet? Is it time to quit? Has God officially authorized us to stop doing our duty? Was it not our understanding to keep our "hand to the plough" (Luke 9:62) until the LORD takes us Home, as He did Enoch? "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him" (Genesis 5:24). When we are tempted to give up on God, then we need to immediately avail ourselves of the Exceeding Great and Precious Promises of God, that have been specifically designed for just such temptations. "Whereby are given unto us Exceeding Great and Precious Promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2Peter 1:4). [See our article, "Exceeding Great and Precious Promises" ---New Window, to see how God has magnificently designed His Promises to fit our every conceivable circumstance and thereby sanctify and further prepare us for our future Heavenly vocations.]
Spiritual first aid begins by pouring in as many Promises of the Word of God as we can reasonably find. "As thy days, so shall thy strength be" (Deuteronomy 33:25). [The Promises Section ---New Window of our website would be a good place to start. Couple a good Promise with a computerized cross reference search, such as the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge used by the Online Bible (Windows ---New Window and Macintosh ---New Window), and you will be able to find even more Promises.] Especially find one Promise that the Holy Spirit can recall to your mind. For example, the need for the "meekness and gentleness of Christ" (2Corinthians 10:1), especially when you are provoked by those that despise your testimony, may call forth the Promise that preeminence with God goes to those who primarily defend Him and not self: "the last shall be first, and the first last" (Matthew 20:16). The "meek and lowly in heart" Christ (Matthew 11:29) is always the Promise, the Pattern. and the Example that "ye should follow His steps" (1Peter 2:21). "He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth" (Isaiah 53:7). [More about meekness may be found in the Systematic Theology ---New Window, by Charles G. Finney ---New Window, i.e., "Another attribute of benevolence is Meekness."]
Again, you may not think of your bouts with impatience, haughtiness, fearfulness, etc. as anything more than something that you have under control; but, why do you keep repeating the same pattern of failure? "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:3). Isn't that the same as giving up on God by fits and starts? "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26). It is not enough to know that you should not do something or that you should do something, but you need the assistance of the Holy Spirit to help you do what God says you are able to do but won't succeed in doing until He intervenes. "And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My Statutes, and ye shall keep My Judgments, and do them" (Ezekiel 36:27). [See our editorial, "Can God Guarantee Our Obedience?" ---New Window, to see how Divine Sovereignty providentially needs not overpower our Free Will to insure our obedience.]
hough giving up on God is an option, why entertain it? "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). What is the value of a Promise for your perseverance, unless you believe it? "6 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... 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end" (Hebrews 3:6, 14). May the God "Who worketh all things after the Counsel of His Own Will" (Ephesians 1:11) magnify Himself in keeping us from giving up on Him, in that "He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself" (Philippians 3:21).
[Read our article, "He Will Subdue Our Iniquities" ---New Window, for encouragement for the fulfillment of this Promise from Micah 7:19.]
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