I currently live in a community in which most of her youths are lazy, lazy to the core. Most do not want to go to school, neither do they want to learn a trade. They just want money. Quick money. Today, they’re riding Okada, tomorrow they dabble into carpentry which they know nothing about, swindle some people, get some money. The day after, they follow the bricklayers and do some shabby jobs, just to make money. And what do they do with the little money they get? Squander it on alcohol, hard drugs, women or the latest fashion. If this menace was only limited to unbelievers I won’t worry much. But sadly, I find this same degree of laziness even amongst believers.
Christians are meant to be the gold standard of diligence. Some brethren have mistaken grace for laziness, thinking that the finished work of Christ forbade the believer from doing any kind of work. But a careful student of Scriptures and disciple of Christ would discover that the entire Bible encourages the believer along the lines of diligence, and that Christ is a perfect epitome of hardwork.
By way of definition, diligence is a constant, devout and earnest effort to accomplish whatever is undertaken. It is persistent exertion of the body and mind in the execution of any task. A diligent person is inclined to work.
After the apostle Paul had written his inspired systematic theology on the doctrines of the Christian faith in chapters one through eleven, to the Christians at Rome, he went on in twelve to admonish them on how to practically apply these doctrines. One of such admonishments was found in verse eleven, “Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” I love how the Good News Bible renders it. “Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion.”
There exists two prongs of diligence. Persistence and Passion. For every work to be described as hard, and any labour as diligent, it must possess these two qualities.
A diligent person is persistent, devoted, committed and consistent. That person’s work is not haphazard. He or she can be trusted, shows up when needed and completes whatever task that is started.
Also, a diligent person is passionate, energetic and earnestly executes a given task. That person does his work with enthusiasm that is infectious. He or she doesn’t grumble while working, but puts his or her might into the work. For these persons love their work.
In what areas should a believer be diligent? In all areas actually. But the scriptures lay emphasis on some areas in which a believer must be diligent.
If there is one fundamental area a believer should display diligence, it is with guarding or keeping the heart. Proverbs four twenty-three says, “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Everything you do, or will become comes from your heart. Seeing the gravity of this, you must with all diligence censor, keep a watch and be deliberate about the thoughts you allow in your heart.
A believer should be diligent in doing God’s will. This is explicit in all of Scriptures. “You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God…” said Moses to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:17. The Psalmist affirmed this by saying in Psalm 119:4, “You have commanded us to keep your precepts diligently.”
Another core area of diligence is with the study of God’s word. In the admonishment of Paul to Timothy his son in 2 Timothy 2:15, he said, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” He had earlier told him to give attendance to reading (1 Timothy 4:13).
Many believers are guilty in this area of the study of God’s word. They hardly read their Bibles. For those who do, they only take a cursory glance daily at the bible, just to appease their conscience. When was the last time you deliberately did a thematic or character study from the Bible? When did you last reference a Bible concordance or commentary or dictionary? Have you read through your entire Bible with the intent of knowing and doing scriptures?
A believer should be diligent in praying and seeking God. Jesus told His disciples that men ought to pray and not to faint (Luke 18:1). Paul told us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonian 5:17). The writer of Hebrews reminds us that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). For we pray little. Oh that we would display the utmost diligence in seeking God in the place of prayer.
Time will fail me to mention other areas in which a Christian should display diligence. In training your children (Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 4:9); in helping and ministering to other believers (Hebrews 6:10-12), with discipleship and nurturing of those placed under you (Proverbs 27:23).
Some Christians may say, “I no get strength for too much work o! My life no like stress at all.” But that isn’t true. For God has given us as believers all we need, and the power to be diligent through the finished work of Christ. (2 Peter 1:2-3; Philippians 4:13). So you have the grace to be diligent.
Diligence has its dividends. Hard work pays. The diligent is prosperous. His soul is made fat and his hands make rich (Proverbs 13:4; 10:4). He receives favour from God and people (Proverbs 11:27), is highly honoured among men (Proverbs 22:29) and rises up to leadership positions (Proverbs 12:24).
I’d like to sound a note of warning. Diligence is not being a busybody. Some persons are seriously working, but as busybodies. They wander from house to house, meddling with other people’s matters and saying things they ought not to, in the name of counselling (2 Thessalonian 3:11; 1 Timothy 5:13; 1 Peter 4:15). Mind you, this is not being diligent.
Also, diligence is not doing things hypocritically just to make a show. Some believers engage in lengthy spiritual activities like praying, fasting, teaching, visiting, and so on, just for a show, to please others. They have the Pharisees as brothers. For Christ did not condole their acts of hypocrisy, neither will He approve them as diligence.
No one wants to work with a lazy person, not even the lazy. Diligence endears us to people. And if a Christian is to shine as light, he or she must exude diligence.
And if your morale is low, and your countenance fallen whenever it is time for work, you’re lazy. Please repent.