Tag Archives: quit

Retire, But Don’t Quit

akihito retireUntil WWII, many Japanese believed the Emperor was a god. Japan’s Emperor Akihito is the current holder of the Chrysanthemum Throne, a dynasty that claims to be the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy (legend has it at ~2,600 years).  These days, the position is mostly a figurehead, and no one calls the Emperor a god, but the monarchy remains central to Japan’s identity.

But Emperor Akihito has a problem. Run down from health issues and the demands of his job, at 82 years of age he wants to slow things down a bit. In fact, he would really like to do something that many people take for granted; he’d like to retire.

Unfortunately for Akihito, Japan’s laws don’t allow that! Neither can an Emperor make overtly political statements, such as, “please change the law to let me retire.” Stuck in a tough position, Akihito appealed directly to the people last week. In his address, he made his case, veiled as it was, that he should be allowed to abdicate his throne.

But, while Akihito would like to retire, he isn’t asking to quit.

Quitting is a far cry from retiring. Emperor Akihito doesn’t intend to do nothing. There are ways he wants to serve his people and tasks he has in mind. He simply believes that it is time to change his responsibilities and title. And well over 80% of Japanese agree he should be allowed.

Even God, the only, true God, the Creator of the Universe, rested (Genesis 2:1-3). Since then, matter and energy have been transformed, but no new creation has taken place. God stopped His task of creating and transitioned into a different role.

What about you, friend? Have you retired? Great! But don’t quit! You are never too old to do good works for God’s Kingdom. I hope you never think, “I don’t need to be vigilant in faith…I’m retired!” Responsibilities change, but there is always something we can do.

Jesus said, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” (John 5:17). Let’s follow Christ’s example and keep our efforts alive and well…even in retirement.

Quitting Sin…Cold Turkey?

cold turkeyWhen I was young, I didn’t like taking off Band-Aids. They hurt. So I peeled them back slowly. But, with time, I learned that there was a better way – one quick pull. As we mature, we learn that it is better to face our pain today rather than slowly over time. And, it turns out that science agrees!

According to a recent study on quitting smoking, researchers showed that a group who tried to quit smoking “cold turkey” was more successful than the group who did so over time. Even more telling, was the fact that those in the group who quit “cold turkey” were far more successful at quitting for good. And, with smoking listed as the leading preventable cause of death, according to the CDC, knowing how to quit effectively is important.

Smoking may be the leading preventable cause of death, physically speaking, but sins are, of course, the leading cause of spiritual death. In fact, sin is the only cause of spiritual death. And, unfortunately, the mortality rate is 100%.

Quitting sin is the greatest challenge humanity faces. After all, “all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God” (Roman 3:23), and everyone bears the shame of sin (1 John 1:10).

But, thankfully, there is good news! You can quit “cold turkey!” Jesus expected it: “From now on sin no more” (John 8:11); “do not sin anymore” (John 5:14). Why was that Jesus’ answer to sinners? Because Jesus knew what researchers have discovered…“cold turkey” gives us the greatest chance of success.

You see, the “over time” smoking group was like many Christians are today. They make a decision, but continually long for the old life. They look back like Lot’s wife did with Sodom. They fail, because they fail to sever. Many of us seem to want to quit sin on our schedule rather than God’s. But that method isn’t successful, and God expects more.

So what does “cold turkey” look like, spiritually speaking? Surely, it doesn’t mean never sinning again, does it? No. But an immediate and convicted reaction to sin is the most successful path to righteousness.

When we realize our sins and our condition, we should go before God’s throne like Isaiah did in Isaiah 6. Our realization of sin in our lives and the damage sin inflicts, must cause us to have woeful, repentant hearts. And we should make every effort to sever sin from our lives.

It doesn’t mean we will be perfect. And it doesn’t mean we will be sinless. Quitting “cold turkey” includes putting all my trust in Him to keep me in the fruit of the Spirit…even when I fail. Dying to self is harder when it is done piecemeal, longing for the old life. Living in the love of Christ is a decision that is far more successful when done, “cold turkey.”