Is diligence an option for the Christian?
Not really. It is necessary for your personal well-being and imperative if you are going to present an accurate picture of Christ to those you encounter.
Diligence is the essence of obedience. Said yet another way—and read closely lest you misunderstand me—the Christian life is more than salvation. It is crucial to know we are justified, sanctified, glorified, and righteous in Christ. But, we must move from salvation toward Christian maturity. As we grow, the ability to reflect the life of Christ in our daily walk increases.
When Peter writes of “applying all diligence,” he is indicating that we must employ every last resource in steady, earnest, energetic application, and thoughtful effort. As Benjamin Disraeli, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, said, “The secret to success is constancy to purpose.”
So after writing previously about the apathy plaguing us in the western church, I issue a challenge for diligence—to myself and to you as well. There are those who will contend that the life of grace does not require diligence. In fact, there are those who will declare my thoughts on the necessity of diligence to be legalistic.
Let scripture be our guide: Peter called for “applying all diligence.” Paul told Timothy to discipline (himself) for the purpose of godliness.” Hebrews exhorts us to “run with endurance.”
Looking back farther, Joseph is an example of diligence as he faithfully administered his responsibilities whether in prison or seated next to Pharaoh. Ruth refused to compromise her loyalty to her family and friends for self-gratification and instead lived a life of diligent obedience. Scripture says of Gideon and his army that they were weary, yet they pursued their enemies.
All of these people struggled to be diligent. They faced hurdles and challenges, and if you review their lives in the biblical record, you will discover that the impediments they faced are similar to the chasms before you.
Diligence doesn’t just occur. It is forged through focused determination. Think back to the story of Henry Knox dragging the guns from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston. An incredible feat, but necessary to win the day.
Now is the time to step back momentarily to gain perspective: Who are you? What are you about? Whose are you? Whom do you represent? Who lives within you?
Jesus Christ is your life and living can only be summed up in Christ (ref. Phil. 1:21). He is your all in all, your everything, your hope, your meaning, your sense of worth. He is your well being.
With this awareness and conviction, now is the moment to put aside whatever encumbers and entangles you. Now is the moment to seize diligence. The day--today--demands nothing less.