God Probably Wants You to Finish What You Started

Love endures all things

These days, people often break up with boyfriends or girlfriends or file for divorce because they aren’t happy, as T.D. Jakes said during a sermon titled “Defying the Urge to Quit.” But if you’re a Christian, God probably wants you to finish what you started. After all, as Jakes said, the Bible says, “Love beareth [all things].” And since it also says “the steps of a good man are ordered by the lord,” he probably led you into that relationship for a reason. Probably.

Why T.D. Jakes Had to Defy the Urge to Quit

“I hadn’t been taught to take anything,” Jakes said. “I was the baby of my family. … I had not been nurtured to bear anything, to take anything. And being a man was hard work because I didn’t have anybody to show me, and it’s hard to be what you cannot see.”

Why Other People Quit

“See, some people quit because things are out of control,” Jakes said. “Nobody quits what [they] can control. But the moment you get into something where you don’t get your way, or you get reprimanded, or you get corrected, or you go through this, or you go through that, or you go through the other, or it’s bad conditions or bad circumstances, the first thing the immature mind says is, ‘This is ridiculous. I quit.’ …

Quitting Is a Sin

stripping is a sin

“See, when you come to church, we’re always talking about sins of the flesh … [and] we give those things so much stage that being a weakling in the spirit can go undetected. If you aren’t doing drive-by shootings and muggings, you can pass for a Christian … as long as you don’t do anything horrific. I mean, if you didn’t climb down a pole to come to church this morning, you can pass for a mother in Zion. And the truth of the matter [is], nobody will know that you can be well as it relates to visible sins [but unwell as it relates to invisible sins].

being fickle is a sin

“The Bible calls them sins of the spirit. The Bible talks about sins of the flesh and sins of the spirit. There are some things that attack your flesh, and there are some things that attack your spirit. … This is something that I have noticed: … some people who have a terrible time controlling their fleshly sins can have real good character as it relates to other areas of their life, and other people who don’t smoke and don’t drink and don’t chew [tobacco] and don’t run around with them that do, you can’t find out what’s wrong with them until you marry them or get on the job with them or interact with them. They will pass for holy until you find out that they don’t keep their word, that they will give up easy, they don’t complete their assignments, you can’t trust them to stand by you, and, no, they wouldn’t take a drink for nothing in the world, but they [also] wouldn’t fight with you in a lion’s den … You’d almost rather have the other person [with you] than to have somebody who is morally good and their character is so defected that you don’t know what they’re gonna do from one moment to the next. …

“I never will forget, as a young minister, newly married, I had a friend of mine who was much older than me who was going through a real tough time in his marriage, and I didn’t even support or believe in, for that matter, divorce at that time, but his marriage got so bad [that] I told him, ‘You ought to get out.’ I said, ‘You ought to just get out.’ I watched him suffer so bad [that] I thought, ‘You ought to quit.’

divorce is quitting

“He was so lonely that he got a dog and named it Friend. Oh, no, no, I’m not being funny, I’m serious. See, you don’t know what people go through behind the scenes, trying to cope with life. And I watched him take so many blows in his heart, in his masculinity, in his character that it was so hard to watch. I wanted him to divorce her so I didn’t have to see it.

“He stayed, and things got worse, and then they got better, and then they got worse, and then sickness came in, and then it got really bad — throwing up on him, urinating on him, cleaning her up. You see, you can go through stuff and never know what’s gonna happen down the road or who you’re gonna need. My mother used to say, ‘You never know who’s gonna have to pass you your last glass of water.’

till death do us part

“And he stuck it out to the end — I mean to the end. And I was at the funeral, listening [to] him scream and cry over a person who I knew had broken his heart into pieces over and over again and yet there was some bond between them deeper than what my young eyes could see. And I remember thinking, ‘You finished.’ I had never seen it before. ‘You finished. You went all the way to the end, for better and worse and sickness and health and richer and poorer, you went through all of that stuff all the way to the end.’ It was amazing to see somebody who finished outside of convenience.

The Apostle Paul Refused to Quit

Photo: Masterfile

“[The apostle] Paul writes to Timothy and says, ‘I fought a good fight,’ letting him know being me is not easy. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not in my suits. You can get suits like me, but they won’t make you stand like me. I fought a good fight, baby. I fought one hell of a fight. Are there any fighters in here? [Tell someone], ‘I fought a good fight. I fought my way up, I fought to get to work, I fought to get up on my feet, I fought to stand, I fought to carry on, I fought to love, I fought to live, I fought to get out of the bed, I fought with my fears, my doubts, my anxieties, my insecurities, I fought with haters, liars, backbiters, and betrayers. I even had to fight with family, and many times I laid in the bed, I couldn’t go to sleep because I was fighting with myself. I fought!’ …

“The old man tells the young man, ‘I fought a good fight. You might not have seen it. You saw the glamour, you saw the healings — be healed, be healed, be healed — but let me tell you what you didn’t see. I fought to do that. Fought a good fight. I kept the faith. I kept it. I lost a lot of stuff. I lost a lot of friends. I lost a lot of strength. I lost a lot of courage. I lost a lot of time. I lost a lot of money, but I kept down on my knees, I was still believing. Broke, I was believing. Lonely, I was believing. Betrayed, I was [believing].’ …

How to Keep Going: Keep the Faith

“If you lose a job, keep the faith. If you lose a spouse, keep the faith. If you bury your child, keep the faith. If you have to downsize, keep the faith. If you have to move in with your momma, keep the faith. If you’re at your wit’s end, keep the faith. If you have to catch the bus, keep the faith. If you have to [hitchhike], keep the faith. If you get sick, keep the faith. If you lose your kidneys, keep the faith. If you’ve got heart trouble, keep the faith. You might not get a new heart, but you gotta keep your faith. …

getting an incomplete is quitting

“[Paul said, ‘I finished my course.’] I am concerned because we are living in a world that has become comfortable with going to school and getting an incomplete. The danger of living a life of incompletes. Three or four sets of families, three or four sets of kids. Nobody can count on you to stay. Forget winning. Forget winning. To stay. … Nobody can count on you to stay. To stick it out. To endure. Nobody can count on you past happy.

god never said you would be happy all the time

“They used to come into my office and say, ‘I’m leaving him because he’s beating me.’ ‘I’m leaving him because he abused my children.’ ‘I’m leaving him because he’s homicidal.’ Now, they come in my office, they say, ‘I’m leaving because I’m not happy.’ You’re not happy? Who told you you [were] gonna be happy? What does that have to do with anything? Who do you know in your life that is happy all the time? You quit because you weren’t happy?

“To the person who keeps quitting, you have to live with that infection that you carry — that propensity to never finish. … Somebody in this room, you’ve quit so many things that you’ve lost respect for yourself. … Don’t misunderstand it, you can’t be no wimp now. The apostle Paul got into trouble [and said], ‘Lord, remove this thorn from my flesh.’ He had to pray, he had to go through some tough times. He said, ‘I got so depressed, I got so discouraged, I wanted to die. … I’ve raised people from the dead and couldn’t get the thorn out of my own flesh.’ … [S]till, he finished the course with a God who said no to his own prayer. …

god wouldn't let paul quit

feeling defeated

“Even Jesus struggled with finishing. He goes to the garden of Gethsemane [and] says, ‘I don’t know [if I can do this].’ … He labored in prayer until sweat like blood, blood-like sweat poured through his skin, saying, ‘Can I get out of this? Can I get out of this? Can I … get on a horse and ride away? Can I take a camel and ride away from a cross?’ Jesus says, ‘Daddy, can I quit?’ … Three times he prayed. ‘Help me to finish. Is there a way that I can get out of being me?’ Is there anybody in here who has ever prayed, ‘Lord, is there a way I can get out of being me? Being me is not going so good. Being me is not what it’s cracked up to be. Daddy, can I quit?’

“Finally, he says, ‘Not my will.’ That’s where it is. That’s the whole thing. Not my will means not my way, not my preferences, not my pleasure, not my style, not what I wanted, not what I liked. But [thy will] be done.”

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