2 Peter 1: 5-7 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
Let us make our list of virtues to start: diligence, faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. There are other Biblical virtues to consider, but we have to start somewhere.
Strong’s defines the word used here as ““speed”, that is, (by implication) despatch, eagerness, earnestness: – business, (earnest) care (-fulness), diligence forwardness, haste.”
Wiki Definition (from the Seven Heavenly Virtues): A zealous and careful nature in one’s actions and work; decisive work ethic, steadfastness in belief, fortitude, and the capability of not giving up. Budgeting one’s time; monitoring one’s own activities to guard against laziness. Upholding one’s convictions at all times, especially when no one else is watching (integrity).
The first thing that comes to mind when I consider diligence is the Proverbs 31 woman. Proverbs 31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. If there is one word that I would use to sum up the majority of verses in Proverbs 31 – it’s diligent.
Another place that “diligence” comes to mind is in the first commandment – love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength. “Love” here isn’t an emotion, it’s an action. Doing an action with all of one’s strength requires diligence, does it not?
“If you love Me, obey My commandments”. Again – this is an action requiring daily participation. Diligence in obedience.
Like most of the other virtues, diligence isn’t something that our society is built to support. The only thing that I can think of that most of us are encouraged to be diligent about (in the secular sense) is our bodies and the upkeep thereof. Diligence in work is strictly about getting the upper hand, not about doing the work for its own sake (and certainly not doing all things as unto the Lord). We have, among other things, lost the value of diligence to our lives overall, and not just in effect. When was the last time you described someone as diligent?
I have to admit that diligence is something that I struggle with. “Maintenance – not my strong suit”. My husband will be the very first person to tell you that! But diligence is something that I am working towards, and I think that that is part of the point of diligence – that we must work for it. One must strive to be called diligent, and one must strive over a period of time. It will be 10 years of good stewardship in my garden before my husband will stop teasing me about the gardens that I neglected. Ten more years after that before he might even begin to think of me as a diligent gardener.
But if I am not a diligent gardener, am I a diligent reader of the Scriptures? Diligent in prayer? Am I diligent in my relationships – do I remember birthday cards (or at least FB messages) and put in the appropriate phone calls to sick relatives? Am I a diligent housewife – is a clean house and a good meal the norm?
So much success in life rests on diligence, just getting up in the morning and doing the same thing, the thing you’ve committed to doing, every day.
Are you diligent? And if you are not (as I am not) how do you struggle to this goal?