bits from bob....

Giving All Diligence

by Robert J. Young
Main and Oklahoma Church, McAlester, Oklahoma
July 1, 2003
©, 2003, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

"Give eager diligence to present yourself approved to God, a worker unashamed, using the word of truth accurately." (2 Tim. 2:15)

It's a strange-sounding word to the English speaking ear--spoudazo. In Greek, it communicates eagerness, even haste. It speaks of one's focus. The lexicon--a kind of Greek to English dictionary--suggests zealousness, making every effort, taking pains. This little word is not high on the list of frequently occurring NT words, but neither does it occur so infrequently as to be virtually unknown. (The verses in which this word or its cognates appear include Gal. 2:10; Eph. 4:3; 1 Thess. 2:17; 2 Tim. 2:15; 4:9,21; Tit. 3:12; Heb. 4:11; 2 Pet. 1:10, 15; 3:14; 2 Cor. 8:17,22; Luke 7:4; Phil. 2:28; 2 Tim. 1:17; Tit. 3:12.)

This word suggests questions: What is the focus of our life? What does the Bible say? What do we really devote ourselves to? What kinds of things are so important to us that we give diligence? What do you pursue daily? What is your focus in life?

Our text from Paul's second letter to Timothy (2:15) is familiar, yet unknown. When I was growing up, this verse was cited in our teen Bible study materials to show that we should study the Bible. Study in the 20th century doesn't mean what study meant in the 17th century! How does one "study to be quiet"? We must study familiar passages carefully. We must take off our cultural lenses. We must hear the message afresh. What things are of primary importance to a Christian? What do we devote our lives to? What should be our focus? Notice three concepts.

I. Approved. When you ask the question, "What matters to me?" our text answers, "Being approved before God." The text says we should be proactive in seeking the testing that demonstrates our character. We are to present ourselves. This is no mere waiting and hoping that everything is going to come out alright. This is a diligent effort toward testing and approving.

II. Not ashamed. Seek approval as an unashamed worker. Two ideas must be noted: worker, unashamed. Christians are those who can point to their lives without shame. Here is what I did, here is how I used my time, here is my focus, here is my heart, here is my life. Close attention to this verse will decide moral questions. Close attention to this verse will also decide our stewardship questions--how we use our time, our resources, our money. One day the book of our lives will be opened. May we live so that we will be unashamed of our activities and accomplishments.

III. Accurate. The last phrase is difficult to translate. Paul borrows a word from his tent-making background, and writes that Christians (Timothy primarily, but by application, all Christians) should "cut straight or right" the word of truth. The prefix is "ortho" as in orthodoxy. What is right? What is the best use of this piece of cloth? How can we make the strongest seam? We must be accurate workers. We must know and use the Word of God well.

Certainly there are other things about which Christians are diligent. Perhaps in one of your quiet times this week you would like to look up every verse in the list above. Here are three important things: whether the tests of life demonstrate that we are approved, whether our works allow us to be unashamed, whether our life accurately reflects the word of truth. If you've not been diligent in these, why not begin today?

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Last updated July 1, 2003.