Satan is a liar and a cheat. He is wicked, malevolent, insolent, impudent, and impertinent. He is everything that is wrong with the world, and there is no good in him whatsoever. He is the father of all lies, and he is a murder from the beginning. He is the enemy, a vicious roaring lion, seeking to devour those who stand for the truth and worship the Lord. And those are his good qualities.
If there is anything good in the world, any great gift from God or helpful characteristic that we should take upon ourselves, we should believe that Satan will attempt to counterfeit it. He will do everything in his power to deceive us and draw us away from the Lord rather than to him. We must be alert and on the lookout for his schemes, his wiles, his snares and his traps. We must be diligent and ever watchful.
The Trap of False Diligence
In the first post about diligence, we learned that the Bible defines it as doing our duty to the best of our ability, striving to bring about the best result, in the best way, in the fastest way possible. Sometimes we confuse this with busyness, and we try to fill our schedule with all sorts of activities and events thinking that we are being diligent in serving God. However, that isn’t always the case; being busy doesn’t mean that we’re being diligent.
Satan wants us to believe that if we aren’t idle then we’re making the best use of our time. We justify this busyness, especially if we feel like we’re doing something worthwhile, by saying that we’re doing the Lord’s will. For example. I believe that God expects parents to teach and train their children, to prepare them for life as an adult, and equipping them with the tools and information they need to become obedient adults. However, I do not believe this means that we put our children in so many activities that we spend all of our time busing them to and prepping them for their activities. If we spend all of our time pushing our children in worldly activities, like sports, drama, music, or outdoor clubs, then we aren’t doing of job of giving them spiritual instruction; after all, the command for parents is to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”, not “make them into professional athletes”.
I’ve got nothing against any of those activities, per se, but I do have something against parents putting all their time and energy into secular, worldly activities for their children. It’s a trap that Satan sets for us, using one of the most vulnerable parts of our lives: our children. We tell ourselves over and over that we’re going a good thing, but if we honestly and openly examine the situation, it’s clear that we aren’t really helping our children at all. We’re hindering them by teaching them that physical things are more important than spiritual things. We’re teaching them that busy automatically equals holiness, and that’s not what God says.
We do this in other areas, too. We tend to work too much. We have to work if we are able, the Bible is very clear on that, but do we have to work so much? While there are some legitimate situations when the answer to that question would be yes, but for many people the answer is no. We tend to take the idea of work, which is good and proper if done correctly, and overfill our lives with it thinking that we are being diligent. When work consumes us to the point that we are leaving other things undone, then we’re not being diligent, we’re being negligent. Satan tricks us, again, into thinking that much activity must please God when that simply is not the case.
Conclusion: Diligence is Directed
As we strive to serve God in all that we do, we must make sure that our efforts are directed, not distracted. Satan will try to deter us from our primary goal, giving glory to God in every way possible, and we must make sure that we do not allow him to be successful. We must keep our lives in balance with the word of God, diligent to keep all of his will and to keep worldly and physical things from overtaking our schedules.
Our Father in heaven, please help us to be mindful of the choices we make on a daily basis. Help us to look at our lives and our schedules with spiritual eyes, and grant us the discernment to see false diligence in our lives, the willingness to remove it, and the courage to replace our will with yours. Please help us and give us the strength to glorify you in everything we do. Amen.