Diligence In The Bible
A deep dive into the word Diligence in the Bible
Meaning of Diligence – What Does the Word Diligence Mean?
Today we are going to study a word that is used over 60 times in the Bible. Is a word that leaders & successful people possess. Is a word that the Bible describes as a “precious possession”. It is a word Christians need to learn how to understand & apply so that we can live a more abundant life.
The word is “diligence” in the Bible!
I want to read you some statistics from a study conducted by Gordon Fraser. The survey was entitled “Why Missionaries fail.” There were 9 main reasons. 3 of the reasons I believe have direct relevance to the word diligence. Let’s look at these 3 reasons now:
- 11% percent of missionaries left the field because of an inability to develop a plan of work or a daily detail so that a satisfactory utilization of time could be accomplished.
- 9% left the field because of an inability to maintain a satisfactory devotional life when isolated from other sympathetic believers.
- 8% left the field because of the inability to prepare accurate or proper financial or operational records or laziness or evasion in the matter of reports & correspondence.
The word we are studying today is the word DILIGENCE!
Pay attention to the following scriptures that use the word Diligence and the principles they imply:
Proverbs 21:5 “The plans of the Diligent lead surely to plenty.”
Proverbs 10:4 “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the Diligent makes rich.”
Proverbs 12:24 “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.”
Proverbs 13:4 “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”
What is Diligence in the Bible?
Diligence is the constant, steady effort to achieve. Diligence has a goal in mind. The key to diligence is consistency and steadiness.
The dictionary definition is: Characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort. The Bibles definition indicates an ongoing process, to work hard to do a thing, to exert oneself.
Diligence in the Bible: Some of the different ways that the word diligence has been translated in English Bibles are: “Take pains in” – “be absorbed in” – “do your best.” Diligence is that urgency in our hearts that causes us to plow on for God then get up the next day and do it all over again.
Let me give you some examples of what diligence is and is not:
- Good student vs. the slacker.
- The steady saver vs. the big spender.
- A diligent person is the one who reads his Bible an hour a day everyday of the week vs. the one who reads it once a week for three hours. At the end of the week which one read the word more?
- Diligence is a choice, it is not a spiritual gift.
- Diligence is something we can apply to our life, we can all choose to be diligent about the things that are important to God!
- Diligence is not perseverance. We must not confuse these two vitally important Biblical principals. Diligence is the consistent, disciplined application of a good strategy until you see success. Perseverance is the continuing of that effort in the face of hardship or difficulty. Simply put- Perseverance is for particularly difficult times, Diligence is for all the time!
Diligence gets a work prepared for, it gets it started, it keeps it rolling, then when the trials and testing come perseverance sees us through those trials, when the trials pass, diligence is still there keeping us going.
- Those of you studying a foreign language know what I am talking about. It takes Diligence to study Chinese and to use it. You must diligently attend class, & diligently study and review, & be diligent to use what you have learned.
- Diligence is not working 20 hours a day for two days then being too tired finish the work week.
- Diligence is the key to balance in our lives. It helps us recognize the right pace to finish the tasks before us.
Diligence in the Bible: What does one who is diligent look like?
- A diligent person is not careless or negligent
- A diligent person sees the finish line.
- A diligent person sees the breakthrough
- They do not see quitting as an option.
- They are not procrastinators.
- They learn to do the hard things first.
- He/she knows that nothing is for free.
Three scriptures that tell us what we should be diligent in:
The diligent person seeks God!
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (NKJV).
We diligently seek God because we have a promise that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Diligently seeking God is Faith’s perfect compliment. Diligently seeking God is proof that someone believes God. It is interesting here to look at this word “seek.” The word “seek” here means to crave or demand. It is not a casual seeking. Like the way a person seeks to enhance their lives, or the way someone seeks a roommate or an apartment. No, this is talking about someone who is starving to find God and know Him more, someone who demands Him. Kind of like the way our children demand something when they want it. It’s all you hear about. You know when someone is hungry for God. It’s obvious.
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ONLY THE DILIGENT HEAR THE WORD OF GOD.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart.”
Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives, He who seeks finds, and to him who knocks the door will be opened.”
We know from studying this scripture in the Greek that the literal meaning is “keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking.” Diligence is implied here.
The scriptures have always implied that hearing from God involves consistency in persistence. We must diligently seek Him.
The Second scripture we will look at, which gives us guidance for specific areas to be diligent in is found in 1 Timothy 4:9-16:
“Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (NIV)
We see here Paul’s encouragement to Timothy is to be diligent in the matters of setting an example, to preaching and to teaching. But it is also interesting to see that Paul tells him to be diligent in the matters of “not neglecting your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message…”
It just seems that many people are not being diligent in the area of their gifts and the area of prophetic words made about them. If God has spoken a word to you multiple times from multiple sources and it confirms what you already sensed as His leading, then you need to go for it. You do not need to wait around until God writes it on the wall. He is a rewarder of the diligent.
We can lose anything God shows us or gives us in the Spirit through lack of diligence. Many times, when God gives us an insight or some direction in our lives, rather than meditating upon it or practicing it until we are established in it, we are careless and unfruitful with it and let it slip away.
You see, a part of diligence is holding onto things that God has given you by putting them into practice until they produce that which God has intended. Think of how many ministries have been started then abandoned because of a lack of diligence. Think of what you could have missed in your life because of a lack of diligence. Stop making excuses, be diligent in the direction God has given you, and use that gift that God has given you. If you know you have the gift of healing or that was spoken over you repeatedly, get out there and pray for the sick!
Diligence in the Bible: Diligence is the Precious Possession!
The final point that I want to emphasize with this sermon is found in Proverbs 12:27:
“The Lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession.” (NKJV)
Now in the NASB it reads “a lazy man does not roast his prey, but the precious possession of a man is diligence.” Clearly, we see that diligence is a precious possession. Laziness is the opposite of diligence. When you close your browser today, please remember one thing about diligence, remember that the Bible describes it as a precious possession. This is a precious possession that each one of us can have. The slothful or the lazy man here went out and killed some game. He took some prey. He did the fun part, the exciting part. But he let what he worked for go to waste because he failed to turn the kill into something useful… food! He did the part that he could tell all his friends about. But the diligent man who has not even gotten his game yet is the one holding the precious possession. The lazy man had possessed an opportunity to eat and provide, but he failed because of laziness. But the one who has nothing at present is looked upon as having the precious possession because he has diligence, and that diligence will guarantee his success. The writer of the proverb knows which one to put money on because of understanding the principle of diligence. I urge you to be diligent in the matters discussed today.
Proverbs 21:5 “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty.”
The payoff for being diligent is plenty. If you want plenty of harvest, plenty of fruit in your ministry then apply diligence to both the spiritual and practical sides of your ministry. Being diligent will result in your success. Success is not the goal; it is just a biproduct of diligent people. The goal is to obey and glorify God with your diligent life.
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