We are encouraged in the Book of Proverbs to ** keep our heart with all diligence **. But what does it mean to keep our hearts? And what is diligence? Knowing the answer to these two questions will help us to live a full life.
WE WILL START WITH A BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD DILIGENCE
Diligence is a verb. A word that implies being actively involved. Diligence also implies haste, speed, or being quick to do something. Diligent action is done with earnestness and eagerness. Diligence is making the right things a priority. Being diligent requires focused effort with a desire to accomplish something quickly. Being diligent means to not put off until tomorrow what we can do today. Diligence is making the right things a priority.
In every area of our life, whether it be our marriage, our friendships, our careers, or developing our talents and gifts we are challenged to earnestly focus on each one and learn and do all that we can to do them well.
WHERE ELSE DO WE NEED TO BE DILIGENT?
A king needs to rule with diligence. Romans 12:8
Parents need to raise their children with diligence. Deuteronomy 6
A bus driver needs to carefully drive his bus, diligently following the rules of the road. Titus 3
Proverbs 2:15 tells us to care and appreciate what we have, diligently.
Proverbs 23:1 teaches us to diligently discern between good and evil.
Diligence is a focused effort to sharpen our understanding and the practice our faith in every area of our lives.
Even when dealing with our enemies, the people who make our lives harder to live peacefully, Luke 12 tells us we need to be diligent to fix whatever problem we have with them.
We are to abound in diligence, according to 2 Corinthians 8:7. Being diligent once in a while is not abounding, right?
Paul encouraged Timothy to be diligent in ministering and supporting the brethren in 2 Timothy 1:17.
We are to be diligent in listening for God’s leading according to Isaiah and we are measured by our diligence to do good works as children of God. in 1 Timothy 5.
2 Peter teaches us to be diligent in growing in the Lord and staying on track with Him.
An important characteristic of all children of the most High God should be diligence.
HOW CAN WE HAVE A DILIGENT HEART AND SPIRIT?
How do we do all that we should do with diligence every day?
In the ways we already know. Read, pray, show up, stay focused. Our number one priority in life is our relationship with God. Nothing else is more important. Ever. Every circumstance, every distraction should first be taken to the Lord. We all know that. The hard part is doing it, all the time.
It is easier to be distracted and allow life to run us than it is for us to be in charge of our lives. But this is where we take it back to keeping our hearts with all diligence. We need to know what our priorities are and what areas the Lord has specifically told us to do. We need to not waste our time and effort in areas where God has not led us or is not blessing our efforts.
If we keep our hearts and minds open to the Lord’s voice, we will hear Him nudge us in one direction or another. He will show us what information we are receiving or activities that we are involved in that are taking us off course. Even good activities. The Lord will change our schedule to keep us on His path instead of following our own. He will send the right people into our lives to encourage us and keep us looking at Him. God will give us the words to encourage others. He will teach us that there is a time and a season for all things.
All of this, God will do, if He sees us being diligent in our relationship with Him. But, like the Proverbs tells us at least 12 times, if we are lazy about our life with Him, He will allow us to live the consequences of that lazy, spiritual life. Our hearts will then fill up with emotions and thoughts and plans and priorities that have nothing to do with Him.
How to have a diligent heart? Keep our eyes and ears on the Lord, all day long. I know that sounds unattainable, but, if we listen a little more today, tomorrow we can listen a little more again. And so on. Rome was not built in a day, neither is a diligent heart.