“…diligence is man’s precious possession.”
(Proverbs 12:27 NKJV)
If polled and asked the question “what encouragement should we stop giving others?” I would likely answer “believe in yourself”. Of course, my primary basis for this is the Christian reality that we are incapable of building our own righteousness and, quite simply, Common Grace is all that stands between our world and perpetual and constant evil, never doubt we all play our part. Faith is believing in God’s Salvation, as revealed through Jesus Christ and then taking up, with diligence, the work of articulating His will as laid out in the Bible.
I could probably have written it all this way: believe in Christ and His teachings not yourself. And I think it is fundamentally important to understand that this does take diligence on our part. Certainly Salvation is of God’s sovereignty. Certainly His Spirit guides our thoughts. All that said, somewhere at some point we have to say, yes! I do want to please my God and then go about the duty of the Christian faith.
If I believe in myself enough can I run a marathon next week which I have not trained for? If I believe in myself enough can I write a biography of President Truman if I have not researched the documents? The point is that a marathon takes weeks upon weeks of early mornings and 20 mile runs. A biography takes countless hours looking through letters and newspapers etc. It is diligence that makes these things possible.
In the same vain, can I rightly identify as charitable if I do not regularly seek ways to be charitable? Can I consider myself loving if I do not practice goodness with the unlovable? Is my body a temple if I don’t avoid that which tempts me? It’s not that I believe these things about myself, it is that Jehovah gives charity and goodness and temperance as these things are superior to myself. And I must be about pursing them.