Blog post adapted from Necessary Christianity by Claude Alexander, Jr.
Adapted from Chapter 5, “I Must Be Diligent”
The life of Jesus reveals that God’s call and God’s claim on the believer’s life are imperative in nature and not simply indicative. Hence, maturity in Christ includes recognizing that the Christian life is, by necessity, a life of focus, of dynamic progression, of direction, and of clarity. Yet more is required. There is another necessary characteristic of the mature Christian. It is that of diligence. Diligence involves careful and persistent work or effort. It also involves a zealous and careful nature in one’s actions and work. Diligence is a combination of zeal and care. The God directed life must be pursued with diligence.
The necessary Christian life is a life of diligence informed by discernment. It is a life whose carefulness is influenced by discerning the will of God in the moment. It is a life that seeks to be led by God-meaning. It is a life that asks these questions: What does God desire to reveal in this encounter? What does God want to show through this interaction? What does God seek to demonstrate in this circumstance?
As we seek to live God-directed lives, we must know that God has a reason for every way in which he directs us. God gives no random direction. Every direction has a purpose. Every encounter has a meaning. It is necessary that we discern the meaning. It is imperative that we understand the purpose. Getting to a place and then not knowing what we are to do in that place does the kingdom no good. We must be able to know why we are where we are. Fulfilling the assignment of God for our life is not just getting to the assigned place. It is operating within the purpose God has for the place where he’s assigned us.
Maximize Every Moment
In John 9:1-5, Jesus speaks of discernment and urgency. He says, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” The NLT translates John 9:5 this way: “But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” The necessary life is one that asserts not only the necessity of living a life of discernment and of urgency but also one that asserts: I must live a life of maximization.
Jesus says, “While I am here.” He doesn’t get tied down by night coming. He focuses on the day existing. He focuses on the chance he has. He can’t change when he won’t be here. All he can do is maximize the time while he is here. While he is here, he is the light of the world. While he is here, he has the power he has. While he is here, he will be who he is supposed to be. While he is here, he will do what he is supposed to do. While he is here, he will work what he is supposed to work. He will maximize the moment he has.
The life of diligence is the life of maximizing the moment we have. It is the life that seeks to make the most of all the time we have. We may not know how much time we have, but we can make the most of what we have. The maximized life says, “While I am here, I’m going to do what I’m supposed to do. While I am here, I’m going to pursue what I’m supposed to pursue. While I am here, I’m going to be everything God wants me to be. While I am here, I’m going to go everywhere God wants me to go. While I am here, I’m going to possess everything God wants me to possess. While I am here, I’m going to learn what I’m supposed to learn. While I am here, I’m going to make the most of the time I have.”
Jesus maximizes the moment. In the encounter in John 9, he places mud on the blind man’s eyes and tells him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. The man could have wasted a lot of time, but he senses the moment with which he’s been presented. So he goes and washes. As a result, he comes back seeing. Now the blind man is the sighted man. As the neighbors view the sighted man, they miss the moment. Rather than seeing the power of God, his parents, out of fear of the Jews who could put them out of the synagogue, miss the moment of celebrating their son’s healing by Jesus.
The blind but now sighted man does not miss his moment. He maximizes the moment by declaring the power of God: “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see. . . . He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing” (John 9:25, 30-33). The man maximizes his moment of worshiping Jesus as the Son of God, declaring, “Lord, I believe.”
Jesus and the once blind but now sighted man challenge us to maximize the moment. Don’t miss the moment. Maximize the moment as did Jesus. When Satan sought to cancel his moments, even then Jesus was maximizing.
At Calvary Satan tried to cancel Jesus’ moment, but Jesus made the most of the moment. He used it to issue a word of forgiveness and offer a thief paradise. He used the moment to secure the caretaking of his mother by John. He used the moment to quench his thirst for the Scriptures’ fulfillment. He used the moment to provide the currency for our redemption, taking every one of our sins and nailing them to the tree. He used the moment to take the full wrath of God upon himself and face every charge and ordinance that was against us. He used the moment to take our place, punishment, and penalty. And even there, at Calvary, somebody saw the power of God. A Roman centurion saw the power and declared, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54).
Jesus also maximized the moments of his death. From his death on Friday to his burial, even then Jesus maximized his moment by descending into hell, preaching to the spirits held captive, and taking the keys of death and hell. Early Sunday morning, God the Father showed his power by raising Jesus from the dead. He displayed his power by exalting Jesus to the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus maximized his moments and lived a diligent life and this empowered him to save, deliver, and transform us.
I challenge you to make up in your mind that while you’re here, you’ll do what you’re supposed to do. I challenge you to live a diligent life. I challenge you to discern the time. I challenge you to redeem the time. I challenge you to maximize the time.
Adapted from Necessary Christianity by Claude R. Alexander, Jr. ©2022 by Claude Richard Alexander, Jr. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press. www.ivpress.com.
Bishop Claude R. Alexander Jr. is senior pastor of The Park Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He serves on the board of Christianity Today, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and Movement.org. He is the chair of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s board of trustees and a past president of the Hampton University Ministers Conference. He is the author of Necessary Christianity and Becoming the Church. Visit his website at bishopclaudealexander.org. Follow him on Twitter: @BishopCRAJr
Today’s post is adapted from Claude Alexander’s Necessary Christianity: What Jesus Shows We Must Be and Do. We live in a world of options, where we might do this or that if we feel like it. But for followers of Jesus, certain things are not optional, but necessary.
He argues that life in God is less about what you could do, and more about what you must do. Contrary to the life of the optional, accidental, and haphazard, the believer is called to live with a sense of divine necessity. No maybes about it.
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