All of us, to some degree, have experienced the outcomes of some endeavor. It may have been horrible or just bad, or maybe mediocre or all right, or really good or great or absolutely fantastic. To some degree, in my short 50 something years, I have experienced all of these outcomes. If you take a close look at some of the most successful people in history, you’ll learn that they also have experienced the entire spectrum of outcomes such as these. However, if you look at the area of their greatest endeavor, you’ll clearly see that all, without exception, win their goals by using one principle or skill that Solomon purports to be of the greatest necessity. When you study the success training Bible study at the Christian Success Institute, you’ll read that same concept (skill) repeated time and time again. When you study the lives of our founding fathers, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and others or study the lives of John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Sam Walton, Walt Disney, Bill Gates and many others you’ll see this skill used without fail. This skill is so incredibly powerful that hardly any achievement is ever reached or accomplished without its use.
This skill, of which Solomon was convinced, is not a difficult skill to learn; yet very few learn it. The difficulty lies in its application. With all of the advertising and marketing done today, we are programmed to expect ‘instant gratification.’ We want what we want and we want it now in abundance. We try things for a little while but if we cannot get the maximum return with the least effort, we give up and move on. This is precisely why there is so much money made by get rich quick scam artist. People today want to sit on the coach and have a magic business that just pours money into their bank account with as little effort as possible. Instant gratification with as little effort as possible is no different than playing a lottery and it is very rarely rewarding.
This skill that has been the one key to success for many is, as Solomon puts it, ‘diligence’. The dictionary defines diligence as – constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind. Often we are told that diligence is equivalent to ‘hard work’, but this is not necessarily true. Solomon helps us understand that diligence is ‘working smarter not harder’. I have a friend who is extremely successful and he always told me that success comes from working smarter and not harder. There are many out there in this world who work hard all of their lives but never succeed.
Diligence is not a natural trait of human beings. Our natural drive is to get as much as we can, as quickly as we can with as little effort as possible. Diligence is an acquired or learned skill that takes ‘perseverance’, ‘dedication’ and ‘motivation.’
In order for us to fully understand what Solomon’s concept of diligence was we must look at his reference point. Solomon was involved in mining. His choice of a word that has been translated ‘diligent’ has its roots in mining. He even admonishes us to seek wisdom and understand as though we were looking for gold or silver (again a mining reference).
In Proverbs 20:11 (NIV) Solomon tells us. “Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.”
We see than diligence is not simply ‘perseverance’, ‘dedication’ and ‘motivation.’ It is also initiated by what is ‘pure and right.’ When we take the example of mining, we can understand ‘pure’. We dig and dig and dig until we find a nugget of ore. We take that ore and apply heat until all of the impurities are burned away leaving the pure gold or silver. We can apply this to our study of success. We diligently study until we find that nugget of wisdom. By apply the heat that is generated by situations in our life, we burn away all that does not have a use until we are left with the pure nugget of wisdom that will give us the result that we need.
Diligence, therefore, is a learnable skill that is comprised of creative persistence, a ‘work-smarter’ effort that is rightly planned and performed in an efficient, effective and timely manner that results in a pure and high quality of excellence.
Don’t let self-doubt enter in. At this point you may be thinking that you do not possess the qualities that are necessary to be a creative and persistent person. You do have these qualities. They are raw and possibly well hidden beneath the rubble of your life but they can be mined and refined simply by a little effort. Your enemy in this physical world does not want you to succeed. Your success is ‘to the glory of God’ and the ruler of this world does not want you to bring glory to Christ. He will be diligent in his efforts to discourage you. Be persistent and motivated by the purest of motivations – developing a closer relationship with Christ in order to learn and bring God glory through Christ.
Always remember that you are a member of the royal family of the King of Kings. You are a special creation of the Creator of the Universe. You were creates on purpose and with a purpose. Almighty God loves you dearly and not only wants you to succeed in life but also has given you the method and means. All you need to do is ‘study to show yourself approved in the eyes of God.’
Let’s take a close look at some of the outcomes or rewards that you will realize by developing ‘diligence.’ It is natural for human being to seek the path of least resistance. It is our nature to ‘go with the flow’ and not to ‘swim upstream’. Solomon understood that we need to be motivated to take a path that is not as easy as the one that we have pursued. He tells us that being truly diligent will bring us priceless rewards, while a lack of diligence will result in devastating consequences. Following is a list of some of the rewards that Solomon has listed for us as a motivation to become diligent. Before we begin with Solomon’s list, let me interject that the truest reward is a deep and personal relationship with Christ. That is the best reward that you will ever need and should ever want. As you continue through this success training you will begin to realize the absolute truth of this.
The diligent student will gain advantage.
In Proverbs 20:15 (NASB), “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage,” and Proverbs 20:15 (NLT), “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity,”
Which would you consider to be the better situation, in every effort that you put forth to have a position of strong and unshakable advantage or the handicap of doubt? Solomon clearly tell us that ‘the plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage’. No matter what the situation, whether we are in competition with an individual, with a company, with time or simply a situation, those who are diligent will have the advantage. This will result in greater productivity, lasting achievements, greater wealth and fulfillment in life.
The diligent student will gain control of situations rather that the situations having control.
In Proverbs 12:24 (NIV) Solomon teaches us that, “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.” Would you prefer to control you situation or have your situation control you. The case with most people is that their situation controls them. Solomon teaches us that the diligent will not only control his situation but also will enhance the situation of those around him.
The diligent student will experience true fulfillment in life.
In Proverbs 13:4 (NIV) Solomon tells us that, “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” When we look around ourselves we see that here in the USA there is a great hunger, not for food but for possessions. The hunger is excited by the vision that is forced upon the people by television and the media. We Americans have a greater amount of debt and lower savings that any previous generation in our nation’s history! No matter how much we get, it’s never enough. Just imagine what it would be like to be totally fulfilled and satisfied with what you have been blessed with. This is the reality of the diligent.
The diligent student will attain the respect and admiration of those in authority.
In Proverbs 22:29 (NKJV) Solomon tells us, “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.” Everyone in our society is looking for the attention of those in power – our 15 minutes of fame. Those who are truly diligent do not need to look for attention or recognition; they are sought after by those in authority. The accomplishments of the diligent outshine others so brightly that they draw the attention of those around them.
The diligent student will have their needs satisfied.
In Proverbs 28:19 (NKJV) Solomon states that, “He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!” He is telling us that those who work diligently in their area of endeavor will have their material needs met abundantly. He also warns that those who follow foolish men will suffer poverty. He is in essence telling us that those foolish men who appear on the surface to be successful will try to lead you into ‘get rich quick schemes’. If it sounds too good to be true, you can bet that it is. When you encounter these people (and there is an abundance of them on the Internet,) run away from them.
The diligent student will experience ever-increasing success.
In Proverbs 13:11 (NKJV) Solomon writes, “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase.” Solomon wants us to know that the diligent person’s provision and prosperity, his wealth and status will constantly grow. Thos who gain their wealth through devious methods or with no work will soon be left lacking. Take for example big lottery winners. In a very short time they are usually broke again. If you look at the luxurious accommodations that the Casinos in Los Vegas offer to high rollers, you wonder why they are so generous. They do not do this out of kindness. They know that no matter how much the high roller wins, he will always end up loosing more than he will win.
The diligent student’s efforts will be profitable.
In Proverbs 14:23 (NKJV) King Solomon tells us that, “In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty.” He tells us that all diligent labor results in profit and that that profit is through reaching the goals that we have set. It doesn’t matter where the labor is applied. If we diligently work at our job, we will profit. If we diligently work at our studies, we will profit. If we diligently work at our marriage, it will grow into a beautiful relationship. If we diligently labor at raising our children, they will develop a strong relationship with us. All diligent labor will profit.
Your enemy knows that, if he can plant an idea in your head, a negative thought, that your human nature will nurture that thought and let it grow and preside within your thoughts. Satan knows that in your thoughts, in your mind, is the perfect place to attack you. He knows that he can subtly place a thought or make a suggestion that will lead you away from ‘godly thoughts.’ He knows that you have been conditioned though your life to succumb to wrong thinking.
If you were to take time to study the events in your life you would be able to see a pattern form, a pattern of negativity. You have literally been trained, but unknowing individuals in your life, to accept the negative. If this were not the case, why do most news broadcasts only contain negative things? The negative is sensational and will draw more attention than the positive.
This is the importance of retraining your thoughts and your speech to be positive. It took a lifetime to create the negativity in your life, it will also take some time to reprogram, refresh, and renew your mind. Anyone who can claim that this can be an instantaneous process is deluding himself. The devil does not give up that easily.
Simply put, a man is as he thinks in his heart. You cannot live a positive life with a negative mind.