Importance of Being Earnest

Contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to all saints.” Jude 3.

Distractions become diversions that send your life in unintended directions.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the importance of being earnest.”

The most sincere direction and vital decision can be short circuited by distractions. Because there is so much that you could do and much that you should do, there will always be alternatives that beckon you along another path, away from the task at hand.

Most of the time such distractions usually have little or no lasting consequence, just a small matter of extra time. But what if the original intention were one of personal urgency or particular importance? Distractions, though brief, can become diversions that may more permanently set your life in an unintended direction; one you did not envision. Such diversions could be regrettable at the least, or inconvenient, or maybe even costly to you in missed opportunity or unfulfilled responsibility.

Later in life, many people find themselves in a far different place than they planned, and are perplexed why. What decision changed their expected destination? Sometimes it’s a casual acquaintance becoming an unlikely friendship, evolving into a questionable relationship, and eventually resulting in an ill-advised and ill-fated marriage. Or maybe it was a curiosity that became fascination, soon an indulging experimentation, then becoming a habit, and eventually an addiction from which you could not break free. “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful . . I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12. That is a wise rule for living prudently.

Be earnest about the Christian faith. In life, there is no intention more important than a clear decision to pursue God earnestly everyday. The Bible gives practical advice for such an earnest pursuit. “Contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to all saints.” Jude 3. Hold fast to the faith that will hold your soul fast in difficult days.

Earnest is not a word commonly used or always well understood. Being earnest is to live with an evident priority and pursuit of a lifestyle of discipleship and service. The Christian life is not a casual stroll on a sunny afternoon. To live earnestly, you must live with purpose and clarity.

Be earnest about living for Jesus. “According to my earnest expectation that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now Christ may be magnified in my body.” Philippians 1:20. Love Jesus with earnest devotion. Live in such a way that others will see His greatness in you.

Be earnest about prayer. “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly . .” James 5:16-18 NIV.  Effectual, fervent prayer makes a difference in the lives of yourself and others. Pray earnestly and expectantly.

Be earnest about spiritual giftedness. “Earnestly desire the best gifts . . and yet I show you a more excellent way (the way of love).” 1 Corinthians 12:31. Spiritual giftedness is for useful service; serve well for the glory of God and the blessing of others.

Be earnest about eternity. “Earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from Heaven.” 2 Corinthians 5:2. Heaven is certainly real, and eternity is sure. Avoid the mundane life; keep a heavenly perspective.

My prayer today is that you are diligent about all aspects of spiritual life.