Have you ever found yourself muttering those words under your breath? Why?
What stirs within us the desire to give up on something or someone? Last Sunday we noticed that God gives people up when they reject Him on principle, through humanistic-philosophies, and for idolatrous pleasure (Rom. 1:18-32). We see that God gives people over the things that they want more than Him when they consistently reject Him. But why do we give up. Sadly, we do not “give up” the way God does. God is righteous; therefore, when God “gives up” on someone He allows that individual the freedom to indulge in the evil they desperately desire more than Him. Stated differently, God does not force anyone to love or worship Him—He gives us the choice to do so. However, when we give up, it is usually the result of exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, or from the inability to see that value of pressing through the difficult times for the reward at the end.
All of us feel the temptation to give up on God.
Why do we feel like giving up on God? For starters, it’s not because God gives up on us; in fact, the Bible tells us that God will DEFINITELY complete the work He started in us (Phil. 1:6). We feel like giving up on God when we feel distant from God, feel isolated in our sin, feel the guilt associated with sin, and feel the damage of sin. We feel like giving up on God when we are in the midst of a heart change that relocates our source of pleasure in stuff to pleasure in God—the transition period is not always comfortable and makes us feel extremely unsettled! We feel like giving up on God when we face persecution, when feel that we don’t belong in various social groups we once identified with, or when we feel rejected by those we esteemed and valued. We feel like giving up on God when our finances are strained, our health diminishes, and our comforts are absent. We feel like giving up on God when those we love, like, and enjoy are tragically separated from us.
Pain, discomfort, rejection, persecution, and difficulties tempt us to quit our pursuit of God. However, the Bible instructs that these things can ACTUALLY MOTIVATE us to seek the Lord and experience His abiding comfort. While reading the Psalms this morning, I was reminded that the Lord is our source of joy when life doesn’t allow us to find joy. In Psalm 96, the author reminds himself (and us) to fear, worship, and glorify God. Why? Because God is honorable, majestic, strong, and beautiful (Ps. 96:6). The very things that we long for (and experience dejection over when we fail to secure) are eternally found in the Lord! Sure, we can look at the problems, difficulties, pains, and discomforts of life, or… we can look at our marvelous Lord and find an enduring hope, peace, and joy found in Him alone.
The author of Psalm 96 made a conscious choice to look at God and marvel in Him. In response, he experienced joy and excitement at the thought of God coming to the earth—even if it is to come and judge sin (96:13)! Why? Because he knew the Lord as the beautiful, glorious, strong, and one true God. You and I will either find life in God or work to find life in the things outside of God. What do you long for?
Let’s take this a step further and ask ourselves a few diagnostic questions:
I hope this encourages you to enjoy the Lord and find abundant life in Him! I love you and look forward to worshiping with you this Wednesday at 7pm. Until then, strive to enjoy the Lord with someone else today.