Proverbs 22:29 “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men..”
Diligence is described as careful and persistent work or effort. Biblically, this quality is applied more as prudence (planning ahead, forecasting, projecting, or anticipating God’s provision). Being wise is to learn from experience, to deeply ponder the things of God and then acting on them consistently. You may not succeed the first time but as you learn and grow, diligence is knowing the way to go and pressing on.
What does this consistency lead to?
Proverbs 21:5 “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”
What do you anticipate for your walk with God?
If you’re going through temptation, you can rest assured this comes from the enemy or from your own sinful nature. Trials are different, they come as a result of God bringing us through a testing of our faith and this reflects His love.
Strength comes through trial, weakness by temptation.
Anticipating both trial and temptation is what defines the wise. With God, help always comes, whether He leads us away from temptation or strengthens us through the trial, He is always guiding.
The question is: Are we following?
1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Being wise against temptation is knowing where your weaknesses exist. Avoiding the circumstances that lead to your fall, placing safeguards in your life that will protect you and allowing other believers to help hold you accountable to your objectives—all these patterns of purity strengthen you to walk in righteousness.
Knowing where our strength comes from gives us the focus we need when we feel the heat of temptation. Trusting the Lord that His way is better while being guided by His Word brings a steadfast spirit in us that overcomes this world.
Being diligent to every good work is the life of the wise, investing into an eternal reward that will not be stolen or become corrupt is to invest into eternity.
The pattern of eternal life is a path of rest, peace and freedom. No matter what the circumstances, these attributes can be found when your walk is diligent in faithfulness.
Those who practice
When we walk diligently, what values are we expressing?
2 Peter 1:5-7 “ For this very reason, make every effort (be diligent), to add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”
This progression of growth in the life of a believer requires a consistent focus on the prize waiting at the end of the journey. The ultimate prize is Jesus Himself, but until then we must be steadfast in maintaining principles of faithfulness each day of our lives.
2 Peter 3:14-15 “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you.”
Stumbling causes heartache, pain, misery, broken relationships, regrets, shame, and the list goes on. Keeping you from this trouble is God’s love demonstrated toward you. He has shown you the way, now you must walk in it.
2 Peter 1:10 “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;”
As we look at Paul’s exhortation to Timothy, we see his godly influence over a young man who is committed to the gospel. Paul recognized the journey can feel long, so these encouraging words likely helped Timothy in pressing on to maturity.
Our call or election is specific to the way God wants to express His love through you. Remembering what He has lead you in and being diligent to see it through is critical for remaining steadfast, you can be sure the enemy wants to disrupt God’s plans for you.
1 Timothy 4:12-16 “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention (be diligent), to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them(be diligent), that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”
The diligence required to walk in righteousness were expressed for a very specific reason. Studying the Word, sharing the Word and growing in understanding of the Word is key to a follower of Christ. As Timothy progressed, he inspired confidence in fellow believers and the inspiration he gave to others strengthened the church. The precepts the early church were founded upon still remain true today, they don’t come naturally, we have to work at them.
Deuteronomy 6:17 “You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you.
What happens when we neglect so great a charge?
Sometimes it helps to see the alternative to a subject when inspiring yourself to move. The antonyms of diligence are a rap sheet of shame: slack, derelict, impatient, delinquent, negligent, neglectful, lax, inattentive, hit-and-run(a), remiss. Anyone who is characterized by even one of these attributes brings shame not only on themselves but on their family as well. The commandment to Honor your father and mother is violated as well as a host other sins of covetousness, stealing, lying and any other offenses committed by a person that can’t or won’t strive for what is important. Ultimately, we fail to love the Lord with all our heart and we fail to love others when God’s guidance and direction are ignored.
How do we know if we are being diligent? This concept can easily be confused with the ecclesiastical notion of striving after the wind or being a workaholic, which in itself can be idolatrous. If we strive foolishly, without direction, we strive for that which is temporal.
Diligence has its due reward and the reward is well received when performed according to God’s counsel and lead. Even though the diligent man is encouraged in how to follow Christ, the irony is the encouragement is often directed to those who lead.
Romans 12:6–8 “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophecy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Notice that with all the attributes of godliness Paul described, diligence is often reflected in leadership. I would surmise that diligence isn’t necessarily a prerequisite to lead, it is more of a function of good leadership. Those who lead are to be an example to others in conduct and spiritual maturity. The ability to diligently move forward in godliness requires consistency, planning, foresight, and growth in wisdom by the experiences that come through living faithfully.
Diligence is a mark of maturity.
If your desire is to continue to walk in greater strength and maturity, it’s worth considering the attribute of diligence—the reward will be revealed as you go.