Diligence. Stick-to-itiveness. Perseverance. Maybe you remember the phrase, “When the going gets tough. the tough get going!” It means that when hardship or difficulty in life comes, a person should meet them head on and strive to overcome them. Those are words and concepts which are not emphasized much anymore.

The Apostle Paul emphasized the importance of these concepts to his pastoral mentee in 2 Timothy 2:15. Paul wrote, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Paul was addressing a strong tendency which all of us face, namely, the inclination to take what appears to be the easy road. This is a particular temptation regarding our spiritual life and growth.

It is easy to let the Bible sit on the table unopened throughout the week. It is easy to get going each day without taking time for prayer. It is easy to listen to a sermon at church and let our minds drift to other things which are more interesting and important to us.

It takes a lot of effort, energy, and diligence to read the Word, pray regularly, and keep our minds engaged with the Word of God. Growing in our relationship with Jesus is hard work. But God offers encouragement to us through the pens of His inspired writers. Think about the three passages below. There are others that may come to your mind as well.

Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”

Every believer is called to be diligent about strengthening their relationship with Jesus. Spiritual maturity does not happen by accident. Our Lord wants us to be actively engaged in the study of His Word. He wants us to apply His Word to our lives and become increasingly obedient to Him. Yes, it’s hard. But the blessings and joy resulting from a mature, intimate, and growing relationship with our Savior are more than worth every effort!

CBC Devotional Editor