Today we will discuss the concept of diligence. God has spoken about diligence many times in the bible. Diligence is connected with faith. What is diligence? It is key in the working out of faith. Some of you have been taught that it is all about faith and you can just 'name it and claim it' and stand there whilst things just magically happen, but I am going to show you that there is an element of work that we need to carry out to fulfil the purposes of God in our lives. In James we read:
James 2: 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
So what do we learn from this? Yes, we need to have faith, but we also need to act diligently to work out the purpose of that faith, then it will be credited to us as righteousness and we will receive the reward.
In Heb 6:10 we read: God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
So the first point is - we read that God notices YOUR WORK AND THE LOVE for his people.
My question to you is: what is YOUR work? What are you here for? If you know this already, then great! start using the gifts God has given you and put them to good use. Your gifts should serve the kingdom and the people of God. There are plenty of ways to serve, even if you do not know what your gifts are there are jobs to be done. The bible says: Do everything as unto the Lord, meaning that we should apply ourselves, because we are serving God, not man.
God never meant for the kingdom (and it's provision) to only benefit our lives. He wanted us to do this kingdom life together. You can read about that in the old testament, when Israel finally entered the promised land, the tribes had to help each other to claim their part of the inheritance. In the same way, God desires for us to help each other. How are you serving your faith community?
The word diligence means:
To make an effort
Do you apply yourself? Do you turn up early for things? Do you finish your work, or do you slack off?
In Heb 11:6 we read: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.
Rom 12:11 Never lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour serving the Lord.
Ezra 7:23 Whatever the God of heaven has prescribed, let it be done with diligence for the temple of the God of heaven.
When you do things for God, do them to the best of your ability - God will reward diligence. This means getting on with it, not being lazy, applying yourself; even when you don't feel like it. There is a reward in it for you!
Prov 12:24 The diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labour.
It is not just God who looks for diligent workers, those who get on with things and get the job done. People also look for diligence. Your boss will be looking for diligence; he/she will be watching you to see if you turn up on time, if you apply yourself or if you take every short cut and leave things unfinished. Remember, diligence is highly valued by God.