Diligence is a fruit that has to be cultivated. Here are some brief directions about how it should be cultivated.
In 2 Timothy 2:6, Paul said, “The hard-working farmer must be first to partake of the crops [produce, fruit].” Here, Paul was bringing out a simple, basic fact: cultivating crops takes hard work. It is not done without effort. That fact is equally true of the fruit of the Spirit—to cultivate it requires hard work. I want to suggest two ways in which we can cultivate spiritual fruit in our lives.
First, we need to study God’s Word, for it is the basis of all God’s provision for us. If we are not familiar with His Word, we almost inevitably forgo many of His provisions. Again, Paul wrote to Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). In order to divide, or handle, the word of truth—Scripture, the Word of God—accurately, we must be workers. In a certain sense, we have to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
The second direction we must follow is to spend time in prayer. By prayer, I don’t mean merely talking to God, but listening—something that is just as important, if not more so, than talking to Him. Here, again, Jesus provided us with the perfect pattern. The whole basis of Jesus’ earthly ministry was His relationship with His Father. In order to cultivate and maintain that relationship, Jesus took plenty of time in prayer. Very often, it was early in the morning. It was there that He heard the Father’s voice and received direction for His ministry.