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Diligence (100 Years Ago)

by H. L. Olmstead

(Reprinted from the November 1916 Print Edition)

The word above is used quite frequently in the Word of God. It means “steady application.” In Prov. 27 :23 ; Eccles. 9:10, and perhaps in Rom. 12:15 it is used in connection with business or secular affairs. It is hardly necessary in these days of “big business” to exhort Christians to more steady application to the matter of accumulation. We would be, almost, if not quite, right in saying that the majority of professed Christians are already very steadily applying themselves to “looking well unto their flocks and herds.” In fact, business, both big and little, has the right of way, while things of grave importance are side tracked. Business has well nigh become the most sacred thing to the hearts of many who should he giving diligence in other directions. So *acred has this thing of business become that almost every question is decided by how it will affect business. Business must not be hurt or lost, regardless of what moral principle is sacrificed or how the cause of Christ suffers. Now there are certain other things to which we must give diligence. They are the “first things” and “first” things things first” must be the motto of all who stand with Christ on salvation ground.

  1. Diligence in keeping the heart is enjoined. Deut. 4 :9 ; Prob. 4 :2 3 ; Heb. 12:15. Steady application must be had at this point lest we forget the good things which God has done for us, and they “depart from our hearts all the days of our lives.” The issues of life are from the heart and the heart must not be hardened for fear it may become an “evil heart of unbelief.”
  2. Diligence in keeping the commandments of the Lord is also necessary. To be steadily employed at this is wholly and altogether contrary to all fleshly instincts and desires. To keep and diligently obey the commandments of God is not possible for those who are in the flesh. “They who are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit if so be that the Spirit dwelleth in you.” (Rom. 8:8-9). The great lack of diligence in keeping the commandments of the Lord is not so much due to our ignorance of those commandments as to the absence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts to give us the disposition so to do.
  3. Diligence in doing the work of the Lord. The great work of the Lord in this dispensation is that of evangelizing the world that He may “call out a people for His name.” It is strange that many of us have concluded that the most scriptural way of doing this work is the least systematic way. God has given us a “hurry up” call in this matter. Every generation of Christians has had a wide-world full of unsaved to whom they are sent with the gospel of the grace of God. Nothing short of steady application (diligence) can perform this stupendous task. The Church of God has no time to waste in becoming purveyors of vaudeville entertainment for the amusement of a world that is already gorged with that sort of thing. It has no time to lose in pulling off slapstick comedy for the benefit of men and women who are sinking upon a wrecked vessel. Those who are Christ's should not waste time over hairsplitting when a lost and ruined world, with the death rattle already in its throat, is perishing before their very eyes. It will not do for Christians who are Christians indeed, to stop and consider the whiners and objectors who endeavor to block all efforts of true Christian progress. Either they must get on the train and ride or else get off the track or be run over. All this because “the night is coming when no man can work." John 9:4. And “the time is short." 1 Cor. 7:9. This work should be done in abundance for “our labor is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Cor. 15:58.
  4. Diligence in adding the virtues or “graces" of the Christian life. We are certain that by grace we are saved, not by “graces" but we are told to give diligence to add them. (2 Pet. 1 :5 ). They belong to the position to which Christians are raised by grace, and they are possible in the life of him who has become a pew creature in Christ Jesus. They are more than the mere keeping of the law. They are qualities. There are many rigidly chaste, honest, honorable, righteous men who are neither patient, kind, loving, truly temperate, godly, or loving. Steady application is necessary for the cultivation of these virtues which are God implanted in the new nature.
  5. Diligence in making our calling and election sure. Election is according, 1st, to the foreknowledge of God; 2nd, sanctification of the Spirit; 3rd, belief of the truth. These three things are what has placed us among God's elect. But in order to have the assurance there must be a life which gives diligence in all the things herein mentioned. None of us can have the assurance that we are among the elect without the fruitage which comes from a spiritual union with Christ. 1 Pet. 1 :2 ; 2 Pet. 1:10; 3 :14.

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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33