Brother Michel Lankford
The truth is that ALL diligence produces SOME results for better or for worse. If we are diligent at planning and working for good things, our diligence will produce good results. Conversely, if one is determined and diligent to work for evil results, people will achieve that as well. Diligence does not discriminate. Whatever you are diligent about determines what you will produce. Diligence, if one is determined for good, will always produce good, and diligence for evil will eventually produce evil. At the same time it is also true that while we cannot achieve anything we want of value without diligence, diligence is not a “blank check.” All diligence achieves some results, but God is still God.
Whatever you plant with your diligence determines the crop that you will harvest.
As it is written: Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (Galatians 6:7–10, NASB95)
We must remember that we must first decide what kind of harvest we want to receive because what we choose to plant initially will determine what we harvest in the end.
Pointing our Diligence to Achieve Good Things
One passage that immediately comes to mind is Matthew 7:7–8:
As it is written: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7–8, NASB95)
Based on the verbs in the original languages, the key verbs describe continual actions. That means we must ask and CONTINUE asking. We must seek and CONTINUE seeking. We must knock and CONTINUE knocking. That denotes being diligent.
God rewards those who are diligent in seeking after Him (i.e., Hebrews 11:6).
As it is written: But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV)
We should be diligent about guarding our hearts against evil (Proverbs 4:23).
As it is written: Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23, NASB95)
Did you notice that the passage says to guard our hearts with ALL diligence and not just SOME diligence? That should give you an idea of how important this is from God’s Kingdom point of view.
We must be diligent in guarding our souls (Deuteronomy 4:9).
As it is written: Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.” (Deuteronomy 4:9, NASB95)
We must be diligent in learning and keeping God’s Instructions (Deuteronomy 6:17; Deuteronomy 8:11; cf. Deuteronomy 6:4–9).
As it is written: “You should diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and His testimonies and His statutes which He has commanded you.” (Deuteronomy 6:17, NASB95)
As it is written: “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today;” (Deuteronomy 8:11, NASB95)
Did you notice that not being diligent to remember and practice keeping God’s Instructions can cause people to FORGET God? That’s kind of important.
Being diligent is a required character trait to be a leader among God’s people (Ecclesiastes 9:10; 1 Timothy 3:10).
As it is written: Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10, NASB95)
As it is written: These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.” (1 Timothy 3:10, NASB95)
In other words, leaders should be tested, and there should be evidence that they have produced good character over a prolonged period because achieving that requires DILIGENCE. Without diligence, you can’t develop and maintain good character over a prolonged period. That’s the point. Not only does this leader have good character, but he has the diligence to know how to sustain it. That’s the whole idea why testing leaders is required. It PROVES and does not assume their diligence.
Growing in diligence is REQUIRED to be saved. How do I know that? The Messiah Himself SAID so (Matthew 24:12-13).
As it is written: “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” (Matthew 24:12–13, NASB95)
How can one “Endure to the end” and thus be saved WITHOUT becoming diligent in achieving that? The answer is, you CAN’T. Therefore, the ONLY way you can develop the character that will help you endure to the end so that you will truly be saved is to grow to become diligent.
Now, you will no doubt say to me, “But WAIT, Brother Michel, we are saved by GRACE. We are not saved by our religious works of obedience, but by GRACE.”
That’s true. I don’t deny that. First, however, we must be certain that we are defining and applying Grace the SAME way God defines and applies that term throughout Scripture. That being the case, please follow the chain of evidence along with me.
- Jesus the Messiah is full of Grace and truth (John 1:14). That means that both Grace and truth operate together in Messiah. Read the New Testament carefully. See for yourself how diligent Jesus was when He was here. Grace and truth living in Jesus empowered Jesus to be fantastically diligent at obeying the Father and doing God’s Will (John 6:38; John 8:29).
- Jesus, Who is full of Grace and Truth, is also the One who plainly said that those who endure to the end would be saved. We just read it (Matthew 24:12–13).
- Paul, the apostle, did say that we are saved by Grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10).
- BOTH Scripture passages are TRUE. Neither can be denied. That means we must put the pieces together correctly without contradicting either Scripture.
Since Grace saves us through faith, and since we are also REQUIRED to endure to the end to be saved (because both verses are true), that must also mean that True Grace MUST also come packaged with the God-given ability to persevere to the end, so that we will be saved. Now, please keep the train of thought and follow along with me. The God-given ability to grow and to develop in diligence and perseverance MUST also be included as part of Grace. God gives us the Grace to be willing and able to endure successfully to the end. That reality, though, has further implications if you think about it.
That also means that if somebody ends up not developing the diligence to persevere to the end, and if they end up not being saved as a result, then this also means that they WEREN’T living in the Grace that God provides. They weren’t defining and USING the Grace that God provides the way God intended them to use and apply the Grace He offered them. They couldn’t have been. If they were using and applying the Grace that God offered them in the manner that God intended them to USE the Grace He offered, then they would have USED God’s Grace to GROW in Diligence and perseverance, and they would have been saved. That’s how the Kingdom WORKS. That’s WHY understanding and using God’s Grace CORRECTLY is so CRUCIAL because the REAL Grace of God will produce certain fruits and results in your life. If those results are not being produced in you, then it is NOT the Grace of God you are living in, regardless of what you tell yourself.
Peter Tells Us that Diligence Is Part of what Gives Us the GUARANTEE of Going to Heaven (2 Peter 1:3–11).
As it is written: seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.” (2 Peter 1:3–11, NASB95)
Growing and being disciplined to develop Godly character, (including becoming diligent for the right things), MUST be a PART of Grace. How do I know that? Well, it’s obvious if you look at things with Heavenly Kingdom eyes.
Peter the apostle was “Under Grace” when he wrote the words we just read. Peter was writing this letter to believers who were “Under Grace,” who would read the words he wrote. He didn’t write these words needlessly. That means that Peter must have understood that the REAL Grace of God would help the readers take these words seriously, and that the believers who read this letter would USE the Grace that God gives them to develop these good characteristics (including diligence). They would then be guaranteed entry into heaven as a result.
Some Examples of People being diligent for evil. They get some results too
Example: Evil people united to rebel against God and build the tower of Babel. God declares that they would have succeeded in their evil if He had not thwarted their plans (see Genesis 11 1-9).
Example: The People of Israel persisted in demanding a human King to rule over them. They rejected having God as their king. So God gave them what they persistently asked for. It didn’t work out so well for them as a people, but their perseverance in insisting on their own way did achieve results. (1 Samuel 8:1-12:25).
Example: Balak, the king of Moab, desperately wanted to defeat Israel, but he knew God’s Blessing and Protection were on Israel. He was so determined and diligent to achieve this evil that he wanted that he even went so far as to hire a prophet, Balaam, and bribed him to try to get him to curse Israel. God thwarted Balak and Balaam’s efforts to curse Israel at every turn. They couldn’t curse Israel, no matter what they tried or what they did. Finally, out of utter frustration, the prophet Balaam gave King Balak the solution. I can’t curse Israel, but if you manipulate Israel and get them to sin against God, God will curse them for you because His Righteous Law will require Him to curse Israel because of their sin. Their evil diligence also eventually achieves results (Numbers chapters 22-24).
The conclusion is this. The direct phrase, “If you want something bad enough, you are guaranteed to get it,” doesn’t exist in Scripture precisely. However, the precept is that if you diligently plan for and work for good, you will achieve some results. Likewise, if you are diligent in planning for and working for evil results, you can achieve that with diligence. Will you achieve EVERYTHING you want with diligence? That’s the sticking point. I would say this.
“Anything and everything you want to achieve will require diligence, but all of the diligence in the world will not thwart God’s Purposes.”Michel Lankford
The people building the tower of Babel achieved some success from their diligence, but God’s stopped their work. He prevented their evil purposes of rebelling against His Kingdom by confusing the languages so they could not continue the work. You can achieve a lot with diligence, but in the end, God will still have His Way. All the diligence in the world will not overthrow Him; no matter how diligent the devil and his supporters might be, God will eventually win. Evil will achieve some success, but it is only temporary. That’s why if you’re going to put all the effort in to being diligent, you want to ensure that you’re not diligent in vain. You want to ensure that you are pointing your diligence toward achieving what God says is good so that you don’t waste your diligence on something futile and worthless.
Anyway, thank you for your question.
I do hope this was helpful to you.
Brother Michel Lankford