Menu Close

Do Not Give Up

Jesus has a clear and consistent message for all of us in scripture. Do not give up. Why do we feel like we want to give up and what can we do about it? How do we build ourselves up with the truth and words of Jesus so we can persevere?

If this resonates with you, please rate, review, and subscribe where you listen to podcasts. For updates follow me @jessejbradley on all socials and for the latest videos check out my YouTube channel Jesse Bradley. The best is yet to come!

Find Pastor Jesse: Online  | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Special thanks to World Concern for sponsoring The Bonfire Podcast.


Welcome to The Bonfire. It’s great to be back together again. The Bonfire is a place where we can gather together, share stories, go deeper in our faith. And we’ve been going for four seasons now in this podcast. And love hearing from you, receiving lots of encouraging notes, emails, texts. Our desire is to build community. And when we hear your stories, they inspire us.

We’re diving into God’s word today. This isn’t really a verse-by-verse Bible study. And for some of you who are looking for that, check out Grace Community Church and the sermons there. At the same time, for some of you, the Bible’s new and I want to acknowledge that. And as we talk about faith, you might be taking a risk. This isn’t what you grew up with and you’re learning some new things. We’re journeying together. There’s a wide range of people listening, but together we want to draw closer to God and walk with God.

God lights a fire in our souls. We don’t want to go through life kind of intimidated, silent, retreating, passive, discouraged. Instead, we come alive because God is love, God is light, God is a consuming fire. And the message today, the theme today is don’t give up. This is a message that Jesus brought to the disciples on so many different occasions. The heart of what he’s saying is don’t give up. He acknowledges that this world has many trials and troubles. You might be feeling the weight of some of those challenges today. Don’t give up.

Why do we give up? Here’s three reasons, three causes. Sometimes we have doubts, sometimes we’re discouraged, and sometimes we get distracted. That combination, that might help you identify the reasons you are tempted to give up. But God is calling you to press on, to not give up, not go sideways, not go backwards, but continue to move forward by faith together. And we do that as a community. Sometimes when we’re alone, we’re tempted in different ways. That isolation can be the devil’s playground. I know if I go for a run and I’m with someone, we’re committed and we’re going to go the distance. But if I’m running alone, I’m thinking to myself, “Should I stop now? Should I just call it a day? Is this enough?” That perseverance is what God helps us to do and there’s going to be some defining moments in your life.

Now, Jesus in Luke chapter 18 tells us parable. And he tells us parable so that the disciples will not give up, so they will not stop praying. When you stop praying, you’re more tempted to give up. Continuing to pray, it’s going to lead to motivation and inspiration. There’s going to be a greater follow through when you’re devoted to pray. Devotion is the answer. Instead of distractions and doubt and discouragement, despair, stay devoted.

Jesus told the disciples to continue to pray and not give up, and then he told the story. The parables are stories that Jesus brings to us and their stories that on the one hand they appear very rational, very every day, very easy to understand. And at the same time, there’s a deeper profound spiritual meaning. Jesus tells these parables to find out who’s really hungry.

Jesus tells this parable of a persistent widow. This widow was going to a judge. The judge was unjust. Unjust because the judge didn’t care about God, didn’t fear God, didn’t care about people, simply doing their job. And in that context, this widow just keeps coming and asking and asking and asking. She wants justice, and the judge is not granting justice. The judge doesn’t really care. Yet, the widow keeps coming. And because she’s repetitive and consistent and persistent, the judge eventually hits the point where even though he doesn’t really care, he makes a decision and grants justice because he doesn’t want to be bothered by the widow. He thinks to himself, “This widow is going to wear me out. She’s going to wear me down and I’m going to make a decision to grant justice.” And it was a selfish motive. He was looking out for himself, yet the widow was the beneficiary.

What does that tell us? God explains clearly that he is not like an unjust judge who doesn’t care. In fact, God is full of compassion. God is full of comfort. God is full of mercy. He abounds in grace. When his people are crying out night and day, God hears, God moves. Jesus told this to the disciples so that they would not stop praying.

Do you know how easy it is to stop praying? Jesus asked them to keep watching and praying, alert for one hour in the garden of Gethsemane and they’d fall asleep, fall asleep, fall asleep. That’s a picture of what’s happening spiritually in so many different areas. People are falling asleep, they’re getting complacent. They’re just going through the motions. They’re not seeking God, crying out to God. They’re not persevering in prayer. And when you stop praying, it’s easy to quit and give up in a lot of other areas. Jesus tells this parable knowing that you will pray and you won’t see the answer right away. Sometimes, God’s going to say no initially. Sometimes God will have a longer term no and redirect you. Sometimes he’s going to say, “Wait.” But don’t stop praying. And as you pray, God hears, God cares.

This is a passage of reassurance to the disciples. And from that, Jesus pivots and says, “Yet when he returns, will he find faith on the earth?” What a powerful question. Jesus drops these questions that make you stop in your tracks. When Jesus returns, how much faith will there be on the earth? That question tells us that a lot of people’s hearts are going to grow cold. A lot of people are going to drift from God. A lot of people are going to say yes to temptation. A lot of people are going to be confused by false teaching and a lot of people are just going to quit and give up.

Do you know some people who are walking closely with Jesus on fire for God, but now they just quit? They give up? I remembered Howard Hendricks told me that the number of people he’s seen fallen in ministry, pastors that have fallen in ministry, when you trace what happened, they stopped abiding with Jesus. They stopped praying. They stopped reading scripture, cultivating those habits that were so strong. That stopped in their life. And when that foundation starts to change, then the fruit starts to change. And I’m telling you, don’t give up in prayer.

The Bible says, “Ask, seek, knock.” In the verb tense, it’s keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. Don’t give up. “Will Jesus find faith?” When you hear that question, there’s something that rises up in us like, yes, we will not give up. We will stand up. We will keep praying. And the devotion gets stronger. When the enemy wants to slow you down, you double down on your devotion. You double down on your intentionality. You double down on accountability. Double down on finding some people who are going to go with you. If you’re struggling to pray alone, find some people who will pray with you.

Remember, when I first came to know the Lord in college, I had a friend, Mua. And Mua was my prayer partner. We’d get up early in the morning. We’d get out of bed. And even though we had early morning jobs and I’d be delivering newspapers, it was time to pray before that, before the day started. Too busy not to pray. And that time with Mua, it started a rhythm in my life. It started a pattern in my life where prayer in the morning, prayer when the day starts. Find someone who will pray with you. It’s all right if you have to pick up the phone and have it over the phone. It doesn’t always have to be in person. But who’s going to continue to spur you on so that you don’t give up? Alone, we give up so much more easily. But if someone else is doing it with you… The disciples, they could look around as Jesus told this parable and has a sense of, “Let’s not give up, let’s keep going.”

Hey, maybe our prayer life hasn’t been so strong the last month or the two months, or maybe it’s just been two days where things started to slip. It’s time to get back in there and pray and get on our knees and stand in the gap and cry out in the intercessors. As we pray together, God brings healing in our land. As we pray together, God moves, God saves, God restores, God redeems. Don’t give up. Keep praying. If you can persevere with prayer, you’re going to persevere in a lot of trials. It really starts with prayer.

We’ll talk about some other things today, but I’m really camping on prayer because that’s the crux of the matter, continue to pray. Jesus told another parable, and this was in Luke 11, and this is a story about a friend who came to another friend at midnight. Do you have someone who calls you, texts you, has requests far beyond your time when you ended work or in the midnight hour? Maybe you have someone like that. Well, the person who was at home and had kids didn’t want to answer the door, and yet the friend kept knocking at the door even though it’s midnight saying, “I need these three loaves.” And the person inside the house said, “I don’t feel like getting up. The kids are asleep.” But the friend kept knocking on the door, “I need the three loaves. I need the three loaves. I need the three loaves.”

And eventually, because of the boldness of the request, the man gets out of bed and gives him the three loaves because of the boldness and the perseverance and prayer. Yes, that’s a prayer. Prayer is simply a cry, a plea. Because of that, the man gets out of bed and answers the request.

As Jesus shares that parable, and the truth about God, is that he is not reluctant. He is not asleep. It’s never too late. You can call out to God in the midnight hour. And God is not like this parable where it’s a reluctance. No. Instead, God is running. He’s thrilled when we pray and pour our heart to Him. He already cares and He hears that prayer.

And here’s how Jesus, again, pivots with that parable. He says after that, Luke 11:13, “How much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit… Whoever asks for the Holy Spirit, how much more will the Father give? How generous is God with his presence?” You can’t ask God for anything more significant or wonderful than His presence. He is our treasure. He is our reward. When you pray to God more than just the blessings from his hand, seek God, seek his face, seek his presence. God’s presence is always our greatest reward. It’s a reminder that God will fill us with the Holy Spirit. As we yield to Him, confess our sins, turn to Him, we’re going to be filled with the spirit. And that’s daily. We all need the Holy Spirit daily. So God will not turn you away as you pray and ask for a feeling of His spirit. He’s going to fill you with his presence daily.

And how much more will the father give? It speaks to God’s generosity. God’s going to give his very best. When the Father sent the Son, He gave His very best, His very greatest sacrifice, His greatest gift to us, His son. And when you consider all that God gives, if He gives salvation and Hee gives us Jesus, who is God and human as our Savior, Redeemer, He gives us the Holy Spirit, God Himself, one God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, the Trinity. We have the fullness of God’s presence. We have salvation, forgiveness of sins. God is so generous, how will he not also give us what we ask? And as we pray, don’t give up. It might help you to remember all the answered prayers God has already. He’s come through, He’s faithful. It might help you to go through the Bible and what are the verses that God is faithful.

For generations, children and families in the poorest places in the world have struggled to find clean water, food, and a chance for a brighter future. But all that can change in this generation. You can be part of the solution. Go to As you participate, this is what will happen. Villages will be transformed far beyond where the road ends. And children and families will receive the love of Christ. You can make a difference. Go to Let’s be part of the solution together.

What’s God calling you to do? Are you tempted to quit? Is it just getting a little too difficult? Are the results not exactly what you wanted? This is common throughout Scripture. God calls Nehemiah to repair the city. That’s a big job. I’ll admit. I’ve been here in Auburn and Seattle for over eight years. I was hoping we would see more change in more fruit than we have in the greater city. I care about our city. I love our city. That’s a big job. And for Nehemiah in that calling, he doesn’t deny it or shrink back.

Sanballat and Tobiah, they always want to take him down, undermine him, intimidate him, distract him, say, “Nehemiah, why don’t you take a break? Why don’t you come down from that work on the wall? You don’t need to build that wall around the whole city. Come down here and talk to us for a while.” Sometimes they try to get legal and political mandates to stop him. Other times they’re thinking physically how they can take him out. There’s other times where they just want him to take a break, a little rest, a little folding of the hands, a little sleeping, a little slumber. Poverty comes on like a bandit. Don’t give in to those first little temptations of “Slow down. Take breaks. Yeah, let’s just…” Even though you don’t have vacation time, you got to lie to your boss or you got to lie about being sick and you’re just trying to carve out more time away and expand the rest beyond what it should be.

Listen, the more you slack, the more you slack. In other words, you say yes to a couple smaller temptations about being lazy, pretty soon lazy becomes a habit in your life. Don’t give into the lazy. You’re going to see that that lazy, the excuses, it’s going to show up in your physical training and staying fit and healthy. It’s going to show up in your work. It’s going to show up in your walk with God. It’s going to show up with your responsibilities around the house. It’s going to show up in relationships. When you start to say yes to lazy, lazy wants more. Lazy is never satisfied, it always wants more. If you’ve got a couple excuses, those excuses are going to grow and they’re going to affect other things.

Nehemiah could have easily come up with the excuses. He could have been discouraged because of work’s not easy. He could have doubted, “I don’t know, maybe God doesn’t want us to do the wall because it’s such a challenge.” He could have had to spare because it’s constant in every turn. Here’s Sanballat. Here’s Tobiah. Here’s this group of people, Sanballat, Tobiah. He got others that are constantly, it’s like darts just in the back. He’s always dealing with these shots.

Nehemiah continues to work. He rallies the people and he says, “Remember our great God. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Remember God.” That’s key when you want to give up, remember God. Those two words. Remember God. And as you remember God, His goodness, who He is, what He’s done, what He’s called you to do, you’re going to say yes to God. You remember God, you say yes to God, devoted to God, find some other people that are devoted to God. You lock arms, they share same purpose and passion and you overcome. Nehemiah builds the wall. Noah builds the ark.

How often do you think in his own thinking? And we don’t know because the Bible doesn’t give a firm account of this, but how often was Noah tempted to think, “You know, it hasn’t really rained before. We’ve never seen a flood like that”? No one else thinks the flood is coming. Don’t be swayed by people. When the culture’s going one way. Don’t just follow it. Come back to the word.

Noah, what was the word? God said, “Build the ark.” Noah, what was the word? God said, “The flood’s coming.” Come back to the word. Don’t be swayed by your emotions. Your emotions won’t lead you well. Don’t be swayed by just your heart’s desire. Sometimes the heart’s deceitful. Don’t be swayed by the patterns of the world. “Well, everyone else is going that way.” Noah’s tuned into the word. When you’re tuned into the word, you don’t quit, you don’t give up. When you spend time in the word, God fuels you and doubts start to disintegrate. Despair is driven out. Discouragement? It’s not going to have the final say. Noah builds. He’s faithful. Now we look back and we say, “Good job, Noah. You didn’t give up.”

Peter didn’t give up. Denied Jesus three times. Have you ever done that? God called you to be a public witness, to share your faith, to stand up to this culture, to spread the gospel, to pass on what you know, to not be intimidated by people but love them and bring in conversations, questions, listening, lead them to Jesus. And you know had opportunities, but what did you do? You just got scared and you shut it down. Three times. And Jesus has called Peter and yet Peter’s even going to deny, “Oh, I don’t even know him.” So it’s beyond silence. It’s denial. Three times.

Does he give up? No, he doesn’t. Does he feel some guilt and shame? Yes, he does. Even make eye contact with Jesus after the rooster crows. Just like Jesus says, “You’re going to deny me. The rooster’s going to crow.” That happens. He looks at Jesus. I’m sure that there’s shame, but what does he do? He comes back to the Lord. He’s restored and he doesn’t make that same mistake. In fact, he starts boldly sharing his faith wherever he goes and people are coming to know Jesus. That’s a turning point.

Don’t quit. Don’t give up. There’s a woman caught in adultery. I can’t imagine anything more embarrassing. I mean, publicly in that context, in that culture being caught in adultery, and now we’ve got people who are picking up rocks to stone her and kill her. And Jesus shows up, writes some things down on the ground. And then the woman, He says to her, “Peace unto you. With your sins, don’t continue.” All right, here’s an opportunity. She could have given up. She could have thought, “I’m worthless. Everyone else has given up on me. They want to kill me.” What does Jesus say? “Here’s my peace. Here’s my forgiveness. It’s greater than your sin. Don’t go keep on sinning. Don’t go back to that lifestyle. Now live. Live for me. Live boldly. Live with grace. Don’t give up.”

If you’ve blown it and that’s the reason that you want to give up, don’t give that mistake too much power. It’s not final. It doesn’t define you. It’s not the reason to give up. Check your heart right now. Why are you tempted to give up? Come back to God. Start praying. If you can’t do that alone, find someone who pray with you and for you. Find a prayer partner. Come back to his word. What has God said in his word?

The Apostle Paul, every town he goes to, there’s opposition. There’s death threats. He’s thrown in jail. It’s not fair. How many times does he want to give up? But what does he say? “I press on towards the goal, that prize in which God has called me heavenward. I’m going to keep going. I haven’t obtained it all. I don’t know it all. I want to keep serving. I want to keep growing. I want to keep learning. What’s been the hardship of your life and the challenge of your life. You learn from that. Don’t give up.” And then that becomes a springboard and then you’re able to help people who have the same struggles. Don’t give up because the story’s not over.

There’s a verse in the Bible. Philippians 1:6, “He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.” God doesn’t quit on you. God doesn’t give up on you. The fact that you’re breathing, the story’s not over. Don’t check out.

The difference between failure and success for so many people, it just comes down to this. Did you quit? Did you quit or did you keep going? Judas blew it. Betrayed Jesus. Sold out for the money. Shame in his life. He quit. He said it’s over. He committed suicide. Suicide is kind of the ultimate “I quit.” Don’t quit. Don’t commit suicide. Life is too great of a gift. There’s help, there’s resources. Call the suicide hotline, talk to a pastor, talk to a teacher, a friend, a parent. Talk to somebody, but don’t quit. You are too valuable. Your life is too valuable.

There’s a jailer who wanted to take his life. Paul saw that and stepped in. Stepped in if you know someone else that wants to quit. Don’t just watch it happen. Paul didn’t watch it happen. Step in. “There’s hope, jailer.” And he shared about the love of the Lord. And as that happened, the jailer’s life changed. The jailer’s family changed. They were baptized, they started to walk with God.

You might know some people who want to quit. You probably know 20 people who want to quit. People want to quit all around you. They don’t say it, but they’re checking. Maybe they’re in one job and God’s called them there and they’re tempted to quit, to give up. Maybe it’s a project, maybe it’s writing a book. I know a pastor that just wrote a book. So many years later, tempted to quit so many times on that journey. And yet he didn’t quit. Don’t quit. Keep showing up. Keep doing the little things. Sometimes remember, when God calls you, it’s not going to be easy. God doesn’t call us to comfortable easy things. The greatest things in the Bible where God shows up and God changes lives, they’re not easy contexts. Revival doesn’t come when things are going smooth, easy, prosperous. The spiritual battle is real. God doesn’t call you to what’s easy.

Also, when God calls people in the Bible, there’s a lot of opposition. There’s fierce opposition. There’s an enemy, literally the devil demons that want to steal, kill and destroy. There are people that are against Jesus and his work. And then there are people who are well-intentioned, but they don’t realize it, but they’re actually undermining the work. All these dynamics are there, and if you give in to them, you give them too much power, what’s going to happen? You’re going to quit. Don’t quit.

So as we think through today, what’s been the message? Jesus starting with prayer tells the disciples to keep praying, don’t quit, don’t give up. Why do we give up? Why are we tempted to quit? Because we get discouraged and we have doubts and sometimes we get distracted. God might call you to do something and it’s on your phone. It sends someone a message and you pick up your phone. And instead of that email to encourage someone, you pick up your phone and it’s a social media feed and pretty soon it’s 30 minutes later and you never sent that. You got distracted. You just watched a bunch of sports highlights and entertainment videos and a couple others. What happened? 30 minutes went by, you didn’t do the one thing God called you to do, led you to do that day.

That’s a little picture of our lives these days. We have so many options and so much stimulation, so many voices, so many things happening at once. It’s hard to stay focused. It’s hard to stay devoted. People are distracted. It’s easy to have doubts these days. False teaching is everywhere. People trying to say, “Oh, I’m going to deconstruct the faith,” and they start removing Bible verses and chapters and removing what Jesus taught and miracles and taking lots away from what God said is in His eternal word. All these things can cause doubts. And when you start to have doubts and discouragement and you get distracted, all of a sudden you’re not as devoted.

What do you do when you’re in that spot and you want to quit and give up? Go to Jesus, and first, look at his example. He didn’t quit. He didn’t give up. He set his face like flint even to Jerusalem. He knew what was coming. I mean, if anyone could have quit, it would be Jesus. And he wrestled with that in the garden of Gethsemane. “Father, is there any other way? I don’t feel like going to the cross.” True devotion is when you move forward even though you don’t feel like it. Even if it doesn’t make sense to you, you didn’t like it, you didn’t choose it, you continue to trust the Father.

Jesus will continue to trust Father God. Why? Because He knows God’s heart. When you know God’s heart, you don’t quit. You don’t give up. Jesus is our example. He’s our leader. He’s the one we imitate and He will also help us to not quit or give up. He went all the way. Jesus went all the way to the cross. He went all the way. Not just becoming human, serving. Not just people spit on Him, beat Him up, but He went all the way to the cross, died on the cross for our sins. People wear a cross right now around their necks. They like it as jewelry. Jesus wore the cross on his back and there were nails through His body. He didn’t give up, set his face like flint and didn’t give up today.

Set your face like flint. Don’t give up. What’s God’s calling on your life? To be a teacher, to write a book, to share your faith? What’s God’s calling? Is it to go to another country and bless the people? Is it to give with your money? Is it to serve in your local church? Is it to raise your kids in the Lord? What is the calling of God on your life? Identify that calling. Identify the threats. Why you’re tempted to give up and then say no. Take those threats, throw them in the trash can, burn them up. Do something so you remove those in your heart, mind, and you move forward and you follow the Lord.

Press on, brother. Press on, sister. The bonfire is a place where we encourage each other, we share each other’s stories. I was tempted to quit when soccer was over, but that was not the end of the story. My soccer career tragically ended, professional soccer. But God uses soccer now as a common bridge and I get to share my faith and still play, and he’s used it in amazing ways. There’s been points in ministry where I feel like quitting and giving up and then God says, “Keep going.” Listen to God’s voice when he says, “Keep going.” It’s not about how comfortable you are. It’s not about so many other things that are distracting. It’s about being faithful to God. God will give you everything you need for life and godliness, but you got to rely on Him.

Today receive from the Lord. If you don’t know the Lord Jesus, receive Him as your Lord and Savior. Turn from your sins and just tell Jesus right now, “I want to follow you. I know you died from my sins, your risen. Thank you for your grace and forgiveness. And Jesus, I’m choosing to follow you.” If you know Jesus, it’s time to get refueled in prayer in the word with some other friends who really want to follow the Lord and not give up. It’s time to get a reset. What are your gifts? What are your calling? How can you start to use those gifts?

It might be time to get some Bible verses and memorize those and meditate on those, and God’s going to use those to fuel you. God continues to bring renewal. He renews our minds. He renews our souls. Don’t give up today, but instead, receive. Receive from the Lord. Return to your first love Jesus, and then continue to move forward in your calling. God has great things ahead for you. And you’re going to see those. You’re going to experience those. You’re going to bless other people if you don’t give up.

Jesus told parables so the disciples would not give up, but they would keep going in prayer and in following the Lord. The one who’s in you, the Holy Spirit is greater than the one who’s in the world. Trust and rely on God today and don’t give up.

Thank you so much for journeying together. The Bonfire is a place we gather, we grow in our faith, we tell stories, we get real. And if this has been a blessing for you, share it with someone else. Rate and review and then send this episode to someone else so that they won’t quit and give up. Let’s persevere together with our eyes on Jesus.

Related Posts