Diligence and It’s Impact

Diligence: building on the deep bedrock of “Jesus Is Lord!”

“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.”Prov 10:4

Diligence is a key concept throughout the bible, not just in proverbs! Am I diligent!? Diligent: “having or showing care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties.” What am I diligent for? Money or true riches? What motivates me to be diligent? Is it just accountability (“…they are going to ask me about that, so…”) or is it a consciousness of the very presence of the All-mighty God? A sensitivity to the expectations of man or a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit living in me? Why be diligent I suppose ties into what I am going to be diligent about.

The proverbs of Solomon:

“A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother.”Proverbs 10:1

Why? A dad can move on, let the boy do his own thing with the lingering disappointment in it…but mom? She’s devastated by her son who does evil. He was the apple of her eye, he was that “..beautiful, beautiful, boy…”. A wise son is diligent.

“The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”Proverbs 10:9

When I feel that “pang” of fear when I am driving? That’s because I’ve not driven with integrity, obeying the speed limit in particular.
– When our finances have spiraled out of control? I’ve wanted a standard of living for me and mine. On that, our standard of living has nothing to do with our income, it has everything to do with the joy we share and show our family, our spouses, our children. We TEACH them what to be happy about, we TEACH them what counts in this life, we TEACH them and LEAD them (husbands->wives, wives->Children) by our example(s). There are many in much lower standards of living than a “typical” disciple living in the USA that are much, much more joyful. The standard of living is not based on income, accouterments of wealth, education, retirement planning, citizenship and/or our credit score. The standard of living is based on God, and he’s based on love, and spells this standard out in His Truth, the bible. To strive for a higher standard of living is not to increase income, but to increase our spiritual standard and focus on the things that are eternally important. This is how to avoid a crooked path, and walk with God with integrity. It takes diligence to have integrity.

“Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.”Proverbs 10:12

LOVE covers over MOST? EXCEPT? Nope. ALL wrongs.
– Same in the NT, 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins!”
– Am I diligent in mercy? Do I pursue the “duty” of mercy with “care and conscientiousness?” (Matthew 18:25!)

“The wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.”Proverbs 10:16

Wow. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– The income…what does God punish? Our compromises to raise our standard of living instead of our standard of living for him. “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting[Hebrew: sacrifices] with strife.” Prov 17:1.
– Am I diligent in earning the right wages? How can I be diligent? It’s daily prayer life, a daily time in the word, a daily openness and connection to other disciples, a daily investment. There is no such thing as “diligent” without “daily.”

“When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”Proverbs 10:19

Find yourself doing a lot of explaining? Well, deal with your sin. Less explaining and more confessing! Try starting off with “Let me confess my sin and shortcoming(s) here…” instead of “Let me explain…” Which one do you think is going to garner the trust you’ve damaged in the relationship more? Explaining and justifying or confessing and reconciling? I’ve found when I am trying to explain myself – often I am just being defensive. “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19).
– If I am really internalizing, really listening, I don’t do a lot of talking…besides, if you are accepting that slice of “humble pie” it’s hard (and rude) to talk with food in your mouth. Maybe I should finish chewing (and stewing) on this slice of humble pie…swallow it, wash it down with the grace of Christ, and then say something that shows I did not spit it out whilst you weren’t looking – and feed it to the dog under the table…
– Listening diligently is the start of loving diligently. How can I know how to love my wife, my kids, my brothers and sisters if I am not a care-full listener?

“The way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil.”Proverbs 10:29

– Wow. This is a really deep one. If I do evil…and that’s what I want (gain, power, influence, notoriety, and so on) and I get these things in an evil way…then all I have built on this foundation of sand will be utterly destroyed the moment I turn to the “way of the Lord”…I’ll have to pay back four times the amount (Zaccheus), I’ll have to choose to give it all up (for Jesus, for righteousness) and follow Christ (the “Rich Young Ruler”), I might even do some jail time or suffer severely – making many enemies out of former associates (“I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” – Jesus Christ) My relationships will be destroyed – because they were based on and evil premise and evil purpose to begin with…evil meaning, NOT God’s way, but the way that made the most (common) sense to me…
– After all that was built on the foundation of sand, “hearing the word – but not putting it into practice” (cf. Matthew 7:24-26) is destroyed and given up (Luke 14:25-33), all that will be left is the way of the Lord. If God is enough, truly enough, then I will have refuge…there will be peace in my heart, mind, and life and His Way will guide me in rebuilding…scraping the charred remains of the ruins of a life built on SAND and relaying the foundation on the BEDROCK of “Jesus Is The Christ, The Son of The Living God” – and it will be for His gain, His glory, His power, His influence, and His notoriety…and my gratitude. I cannot lay claim to loving God, much less a diligence in doing so, if I am merely hearing but not obeying! May we always pray to be diligent in listening to our Father’s Word and as much so in humbly putting it into practice! Amen.

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