“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence….” (2 Peter 1:5a, NASB95)
Have you ever felt ungrateful? What about being bothered when you did something for someone, and you didn’t get a nod or a thank you? There is something wired in us, even if misdirected at times, that expects a response when good is done. It is inherent in us to be thankful to those who are good to us, and even to expect the same when we do good to others. This even leads to us wanting to reciprocate that goodness in some way. When we stop to ask “why” we often get a response that includes the word “because.” Thinking about this, I did a search of the word “because” in the Bible and I was amazed at the number of times it was used.
We are made by God to respond. We see that even our God responded in love to us to rescue us from our desperate condition. “But God, being rich in mercy, BECAUSE of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” (Ephesians 2:4–8, NASB95)
It was in response to His love for us and not something in us or that we did that He saved us and gave us all the precious promises that Peter alluded to in the previous verses. Now, in response to His great love moved into action for us we are to live rightly before Him. Paul, in Romans 12:1-2, called it our “reasonable” or “spiritual” (Greek: logikos) response of worship. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1–2, NASB95)
We have been given the most amazing reason to respond. God showed His great love for us by saving us from our sins, giving us the assurance of eternal life, and indwelling and enabling us to live in the meantime. He has done all of this for us, and we can trust Him to continue according to His great faithfulness in all that He promised. He will not waver, and because of this we are called not to waver in response. This is what it means to apply all diligence. Our response is something that we are to make haste to do. It is to be our priority, and not something to be put off until a later date or until our circumstances might change. The Greek word, spoudēn, has that Boy Scout motto meaning of “Do your best,” and it stems from another word “speudo” which means to “make haste.” This one jumped out to me as a former swimmer and wearer of a brand of swim suit called “Speedo.” We are to be quick and diligent in our response to our God who was and is so loving toward us.
When I typed into the last couple of sentences the word “speudo” my spell checker bypassed the red line and quickly changed it to “pseudo.” I didn’t see it coming, and wouldn’t have except for backing up and rereading what had been written. The two words have all of the same letters, but in flipping the first two of them they could not be further apart in meaning. One of them has the meaning of a full focused a quick response and the other of not being genuine or true. And, just as I corrected the spell checker, we also are to be diligent to correct the fakes that might seem appealing. In our responses, we are to choose to focus wholly on what is right and proper before God.
We are to be about diligently applying all that we know of Him in how we live our lives before Him. This is our right and proper response. This means that we are to listen to Him, to take His Word captive, and to allow it to shape our thoughts and our steps. It means that we also are to turn away the fakes and the lies that come with them. We are to accept no substitutes in living fully for our one true God.