Kyle Idleman, senior pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, recently penned Don’t Give Up: Faith That Gives You the Confidence to Keep Believing and the Courage to Keep Going. Pastor Idleman bases the message of his book on Hebrews 10-12. Regardless of your life story, you need to hear the words don’t give up on a regular basis. Furthermore, Kyle asserts, those three words offer more than comfort. They offer courage. Yet, sometimes when we feel like giving up, what we want is Mr. Rogers. Instead, we need William Wallace (Braveheart) to exhort us to keep running the race. During moments of exhaustion and struggle, it makes a difference to hear voices from the Scriptures. The cloud of witnesses speak real words of power into our struggles. Words we need to hear.
In addition, no great stories involve a risk-free faith. And faith tends not to keep us sedentary. Faith always sends us somewhere and births many a ‘don’t give up’ story. Because an all-encompassing hope powers this faith in Jesus, there’s profound opportunity in moments of desperation. We discover God’s power and presence in a way never experienced before. Most noteworthy, in the deep down dark, the light of heaven rushes in. As a result, when you hold on rather than give up, there’s a blessing on the other side. God gives you Himself. So, Kyle encourages, scrape away every trace of self-pity. Replace it with a fresh coat of praise. Next, identify the things weighing you down so you don’t grow weary and lose heart. Also, transfer – not simply release – your burdens to God.
While anxiety blinds us to God’s blessing, thanksgiving opens our eyes to proactively attack those anxieties. As we focus on how God thinks of us, He sets us free from the debilitating and destructive power unleashed by lies. In contrast, Satan chooses lies as his default way of ruining our lives. But if we can navigate past the lies and ground ourselves firmly in God’s truth, God offers a world where happiness is possible. Creeping indifference, one side effect of sin, creates the opposite result. In fact, the author stresses, every sin anchors its roots in unbelief. We find ourselves uncertain of what God’s said, skeptical of what we don’t see.
Consequently, we must face the obstacles of indifference, insufficiency, opposition, and slow progress head-on as we persevere in prayer. In that way, we run the race marked out for us – one step at a time. As we run the race, it’s crucial to keep God’s plan in the forefront of our thinking, for the love of Christ compels us. Kyle concludes:
“That kind of love gives me energy when I think I have none left. It gets me going when the world seems to throw me into the dirt. It pulls me up and puts me back on track one more time. . . . Let the world do its worst. The love of Jesus is more than worth these light and momentary troubles. Don’t give up.”