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To Quit Or Not To Quit

Updated on October 27, 2013
  "Defeat doesn't finish a
   man--quit does. A man is
   not finished when he's
   defeated. He's finished
   when he quits."
     ~Richard M. Nixon~

The 37th president of the United States experienced many public failures & defeats, yet he kept rising above them.
The 37th president of the United States experienced many public failures & defeats, yet he kept rising above them.

Failure

Failure only becomes defeat when we surrender to it, wallowing in its muck of self-pity. Our natural inclination is to give up instead of getting up, dusting off, and pressing on. 

Quit is a voice that speaks loud and clear in our culture. It cries out incessantly, making it too easy for us to fall into a quagmire of depression and hopelessness.

Failure is normal. The only way to avoid it is to permanently keep our mouths closed and do absolutely nothing. Failure is inevitable—part and parcel of life.

It is the universal human drama that plays itself out again and again, though seldom do we address it honestly. We skate away from it without assimilating valuable life lessons or we quit and withdraw into a shell of defeat.

We fail—probably more often than we admit. We say the wrong words, do the wrong thing, miss an opportunity or make poor decisions. Failure can create serious consequences, strained relationships, and bouts of insomnia, but it is not fatal. If failure were fatal the church would have never come into existence.

The Last Supper as portrayed in "The Passion of the Christ".
The Last Supper as portrayed in "The Passion of the Christ".

Simon Peter

A first-century fisherman named Simon Peter failed. He had set aside his livelihood to become an integral member of Jesus of Nazareth’s inner circle, but at a crucial juncture, Peter personified failure. His crisis of faith is recorded four different times in the world’s all-time best-selling book.

When Jesus gathered his disciples in an Upper Room to commemorate Passover together, he spoke openly of an impending crisis that would cause his friends to scatter like sheep.

Headstrong and brash, Peter refused to hear such talk. He boldly declared: “Even if all fall away, I will not. Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

Later that evening, Jesus was seized by temple guards, bound, and taken away to be interrogated by high ranking officials of the Sanhedrin Council. Peter and John followed at a discreet and safe distance, with John managing to get inside, while Peter held vigil outside.

The kangaroo court’s quest for mock justice dragged on through the night. Jesus didn’t receive any of the rights or legal niceties we’d call due process. Hearsay and manufactured evidence were the key pieces of the prosecutor’s case.

Reading the accounts one gets a sense that the arrest became headline news along Jerusalem’s grapevine network. Servants and officials gathered outside, kindling a small fire against the chill.

At some point, Peter joined the cluster around those flames to warm up, and he was recognized as a Galilean who had been with Jesus.

As the fingers of dawn stretched in the eastern sky, Peter vehemently claimed that he wasn’t even acquainted with Jesus of Nazareth—not once but three times.

After a little while, those
standing near said to Peter,
"Surely you are one of them,
for you are a Galilean." He
began to call down curses on
himself, and swore to them, 
"I don't know this man you're
talking about."
     ~Mark 14:70-71~

Harsh Reality

Peter’s denial is an event we all identify with because it illustrates well the human dilemma—the constant tension between our ambition to be faithful followers who desire to know Christ and the harsh reality of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

It reveals the obvious distance between our willing spirit and our weak flesh; the discrepancy between our wanting to do something with our faith and our failure to follow-through.

Peter can be a mirror for us. That rough and tumble fisherman spent three years in close proximity of Jesus, living, working, praying, and worshiping with him. Theirs was a strong relationship of mutual respect.

He saw Jesus cross cultural lines to engage in social and racial reconciliation at the risk of alienating his own countrymen. He heard Jesus refer to God as a Heavenly Father whose love extended to everyone; he was present when Jesus confronted religious bigots who practiced the politics of exclusion.

It was Peter who first acknowledged that the onetime carpenter was “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

And one day on a remote high mountain, it was Peter—along with James and John—who stood in slack-jaw awe, an eyewitness to eternal glory when Jesus was transfigured before them.

Yet when push came to shove, Peter failed. With curses and swearwords, he distanced himself from Jesus. His pretensions of loyalty were stripped of all virtue in a crushing hour of personal failure.

Have you ever experienced the restoration & redemptive power of God's grace?

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Redeeming Grace

Have you ever felt like Peter did on that fateful day? He could have been finished. However, God is in the business of redemption, transforming failure into spiritual growth. Filled with remorse, Peter repented in spasms of heartfelt weeping.

Quit wasn’t part of his genetic makeup. Peter licked his wounds, accepted grace, and experienced restoration. He discovered what we all must learn and apply: Failure is not the end of a believer—failure is the place where God shapes us for his purposes.

Our Heavenly Father is always ready to forgive and forget failure. There is nothing we can do that will cause God to love us more than he already does. The flipside is equally true—nothing we can do will cause God to love us less than he already loves us.

So don’t be defeated by failure—get up and go in God’s redeeming grace.

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    • RevLady profile image

      RevLady 7 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      A graceful message to read first thing this lovely Lord's morning Ken.

      I support and strongly agree with you that the realistic Christian is prepared for momentary defeats, but we never go into permanent retreat. As long as we refuse to give up, we are still in the running. As long as we, Like Peter, pick ourselves up from a fall, dust ourselves off, learn from the experience, and bounce back, victory still remains a possibility.

      I believe all those struggling to rise in faith and hope always have God on their side. We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us so.

      Love and peace,

      Forever His,

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      RevLady - Thank you for your thoughtful words of affirmation. As Paul wrote, ". . . suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us . . ."

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I have often resorted to "just plugging along" when I've been discouraged in one endeavor or another. A positive attitude would be better but I selfom attain it.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 7 years ago from Arizona

      Ken, an awesome morning hub. It comes as an embarrassment to me when I have to recognize failure of doing right versus doing what feels good. The old saying "If It Feels Good, Do It" came with super glue, it's stuck in my mind and though I don't say it anymore at times I find that I'm still applying that thought process. Anyway, for me, I have to stop and do a self examination of my actions and convict myself then set right my wrong and move on. I think it's far better to recognize and set right now than to have to stand and hear "I never knew you" before being thrown into a pit with the worlds greatest trickster. A friend recently had a triple hit, his father was dieing from cancer,his mother was hit with Alzheimer disease, then his wife was diagnosed with a cranial tumor. I was/am close to his whole family. His mother woke up and didn't know anything or anybody with the blink of the eye,it was called amnesia at first, but it was the same every day and they settled on the diagnosis of Alzheimer disease, she died one night after the final decision, then his fathers problem struck and during his chemo treatments he died one night, he called me crying after his wife was checked and the tumor found. This was in a time of maybe 3 months, I went to see them. I stayed and went to the hospital with them and waited through the surgery. She came out well, the surgeon carried the tumor in a covered jar out and it was as big as an orange I was shocked as I'd seen her suffer with headaches for days at a time. I finally, broke down and made an appointment for her to see my neurologist, after calling him he told me that folks with migraines didn't suffer from them for those type of time periods. Anyway back to topic, we just cannot know when it's coming and what is going to happen, so we HAVE TO be at the top of our game because the bet that has been placed on each life is death and the first is not the one that kills you, it's the second, but after the first our time to change our heart is over. Great topic!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      dahoglund - There is a lot to say about just "plugging along" through stuff. I do it quite often. Thanks for the visit & good words. Much appreciated.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Dusty - Thank you for sharing. I've said quite often that life is hard...because it truly is--that Alzheimers is a devastating disease. It is a prison. Horrible. Anyway, peace & blessings to you. And keep plugging away.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Ken, An excellent message this morning. I often identify with Peter because and he is such a great example to learn from. God spoke to me 25 years ago and told me that He had always been with me and to never doubt Him. I have never been the same since that day. I know many might think I imagined that but I know better. He is an Awesome God! God Bless you Ken.

    • Timely profile image

      Timely 7 years ago from United States

      Wonderful, God never quits on us! He leads by example:)

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Pamela - Thank you for sharing uplifting words of testimony. Peace & blessings to you.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Timely - Thank you for visiting & sharing. Blessings.

    • Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

      The IGNITER vs Corrupted Governments 7 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

      Ken! Beautiful hub..I for one am not one to give up-quit-give in! Loved this hub and yes--heartfelt weeping.

      God often will strip us of everything only to rebuild us-redesign us the way he wants us to be!

    • Faybe Bay profile image

      Faye Constantino 7 years ago from Florida

      Excellent message. My dad called me the Doubting Thomas, as I was growing up because I always had to learn from my mistakes, rather than accept the advice of others who had failed before me. I guess I am still that way. Rating you up and bookmarking. I still never quit, but I do still fall.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Ghost Whisper - Thank you for your kind & encouraging words. Take care & keep pressing on.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Faybe Bay - Thank you for stopping in & sharing. And for rating it up. Peace & blessings to you.

    • Unchained Grace profile image

      Unchained Grace 7 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Ken, I once had a DI (Drill Instructor) whose favorite saying was,"Failure is not an option." While this was obviously a motivational speech, failure is a necessary option. What we do with it is a direct indicator of who and what we are.

      The key issue, of course, is to identify if possible why we failed. Knowing this will set us on the right track and hopefully we'll not experience that same failure again.

      Peter indeed failed. He spoke loudly in the beginning and yet when the test came he failed. His words meant little when he failed to back them up. Still, he didn't quit.

      Was Judas, in the end, a quitter or had he failed a test? Clearly, he quit. I often wonder where things might've gone had he not quit. While this is purely rhetorical, what, if anything, could we learn by examining the possibilities had he not quit? Some argue it was predestined that he sell out Jesus. Others say he was caught up in a momentary issue. Either way, when we quit, we never will know what the outcome could have been had we hung in there.

    • A M Werner profile image

      Allen Werner 7 years ago from West Allis

      Ken, thank the Lord for His Holy Spirit, that still small voice that we can invite into our lives when those dark moments of failure try to overwhelm us, when regret tries to strangle us, when indiscretion tries to shame us. In Christ, a live dog truly is better than a dead lion. As long as we have hope, no mountain is insurmountable. Peace.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Unchained Grace - Thanks for your good words. I have considered Judas & actually almost included his storyline in this Hub, but as you allude, it's speculation. Peace & blessings to you.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      AM - Amen to your words. Thank you. Hearing & responding to that still, small voice is essential to going forward in our faith. Blessings to you.

    • UlrikeGrace profile image

      UlrikeGrace 7 years ago from Canada

      Ken, wonderful hub...as you have now heard...and do we need a hub like this? All the time. Failure is not a one time thing. In fact it is sometimes a repeated failure in the same vein that gets us so we don't want to get up...it's the little foxes that ruin the vine. So we need to hear time and again that failure is a teaching tool of the Lord. No He doesn't want us to fail but He does want us to know we need Him...for all things, big and small.

      Have stumbled, Digg, and rated this. Again Ken, bless you for writing for God's glory.

      UlrikeGrace

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      UlrikeGrace - Thank you for your kind & generous words of affirmation & encouragement. That's a great reference about the "little foxes" that ruin the vine. Peace & blessings to you.

    • quietnessandtrust profile image

      quietnessandtrust 7 years ago

      The only thing I want to quit...

      Is to stop being afraid of the face of men.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Amen, quietnessandtrust.

    • MrTooree profile image

      MrTooree 7 years ago

      Great hub !!! I fall a lot, and have to pick myself up a lot. All my failures end up being stepping stones on the road to success, because that just shows me one more thing not to do. Thanks !!!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Mr Tooree - You're welcome. Thank you for that great metaphor of failures being stepping stones. That's a good one.

    • Saintatlarge profile image

      Saintatlarge 7 years ago from Canada

      What's the saying. "If you're not failing in life you're just no trying hard enough" or something like that. That's what i love about the Bible and all the patriachs we look up to and measure ourselves against. They ALL had their flaws and failed and yet they made the honor role.

      We are not excluded, halelujah, because our hope is in HIM who has done everything for us. What a wonderful God we serve. Amen... Blessings Ken

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 7 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      Failure is a path all to well known by me, but defeat is a word I never learned. It is not in my dictionary. God has always been with me, yes he even has warned me of bad things coming, but I'm stubborn and thick headed at times and think it aint going to happen to me. Blink and there it is staring me in the face. WOW! How stupid can I get.

      Thank goodnes God is always there to pick me up and dust me off, after one of these little lapses of memory and hearing. He is there to sustain me no matter what.

      Our Father, child, just like the prodigal son. Screw up and crawl back home but to a loving caring daddy. Wow! Thank you Father for caring so much.

      Sincerely in a love for God,

      Brother Dave.

    • profile image

      coffeesnob 7 years ago

      Ken,

      I know I have shared on hp before in somecontext a stanza to a favorite song. It goes: "I stand, I fall, You take my hand; and give me grace to stand again. You teach and test me we try again, until I understand. I try, but I fail miserably; you pick me up so patiently, and walk me back where we began and we begin again.

      I still find at times I am afraid of failure, but then I remember God's remedial love and it gives me courage. I have failed all to many times and yet He chooses to lift me up. I agree with 50 cal. we have to be on top of the game, and always keep our hearts pointed toward him.

      Blessings

      CS

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Saintatlarge - Thank you for your thoughtful words. You are exactly right about the characters in the Bible. Not sure why we clean them so much that we miss the fact that they were flesh & blood human beings who stumbled, fell, failed, & often screwed up. To me, their foibles & flaws, simply makes God's grace all the more real & amazing.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Dave Mathews - Thanks for visiting & sharing good insights. Appreciated this one: "...it ain't going to happen to me. Blink and there it is staring me in the face. WOW! How stupid can I get." I have been there, done that more times than I care to admit out loud. :>) Blessings to you.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      coffeesnob - Thank you so much for sharing those lyrics here. I am not familiar with that song, but cerainly appreciate the words. Peace & blessings to you.

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 7 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      My dearest Ken...

      Your words speak the truth so clear that even a hearing impaired brother would hear you! Many successful stories and achievements have come to pass where a crushing, demoralizing failure has taken place previously. It just takes true faith. Incredibly enough, that is all it takes! thanks for sharing such beautiful reminder!

      Thumbs up and stumbled!

      Warmest regards, love, light and many, many blessings,

      Al

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Al - Thank you for your very encouraging words. And also for the thumbs up & stumble. Blessings & much encouragement to you.

    • ladyjane1 profile image

      ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

      Very nice hub Ken and very encouraging to people who feel like failures or who feel the need to give up. You are always so inspirational. Thanks.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      ladyjane1 - You're welcome. Thank you for your kind & generous words. Very much appreciated.

    • susansisk profile image

      susansisk 7 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Very good message. You are spreading Christ's word, and standing up for him. Keep on with what you are doing.

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Another inspirational hub!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      susansisk - Thank you for your affirmation & kind words.

      carolina muscle - Thank you.

    • SummerSteward profile image

      SummerSteward 7 years ago from Duluth MN

      A beautiful message... inspirational and filled with clear perception. Thank you!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      You're welcome, Summer. Thank you for visiting.

    • SummerSteward profile image

      SummerSteward 7 years ago from Duluth MN

      No problem.. I'm sure I'll be back.. with a hot cup of morning java!

    • profile image

      bob knapp 7 years ago

      Thanks for your words of encouragement, Ken. Fear of failure can be paralyzing, sapping the soul of the perseverance necessary to keep trying. I know from whence I speak & it is obvious you are a kindred spirit. Love you, brother!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thanks, Bob. I appreciate your sharing. Blessings & much encouragement to you.

    • Rafini profile image

      Rafini 7 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful message so many need to hear. (including me!)

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Rafini - You're welcome. Thank you for stopping in & sharing. Be encouraged.

    • Lynda Gary profile image

      Lynda Gary 7 years ago

      Excellent!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thank you, Lynda.

    • Ladybird33 profile image

      Ladybird33 7 years ago from Fabulous USA

      Gosh, this is powerful and wow, just makes you think. Wow!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Ladybird33 - Thank you for stopping in & sharing.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

      I will borrow your words Ken "It reveals the obvious distance between our willing spirit and our weak flesh; the discrepancy between our wanting to do something with our faith and our failure to follow-through." that is important to me,

      and yes there is always redemption, how many times did it happened to me and many people out there, who are weak at times. The most important thing is to know that Jesus is just waiting for us to approcah HIM again, thank, Maita

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Malta - Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I appreciate your perspective. Blessings.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Ken Arbell, Insightful and thought provoking hub! "It is by His Grace we are saved!" It is by His Grace we must always continue to press onwards and upwards!

      Yes! Peter saw Jesus; "... social and racial reconciliation at the risk of alienating his own countrymen. He heard Jesus refer to God as a Heavenly Father whose love extended to everyone; he was present when Jesus confronted religious bigots who practiced the politics of exclusion." Amen! The Lord is speaking the Word of God is being fulfilled!

      Jesus is truly coming back for His Church not made by hands! It is in Him we can always have HOPE! One must only "BE STILL and KNOW"!

      Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      DeBorrah - You're welcome. Thank you for your affirming words & observations. Blessings.

    • heart4theword profile image

      heart4theword 7 years ago from hub

      Like some say: we don't plan to fail, we fail to plan. Another great read:) Thank you!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image
      Author

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      heart4theword - Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.

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