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“No man who really is a man ever cared for the easy task. There is no enjoyment in the game that is easily won. It is that in which you have to strain every muscle and sinew to achieve victory that provides real joy.” – Eric Liddell

An Olympic Gold Medalist runner and Christian missionary, Eric Liddell understood the feeling of striving toward a goal. He knew the frustrations and pain of hard work, and the joy of victory. From his experiences, victory tasted much sweeter when it was hard earned, when it came at a cost. As a runner, Liddell trained regularly and intensely, but he faithfully honored God. His example inspires many people.

Like Eric Liddell, National Bible Bee participants have been striving towards a goal all summer. They have been memorizing, studying, and cross referencing their Bible’s with the intent to master the material and grow in the knowledge of God. As the qualifying test approaches, the temptation to give up grows stronger. Just like a runner’s muscles burn as he nears the finish line, their mental muscles are burning. Here are five verses of encouragement, verses to take heart and keep working hard:

In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul exhorts, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Laying aside the past, Paul strains forward, looking to the future. Eagerly he seeks the goal.

In Hebrews 12:1-2, the author reminds us “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Just as Jesus patiently endured suffering, before he received the reward, we too must run with endurance. 

In Ruth 2:12, Boaz encourages Ruth for all her hard work in caring for Naomi. He announces, “The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” We serve a just God and he will reward those who diligently seek him.

In 1 Corinthians 15:57-58, Paul declares, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” Knowing that the victory will come through Christ, we are called to be steadfast, and abound in the work of the Lord.

And finally, in 1 Corinthians 9:24, Paul askes, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” 

So, to all the NBB Summer Study participants, keep pressing on! The sacrifices you have made this summer will be worth it. Be encouraged! God’s word is powerful and life changing, and he promises to complete the work he has started in you.

Written by National Bible Bee Alumna: Tabby Boulware