<<stop following, quit>>

“Abandoning the faith” is a conscious choice to turn away from following Christ, making something else the centre of devotion and allegiance (1 Tim 4:1). Satan’s tactics are to turn believers aside from faithfully following Christ, either by a definite resolution of giving up or ‘backsliding’ by growing cold in their relationship with Christ (1 Pet 5:8). There are a multitude of seeming plausible reasons that focus on self and only consider the short-term. David, when discouraged and at low points in his life focused on the Lord (1 Sam 30:6; Ps 42;5,6,11, 43:5). Follow his example, take your eyes off yourself, welcome the Holy Spirit, immerse yourself in God and worship Him.  The present situation that presses so hard against you is, if you are yielded to Christ, the best tool to prepare you for eternity. There are many "why?' situations that we don't comphrend in this world; these require us to walk by faith that God is working good in our lives through them (Rom 8:28; 2 Cor 5:7).

The Bible says the reason why people who lack perseverance don’t last the distance and crash out is because there is no depth of relationship with Christ to sustain in testing times. Such an outcome is not pleasing to God.

Drop-outs are losers (in the long run)

Be determined, making every effort to continue walking with Christ and so ultimately be saved (Mt 7:26,27, 13:21, 24:13; Mk 13:13; Heb 10:38,39). The Christian life is never portrayed as an easy option – “For we must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God” (Act 14:22). Are you going to let the devil defeat you in the area that has been allowed as an opportunity for you to become a conqueror?  With persistence and patience press on towards the goal in Him, using the spiritual authority you have in Jesus to overcome and become stronger through these rough times (Phil 3:14). Problems should push us closer to God, not drive a wedge between us.

Satan who wants to prevent us reaching our God given potential and goals uses a variety of means, both from within and without (Ezra 4:4,5; Jn 10:10).  We are in a battle – God verses Satan. We determine which side receives our allegiance. Our spiritual enemy knows the areas in which we are most vulnerable. It is our responsibility to enlist the Lord's help to resist his attacks (Jas 4:7,8). God is the ultimate victor, so don’t forfeit your place on the winning side. Be an overcomer, not a defeated, broken person.  Although we may fail many times it is only by refusing to try yet again, we become a failure.

Continually affirm His Lordship over your life, be spiritually alert, aware of your vulnerable areas, taking care of your physical body and don’t neglect your daily devotions, remembering you can’t fight the battle on your own – you must enlist God’s help besides being in healthy loving and caring relationships that provide encouragement, prayer and practical support.

By having a long-term (eternal) perspective, with a correct attitude, remaining committed to the divine plan with our eyes on Jesus, we will be blessed because we persevered under trial with the present

hardship working for us an eternal reward (Rom 5:3-5; 2 Cor 4:17; Heb 12:2; Jas 1:12).  He has started a good work in you; don’t abort it (Phil 1:6). Don’t forfeit your inheritance by surrendering to the enemy rather stand firm (Eph 6:13; 1Pet 5:9).  While many people start following Christ, a lot do not continue and consequently their eternal security is in jeopardy (Mt 10:22, 24:13). When many of Christ’s disciples turned back from following Him, those that remained realised that no one else had what they were looking for (Jn 6:66-68).

Don’t give up on Jesus; He doesn’t give up on us. Daily He shows His love to us (Lam 3:21-23).

“If God be for us who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31). “What can separate us from the love of God?” To the natural mind many things can but “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him” (Rom 8:35-39). “Blessed is the person who doesn’t fall away on account of me” (Lk 7:23). Rather than giving up, the Bible instructs us to “Hold firmly to the faith we profess…Encourage one another” (Heb 4:14, 10:23,25). May it be said of us, “You have not grown weary” (Rev 2:3). “To him who overcomes…” indicates persistence and a mindset of not giving in rather a “Hold on to what you have, so that no-one will take your crown” (Rev 2:7, 3:11).

In everyday life situations when the initial excitement or ‘honeymoon’ period is over, factors will arise that must be faced and talked through with honesty.  Instead of considering giving up, we need a change of attitude to “I will bless the Lord at all times…Though everything has gone wrong yet I will rejoice in the Lord” (Ps 34:1; Hab 3:17,18).

Do not make any long-term rash decisions when feeling down

Instead of, in your mind, planning to escape (a negative mental exercise), put those same resources into making the situation work positively for you. All marriages will have trials and times when life would endeavour to break the marriage covenant, and the partners contemplate freedom. Yet genuine love always perseveres; it doesn’t give up (1 Cor 13:7). Stop and visualize what you would lose if you gave up with so much hard work already done. Work at maintaining and strengthening what you already have, being more determined to press through into victory (2 Chr 15:7; Prov 24:16; Gal 6:9). Decide what is not negotiable – what you will not give up – and fight for it. By giving in, we empower that situation and it will be easier to surrender in other areas.

He wants to develop character in us, not providing a comfortable existence in this life. When Jesus prayed, in the garden asking, “If it is possible let this cup [of suffering] be taken away from me…No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour…I want your will not mine” was not a prayer relinquishing His mission of salvation, but rather of submission and surrender to that goal (Mt 26:39; Jn 12:27).  In faith hold onto your dream – Joseph did, and what a blessing he was to so many people because he didn’t abandoned his calling (Gen 50:20).

However, we should give up the sin that so easily entangles, that keeps us from experiencing more of God, and hinders us from successfully completing the race God has for (Heb 12:1). When the Holy Spirit challenges us to give up something it is not to our detriment. While many times we must surrender our rights, we must never give up our responsibilities. Make Him Lord, honouring His rightful

Don't give in but press in, don’t give up but look up

authority in your life (1 Sam 2:30; Mk 12:30).  Jesus said, “No one who has given up anything for me will fail to receive back” (Mk 10:28-31). Jesus wants those whose hand is on the plough not to have second thoughts about the commitment they have made to follow Him (Lk 9:62).

See also: accountability, apostasy, backsliding, character, defeat, discouragement, disillusioned, eternal security, follow, not being ministered to, persevere, positive mental attitude, pressure, support, surrender, test/testing, victory.