Living diligently in a distracting world
How Christians spend their time and money says a lot about their God and their beliefs in God. A Christian who spends all of their time and money on entertainment, car payments, vacations, and experiences does not appear to have God as a top priority. Christians are called to live dedicated lives to things of the highest value. Unfortunately Christians are prone to distractions, stress, exhaustion, and the busyness of life, just like the rest of the world. In those times though, God calls Christians to rise up and push through, to make the most of every day (Ephesians 5:15-20). Living diligently is a choice that is made every day.
It becomes a lifestyle, but for most people, it does not come easy. Here are a few ways to start pursuing a more diligent life:
1. Realize that God cares about the little things –
Luke 12:7, Matthew 6:26, Psalm 139:17-18, and Hebrews 4:13
There is nothing that is too small for God not to notice or to ignore. Throughout the bible God talks about knowing all thoughts, acts, and attributes of the people in the world. The God who created the people of the world in their mother’s wombs has not become careless or blind to the everyday actions of all people, especially Christians. The time that people have on this earth is a precious commodity.
Every moment spent is a moment that cannot be returned. To realize that Christians should long for bigger and better things to accomplish in their lives is foundational to Christian growth. Wasting the days taking quizzes on Buzzfeed, reading about celebrity gossip, or trying to get likes on Facebook is an insult to a Christian’s lives, especially when there are so many more valuable things that they could be focused on.
2. Choose to take God serious in His promises –
Psalm 84:12, Galatians 3:6-9, 1 Corinthians 1:25-26, and Isaiah 41:10
God does not tell lies, nor does He exaggerate His claims. When God promises to do great things in the lives of Christians, He means it. By trusting in God’s promises it allows Christians to pursue greater pursuits. That does not always mean that Christians know what that is, or if it will be brought about in a way that is understood, but it will come to true. Too often Christians trust God in the short-term, daily, things and the long term, heaven, things, but fail to act on the midterm goals.
A Christian’s midterm life will be the majority of the time left on the earth, past the everyday prayers, but before salvation. Christians should not just wait for the future to come and deal with it then, nor should they try to plan out the rest of their lives on this earth. It is a balance. Looking towards the future though, in other than just job security or retirement, will free up the Christian to allow God to begin making changes today. All of it hinges on trusting in God and believing the His plan for your life is the best plan for your life.
3. Determine to spend your money on things that matter –
Matthew 6:21-24, Malachi 3:10, Romans 13:8, Mark 12:44, and 1 Timothy 6:10
How Christians spent their money is of heavenly importance. God promises that wherever your money is, your heart will be also. The average Christians only gives a tithe of 2.5%. Albeit, Christians are no longer required to follow the tithing rules of the Old Testament, but are given the commission to give freely from their hearts and to give out of their poverty, not surplus. That looks different for all people. Some people can truly only afford to give 2.5%, if any at all. Others can safely give 40% of their income and still have excess. It is a condition of the heart deciding where, and how, to spend money.
Retirement accounts, entertainment, clothing, and vacations are all needed in moderation. The world tells Christian’s that they NEED the newest devices, gadgets, and trendy clothes. What that does is create a vacuum that will constantly be sucking in money, because nothing will ever be enough (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Christians need to draw the line. Money that is spent on distractions and on things that bring about false happiness is sinful.
Too often it is easy to shop out of boredom or the “need” to get something; Christians must fight that urge. By freeing up income Christians can begin to focus more on things that last, or on things that can, and do, make an impact into others’ lives. General Resources provides a list of non-profits that can bring about a world of change.
4. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions–
1 peter 4:11, Proverbs 28:13, Romans 5:4, and 1 Peter 2:5
This is the most subversive point on the list. It is hard to take actions for mistakes that are made. Most people fall into the sin of trying to cover up the shameful, lie when mistakes are made, or pretend that they are better than they actually are. The sin rears itself in so many aspects of life: blaming a coworker for mistakes made at work, blaming your significant other for your own actions, or getting angry at God for your own failures. A diligent Christian cannot find ways to avoid taking responsibility; humility must been seen in mature Christians.
Irresponsibility brings about a feeling of either pride or shame, and a façade that you are not to blame for anything that is wrong around you. Taking responsibility allows God’s grace to come upon your life and frees you to not be perfect. The Christian that admits that they are not in control can become the Christian who is in control. Problems will not be solved by blaming others. Problems can be solved though, when the Christian humbles them self and begins to realize that they need help.
5. Do your best –
2 Timothy 2:15, Ecclesiastes 9:10, 1 Samuel 10:7, and Proverbs 16:3
Simply put, work hard. Don’t cop out, but give it your all. A Christian should present them self in a way that gains God’s approval and is blameless before others.
Hollywood has lied about what it looks like to be a hero. A hero is not someone who performs above and beyond in one critical situation. A true hero works every day to do what is right in the face of their own emotions and wants, and also in the face of a world telling them to take it easy. A Christian who is only a Christian on Sundays or at church is not a Christian. Christian’s are not accepted before God by their works, but a Christian’s works can be a good litmus test.
That does not mean that perfection will be attained or screws up will never happen. It might even mean more missteps because more steps were taken, mistakes do not matter though. What matters is doing the best that a Christian can in whatever situation that is presented.
6. Cut out the unimportant –
Colossians 3:2, Matthew 6:33, Matthew 6:24, and 1 Corinthians 10:13
Diligence has no time for distractions. Distractions often are caused by getting preoccupied with things that are not important in the moment. The chance of accidents happening in the workplace doubles after being distracted for less than 3 seconds. If Christians fill their free-time with distractions, how little will be accomplished?
Or rather, how much can be accomplished?
Diligence and focus are intimately linked. Reducing distractions is not just a thing to do for lent, but should be an active priority for a Christian. Some distractions are needed and good, studies even show that some distractions are helpful. That does not give Christians license to fill up their time with Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, or crossword puzzles.
Christians need to have passionate worktime and thoughtful downtime. It will not be easy to disconnect from Netflix or Social Media, but it is needed. If Netflix was cut down from an every night habit to a once a week occasion, the average American would save 9-10 hours a week. Time which could be donated to family or friends, reading, helping others, or helping the earth instead of… what?
What do those distractions actually provide that is needed in your life?
This is not a suggestion to cut out your likes or modern-day “hobbies”, but a suggestion to use them wisely with moderation.
The common theme throughout the list is that diligence takes action. There is no way to think yourself to become diligent, it comes more from the actions that you take rather than the thoughts that you think. The good news is that each day presents the opportunity to do something more. There will always be screw-ups and slide-backs, but that doesn’t have to define you.
By being diligent, Christians allow God to do a great work in their lives. God doesn’t want people to waste their lives on the earth numbing themselves by comforts and distractions. Isaiah 55:11 says that God’s word does not come back to Him empty; it serves a purpose, and it accomplishes it. God intends to make the most of every life on this earth. To see why any of this applies to fighting climate change read about the biblical basis for taking action.