10:30 PM

On Friday afternoon I was trying to perfect Hebrews 12:1-11 so that it could move on to the next stack.  I was feeling pretty frustrated with it and Numbers 13:17-32, because they were both holding me back from finishing that stack.  But as I worked on that passage, over and over again, it became an opportunity for meditation, and I realized that this passage is something we all need to remember right now.

We are now 24 days away from Nationals.  If you didn't feel burned out earlier, you do now.  This is the hardest part of the Bible Bee season, because the excitement of finding out that we have qualified has worn off, and we're thinking, "Almost another month!  How can I keep this up for that long?"  Not only are we lacking in motivation, but we begin to feel frustrated with ourselves because of this.  And to top it all off, we're not ready.  Our passages are far from perfect, we still have lots of Greek words and cross-references to learn, and how can we possibly be prepared for General Bible Knowledge?  We are worried about all of this, but we feel too tired to study.  But we have to keep going.

We actually have to endure in order to be disciplined, like Hebrews 12:7 says.  Discipline is practiced endurance.  It isn't easy, but it is incredibly important; not only in Bible Bee, but in all of life.  Think of a runner.  The more they practice, the easier it becomes.  A mile might seem hard at first, but as they build up their endurance and strength, they can do more and more.  A mile will no longer seem so hard.  This is the way it is with Bible Bee.  We must run with endurance (Hebrews 12:1).  Endurance is the only way that we will be able to finish this.  It's really hard right now, but we just have to keep on going.  If we do, it will become easier, and we will be so glad that we didn't give up.

We need to look at the flip-side of this, too.  What happens when you slack off?  It gets harder.  You think, "Well, I already messed up, so I guess that it doesn't make any difference if I slack off a bit more."  I learned this the hard way this summer.  In fact, I must still be a little bit worried that it will happen again, because I recently dreamed that I was looking at blogs on a day that was not a look-at-blogs day for me.  Until I realized that it was a dream, I was really worried that I would slip back into all my Nationals internet no-nos.  Alright, maybe you don't want to hear about my dreams :), but the point is, when you are less diligent for even a short time, it can make a big difference in your work ethic.

The great thing about endurance is that it is rewarding.  We share in God's holiness and yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:10-11).  It holds the promise of eternal life (1 Timothy 4:8). It makes us perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:4).  We will receive what is promised (Hebrews 10:36).  And probably more than anything else, it produces character (Romans 5:4).

One day, we will need the endurance that we practiced now.  Someday, we may be called to endure as Christians in a world that is extremely hostile to God.  We may need the endurance that we used in Bible Bee to help us remain steadfast as we proclaim to the world that we worship the one true God.  Wouldn't you like to think that the faithfulness you are exercising now in this little thing is preparing you to endure as you someday face persecution?  Whatever you go through in life, your endurance now will help you to endure later.

This is worth it!  Press on, and do not grow weary of doing good, because we know that we will eventually reap (Galatians 6:9)!

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