The Good That Diligence Will Do (June 19)


“The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich” (Proverbs 13:4).

WE MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT OUR DESIRE FOR GOD, AND THE THINGS WE DO MUST BE DONE WITH DILIGENCE. “You have need of endurance,” we are told, “so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36). In regard to God, diligence is not merely advisable — it is necessary.

Of course, diligence alone will not result in a right relationship with God. We may tackle the question of God with desire and determination, but if we’re acting on the basis of misinformation, our hard work will only produce a more diligent form of idolatry. As A. W. Tozer pointed out, “Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.” And as Stephen R. Covey has suggested, if we’re guided by a mistaken map, diligence will just get us to the wrong place more quickly. So wherever intellect is concerned, our seeking of God must be steered by a real commitment to objective truth.

But make no mistake about it: intellect and emotion will not get the job done either, if they’re not accompanied by an active will or volition. We may know that certain things ought to be done and we may even desire to do them, but it is a decisive, hard-working will that separates the dreamers from the doers. Knowledge is a serious thing. James even went so far as to say, “To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

Jesus distinguished true worship from false worship in these memorable words: “The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (John 4:23). So worship that is deficient in either spirit or truth is something less than true worship. But even so, God must still be worshiped. Intellectual truth and emotional desire can carry us only so far. At some point, a commitment must be made. And not only must it be made; it must be carried out. Thinking and feeling alone are not enough.

“Reason comes to the foot of the mountain; it is the industrious will urged by the passionate heart which climbs the slope” (Evelyn Underhill).

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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