September 5, 2013

It's too early to give up

Have you every just felt like quitting?

Balancing being a church planter, pastor, spouse, father, son, friend, and disciple of Jesus is difficult to say the least.  Any one of these carry with it responsibilities and pressures that easily could cause me to be consumed with frustrations.

Combine these responsibilities and pressures with my past or current failures as I attempt to improve in each area (becoming a better church planter, pastor, spouse, etc), and you have a perfect storm that leads to many emotions, beating myself up, feeling down and deflated to the point I just want to quit.

Satan uses our “failures” as heavy bricks that are placed in our backpacks of life.  He convinces us that our “failure bricks” are weighing us down and are such a burden to carry that we would be better off to just quit trying to get better. This way, we eliminate the chances of creating more “failure bricks” in the future, because we’ve quit trying to improve.

Jesus teaches us something different about how to handle failure. 

In Luke 9:1-5, Jesus sent His disciples to go out and preach the Good News (God is with us: hope for those who have all but lost hope) and to perform miracles.  

Jesus tells his disciples, “If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” 

Jesus wanted these disciples to model themselves after Him.  He gave them power and authority over demons and even the power to heal the sick, yet he also prepared them for rejection and failure. 

Jesus knew that not everyone was going to receive the truth about Him, and these disciples might be tempted to let this failure stop them from continuing.  He wanted them not to take the “failure brick” and put it in their backpack and weight them down to the point of quitting.  Rather, Jesus wanted them to use their failures as fuel to fire them up and so they could continue on and not quit.

Matt Emmons, an Olympic medalist in rifle shooting knows this all to well.

In the 2004 Olympics, he was leading the 50-meter rifle three positions when he shot at the wrong target on his last shot.

That zero scored dropped him from first to eighth. In the same event in Beijing in 2008, Emmons had a misfire on his final shot to drop from first to fourth.

Emmons could have easily quit. He probably thought, “Why fail again on a public stage such as the Olympics?  I’m not going to put any more ‘failure bricks’ in my life’s backpack. I quit.”

But he didn’t!  In 2012 Olympics, Matt Emmons took the bronze medal!  He decided not to quit, and put his past failures behind him. 

Next time Satan uses your failures to weigh you down to the point you want to quit getting better at being a spouse, parent, employee, friend, a disciple of Jesus…remember the words of Norman Vincent Peale

“It’s too early to quit”

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