Larry Shankle

How To Know The Right Time To Quit

There is always a reason to feel like quitting…but don’t.

Clearly, the thrust of this post is to encourage people not to give up on life, not to give up on their future, or the dreams of their heart, their prayers, and most importantly…God.

Don’t give up on God. Not now. Not ever.

The real hope is that you will place your trust in God and never back away from it.

We know that God will NEVER leave us or forsake us.
He is with us until the end of the age, the Bible says.

So quitting should be the furthest option from our mind…unless…
Well, the truth is…there are a couple of scenarios that make quitting the best option.

So for those who are really contemplating giving up, this post is for you.

Now, at the risk of someone reading their own ideas into these two things I’m going to mention, let me say that, rarely do these two moments occur…especially, simultaneously.

With that being said, let me give you what I believe are the two times when quitting is the best option…
  1. Quitting is the best option when you are in the MIDDLE of OBEYING GOD, and God changes your direction.
  2. Quitting is the best option when the voice of the Lord CLEARLY tells you to STOP GOING in your current direction.

Now, allow me to say something about these two options.
Here’s what I want to say: These two quitting options are very abused, and God gets a really bad rap from them.

Christians use these two options to justify all sorts of things in their life.

In fact, one of the statements I’ve heard constantly over the years is, "God told me…," and you fill in the blank.
God told me this.
God told me that.
God told me yes.
God told me no.

And while it is true that God is ALWAYS speaking if only we will listen, rarely does he hit and miss about the DIRECTION of our life.

God is not a flippant God.

He doesn’t often change his mind about the entire scope and direction of your life.

Why? Because from before you were born, God has had a plan for your life.
Each detail is laid out in vivid color before his eyes. There is no shadow of turning.

As far as the details of it all, God can work out ANYTHING in your life, regardless of the circumstance or difficulty.

If God can move a mountain through your faith, what can he do through his faith?
The answer is: Anything.
The Lord is limitless.
He is all powerful.

There is literally nothing in your life that is TOO HARD for God to handle, yet, all the the time I hear believers saying that God told them to quit on this or that.
  • They quit ministries because things get a little or a lot too hard.
  • They quit marriages and blame it on God. (Hint: God will never tell you to quit your marriage)
  • They quit jobs because they feel like God is telling them to…often to their detriment.
  • They quit pursuing their God-given dreams because the dream gets too hard and there is too much up hill climbing involved.

Listen, If God says to quit…then quit, but don’t just wish his voice into existence in your mind.
The fact is, usually God doesn’t tell us to quit.

You see very few examples of God telling people to quit in the scriptures.
What you do see, however, is God telling his people to "keep going."
In the hard times…keep going.
In the difficulty…keep going.
In the persecution…keep going.

Too often we feel like the hardships of life are the voice of God saying to us, "quit."

So, at the risk of having this post misunderstood, I’m going to use a Bible story to illustrate these two instances when quitting IS the best option.

And to refresh your memory, here they are again…
  1. Quitting is the best option when you are in the MIDDLE of OBEYING GOD, and God changes your direction.
  2. Quitting is the best option when the voice of the Lord CLEARLY tells you to STOP GOING in your current direction.

Allow me to put one more disclaimer out there. People use these options all the time without qualifying them at all; but there is a qualifier.

There IS or WILL BE, evidence that you actually heard from God.
God will provide evidence that he actually told you to quit. We will find out what that evidence is in a little while.
Let’s get into scripture…

Genesis 22:1–18 NLTse
1 Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. "Abraham!" God called. "Yes," he replied. "Here I am."

This passage begins with a difficulty.
It’s one of those things that we don’t often want to think about, nevertheless, it happens from time to time.
  • We don’t want to believe that it’s true.
  • We don’t want to believe that God will test us.
  • We don’t want to believe that anything difficult results from the will of God.
God tested Abraham’s faith.

Now, with this being said, the way Abraham’s faith is about to be tested is a one time thing.
It had to do with the nation of Israel in the future and the path that the lineage of the savior would follow.

God doesn’t test people in this same manner anymore. Nevertheless, he DOES still test our faith.
We need to be ready and prepared for our faith to be tested.

God doesn’t test us through temptation either. The Bible is clear about this fact.
But, just as God tested Job’s faith, he chooses at times, to test our faith.

Here’s a secret: God will only test your faith when he believes you will pass the test.

So, today, if your faith feels under the gun, be encouraged. God believes you will pass your test!
Now…listen to how Abraham was tested…

2 "Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you."

Can you imagine the horror that Abraham must have felt?

Abraham is called the "father of the faithful" because of this experience he is about to go through.
This test of his faith was a type and symbol of what God the Father would later do for US by sacrificing HIS OWN SON, JESUS.

3 The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about.

We give up so easily.

I want you to imagine how Abraham felt as he chopped the wood. How must he have felt with each blow of the ax?
I wonder if the tears clouded his vision?

Most of us would have given up before we even started, but not Abraham.
He set out for the place that God would show him.

4 On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.

Now, not only was Abraham waiting on God to show him the place…he also had days to think about what God was asking him to DO.

Here’s the truth: Many of us would give up if we had days, months, or years to contemplate what God wanted us to do.

That’s why waiting is so hard.
  • Maybe God’s called you into the ministry, but you’re waiting on your opportunity. Don’t give up too soon.
  • Maybe God’s called you to wait on something in life…Don’t give up too soon.
  • Maybe God is speaking to you about your future…it seems slow coming…but wait for it…Don’t give up too soon.
  • Maybe God’s called you to be a parent, but things aren’t working out yet…Don’t give up too soon.
  • Maybe God’s made you a promise that has yet to materialize…Don’t give up too soon.

There IS a time for giving up. But don’t do it TOO SOON.
Abraham is going to find out about giving up. But I’m glad he didn’t do it during his waiting period.

5 "Stay here with the donkey," Abraham told the servants. "The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back."

Now here’s the deal…
This statement proves, and shows Abraham’s faith. The Bible further brings this out in other passages.
Abraham truly believed, that since Isaac was his promise from God, that God was able to raise him back up…even after his death.

6 So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together,
7 Isaac turned to Abraham and said, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "We have the fire and the wood," the boy said, "but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?"
8 "God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son," Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.

This statement is amazing.
Here’s why…
It shows that Abraham understood the nature of God.

He might not have understood why God was asking this horrific thing from him…but it proves that he trusted God.

  • Abraham had a deep, personal, relationship with God. They talked together. They knew each other.
  • Abraham understood that what God was asking him to do was outside of God’s usual character.
  • Abraham truly believed that God would provide a sheep.

Abraham also understood another secret…and here it is:
When God tells you to quit, he always provides a BETTER alternative.

You may have been blaming your misfortune on God.
"God told me to _______."
"God said to _____."
"Now just look at my life. I was only following God."
If you’ve quit too soon and your life is spiraling, don’t blame God.

When God tells you to quit, he ALWAYS provides a BETTER alternative.
Gods alternative is the evidence that he really told you to quit in the first place.

9 When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood.
10 And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice.

Imagine the scene…
The knife is in the air.
Abraham and Isaac are both weeping, crying, and if I were Isaac…I would be screaming at my dad at this point!

Abraham hesitates…if only for a moment.

But this is the pivotal moment.
  • This is the moment of obedience.
  • This is the moment where God sees Abraham’s heart.
  • This is the moment when Abraham refuses to quit.
  • This is the moment when his faith is fully tested.

11 At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Yes," Abraham replied. "Here I am!"
12 "Don’t lay a hand on the boy!" the angel said. "Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son."

Here’s the other key point that I want to get across: Don’t quit until God stays your hand.

Abraham was fully willing to go through with the sacrifice. God knew it. Isaac knew it. Abraham knew it.
But in the end, the sacrifice was not what God was really after. What God was really after was every single last fiber of Abraham’s heart.
Once God had it…God stayed Abraham’s hand.

God told him to quit.

If Abraham had quit too soon, it would’ve proved that he DID NOT trust God.
The Lord would NOT HAVE gained Abraham’s whole heart, and the story of the Bible would have made a turn in another direction.

All through this series, over and over, we’ve talked about having a #DoNotQuit attitude, and that is so important, but…
There is a time to quit, and most people get it wrong.

Don’t quit until God stays your hand.
And the proof of God telling you to quit is:
When God tells you to quit, he always provides a BETTER alternative.

13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son.
14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means "the Lord will provide"). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: "On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided."

Repeat that phrase to yourself: On the mountain of the Lord it WILL BE provided.
  • Someone needs to know that your provision is on the way.
  • Someone needs to know that God still takes care of you.
  • Someone needs to know that through the midst of your trouble, God still has a way.
  • In fact, God will make a way where there is no way!

15 Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven.
16 "This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that
17 I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies.
18 And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me."

All because you obeyed.
  • Obedience to God is never wrong.
  • Obedience to God only brings the blessing of God into your life.
  • Obedience is the key to walking in God’s light.

We often don’t understand the tests we face.
We don’t want to go through them.
But on the other side of the test is the blessing.

God is a blessing-giving God.
His desire is to bless you, to help you, to save you, to redeem you, to show you his goodness.
Sometimes he tests us to see where our heart is.

  • Maybe today, you are in the waiting period of your test…Don’t give up until God says "quit."
  • Maybe today, you are in the sacrifice period of your test…Don’t give up until God says "quit."
  • Today you need to be completely obedient…Don’t give up until God says "quit."

So today if…
  • You are in the MIDDLE of OBEYING GOD, and God has changed your direction…
  • Or you CLEARLY heard the voice of the Lord tell you to stop going in your current direction…
  • Don’t quit until God stays your hand.
  • Because when God tells you to quit, he always provides a BETTER alternative.

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