Wayne Cordeiro offers tips for discerning when it's time to quit and when quitting is not God's best for you or your ministry.
Have you ever wanted to call it quits? We all have – every single one of us has gone through a time when giving up seemed like the best, more promising option.
It happens when the press of people’s opinions suffocates our lives or when the crushing demand of others’ expectations squelches our spirits. Couple those with our own sense of inadequacy and it all comes spiraling down…and the words “I quit” seem to be the natural next step.
But that’s not true!
Jesus Shows Up
When you’re ready to call it quits, Jesus shows up. Mark my words; He shows up!
Your eyes may not recognize Him at first, but He’s there. If you’ll listen, His voice will cut through the fog, but you’ll have to incline your ear. You could easily ignore His voice; you can even deny His voice. But when you’re lost, He’ll show you the way out…if you’ll follow. When you’re ready to call it quits, Jesus will speak to you. Or more accurately, He’ll speak to the spirit of defeat you’ve allowed to take residence within you.
“Simon Peter said to them, ‘I’m going back fishing’[…]that night they caught nothing. But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the shore, yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.” (John 20:1)
When Peter realized that indeed it was Jesus, he jumped out of the boat, swam to the Lord, and finding the Lord sitting at a fire with some fish, sat and stared. The Lord asked him again, “Peter, what have I called you to do?”
Jesus asked Peter the same question He had asked the first time He came across Peter and his empty nets. And there they sat, on the same sandy shore, after three dynamic years of world-changing ministry. Yet, Jesus had to ask the same question.
And in doing so, Jesus restored Peter to his original call. This will be the very first step to take when you want to call it quits:
Return to Your Original Call
Go back to your original call. When Peter was ready to call it quits, Jesus called to him a second time from the lakeside. He reminded Peter of the first call.
“‘Do not fear, from now on, you will be catching men.’ And when they brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.” (Luke 5:10)
As soon as Peter met Jesus, he was given his call: to become a fisher of men. No, it wasn’t going to be easy, but it was clear.
Sometimes, God has to bring us back to our original call by cutting everything else out. Sometimes, you don’t realize that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have. And if we refuse to realize that, He lovingly cuts everything out in order to correct us back to that assurance.
God will always provide all the grace you will need for the assignment He has called you to do. When we move outside of God’s grace, we choose to move toward discouragement, bitterness, and depression. When you’re ready to call it quits, that’s a warning light that you’ve been adrift.
Run to the Lord
Run toward God, not away from Him. It’s a natural tendency for us to run away when we’ve sold out and find ourselves at the end of a bad decision and its terrible consequences.
When you’re ready to call it quits, you will not know what to do, so don’t try to figure it out. You may not be in the position to hear, but you are in a position to heal. But first, you must do one thing: cry out to God; let it all go, give it over to God.
The first step in overcoming an impossible situation when you want to call it quits is to return to your original call. The second step is to run to the Lord. And finally, Jesus said, “Now, move forward in faith.”
Move Forward in Faith
“Master, we worked hard all night, but at your bidding we will let down the nets.” (Luke 5:5)
“At your bidding” – these words prove that Peter didn’t want to do it. He didn’t feel like doing it because he didn’t have the energy left to do it.
There are going to be times when you don’t feel like doing something but because God asks you to, you do. Sometimes, we need to revisit things that came up empty the first time. The Lord will turn you back and say, “Yes, it came up empty but, if you’ll do this at My bidding and not because you’re expecting results, then you’ll find the catch.” And when you revisit it with this pure motivation, you’ll indeed find the catch.
There are times in our lives when, like Peter, we want to call it quits. That’s okay if you’re quitting those things God wants to deliver you from. But to call it quits for the other reasons—to look good or to be in control—may not be God’s best for your life.
My encouragement to you is to relinquish our life with reckless abandonment and entrust your future to Jesus. Don’t call it quits and don’t try to do it on your own. Simply surrender to Him; when you want to call it quits, discover the life-saving power of Jesus.