Eric H. Liddell was a Christian missionary and Olympic runner of Scottish origin in the 1920s. He played rugby as well to a degree but he was mostly known for his athletics exploits.
His life was the inspiration for the 1981 Oscar-winning movie, Chariots of Fire. Eric was a devout Christian and at one point refused to run a race that took place on the Sabbath.
After his running days he went to China where he did a lot of missionary work. Sadly he died at the young age of 43 from a brain tumor as a result of overwork. He used to exert himself to extremes in everything that he did.
Here are 7 of some his best quotes about living with purpose:
1. “The secret of my success over the 400m is that I run the first 200m as fast as I can. Then, for the second 200m, with God’s help I run faster.” ~ Eric Liddell
This is an interesting analogy of how we must live our lives as we serve God. God requires your best effort in whatever you do for him, whether in your career, ministry, relationships, etc. When you give your best, you eventually get to a point of exhaustion and perhaps weakness.
This is the point that most people give up on their pursuits, because they feel like they can’t go any further. But it’s at this point where God’s power kicks in to carry you through to the finish line; if you give up halfway, you won’t get to experience the amazing power of God working in your life.
The next time you feel like giving up, remember the words of the Apostle Paul – “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
2. “Obedience to God’s will is the secret of spiritual knowledge and insight. It is not willingness to know, but willingness to DO (obey) God’s will that brings certainty.” ~ Eric Liddell
There’s a big difference between knowing and doing something. A lot of people believe that knowledge is power, which isn’t exactly an accurate statement. Knowledge alone is not enough, it is applied knowledge that translates to power. The same applies to your relationship with God; applying his word and following His will translates to power in your life.
Obeying God’s will helps you know Him at a much deeper level than just knowing His will. In fact, you never really master a skill or anything else until you’ve put it into practice.
3. “If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.” ~ Eric Liddell
Loving Christ is seen by your obedience to His commandments. The Bible says that loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength and mind is the most important commandment. The next most important is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Living by these two commandments enables you to run a straight race and bring God glory.
Keep in mind that you can’t claim to love God if you hate your neighbor whom you have seen. The reason why that is so is because God Himself is love; and if He dwells in you, you’ll have the capacity to love the people around you.
4. “The kingdom is where the King reigns. If He is reigning in my heart, then the Kingdom of Heaven has come to me.” ~ Eric Liddell
As the Bible says, the Kingdom of God is not a mystical place that’s far away from you. If you follow Jesus Christ, His Kingdom lives inside of you. This is why you can establish His Kingdom in your spheres of influence. Some of the critical areas where it’s needed include governance, business, family, media and the arts.
Whatever your sphere of influence, that’s your area of ministry. Ministry isn’t restricted to just the four walls of the church, it extends beyond them. Take it upon yourself to be salt and light in your spheres of influence using your God-given gifts.
5. “Every Christian should live a God-guided life. If you are not guided by God, you will be guided by something or someone else.” ~ Eric Liddell
When it comes to allegiance, it’s either you’re serving God or something else other than God. And in many cases, anything else other than God, tends to draw you further and further from Him. This usually happens when we want to satisfy our flesh in one form or another.
But when you allow God to guide and direct your steps, the things you desire come as a by-product. Instead of personal ambition being your focus, let God be your main focus and He’ll take care of your needs. He promises that if you seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, all other things will be added to you.
6. “Anyone who, neglecting that fixed hour of prayer, [will] say he can pray at all times but will probably end in praying at no time.” ~ Eric Liddell
Prayer is an integral part of the Christian life that must be prioritized every day. It’s how we build our relationship with God- to know and follow His will, and to thwart the enemy. Having a set time to pray every day keeps you focused and prevents you from being sidetracked. When you pray randomly, you end up forgetting to even pray at all.
When that happens, it gives the enemy an opportunity to strike when you least expect him to. Most people are motivated to pray only when they’re in trouble, and then relax when everything seems fine. To be on the safe side, commit to a fixed time of prayer and stick to it.
7. “Learn in the days of ease and comfort, to think in terms of the prayer that follows, so that when the days of hardship come you will be fully prepared and equipped to meet them.” ~ Eric Liddell
In your seasons of peace and quiet, it’s wise to prepare for the coming seasons of turmoil. It’s not a time to entirely relax and do nothing, it’s a time to build yourself up. This might mean adding to your education to position yourself for better opportunities. When you take advantage of those opportunities, they’ll provide a hedge of protection against the storms of life.
Preparing for the storm when it has already arrived is usually too late; there’s not much you can do at that point. Ask God to help you know what to do at every stage of your life.