If the greatest innovators in American history teach the world anything it is that hard work necessitates success. Thomas Edison famously quotes, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Henry Ford chides, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” President Theodore Roosevelt states, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Ultimately, the greatest work worth doing is fighting the good fight, but such an endeavor requires a tenacious work ethic! God admonishes, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). To those busy in their personal interests, to those overcome in a fault, to those distracted by worldly gain, to those putting family above all else, studying the Bible to find the truth strains previously established priorities. Being a Christian cannot be done by those who see their faith as a nice addition to their lives or a social resource worth garnishing. Christians approved of God who rightly divide the “word of truth” must show themselves to be workmen!
Work consumes physical and mental efforts, but most of all work consumes time. David writes of the blessed man of God stating, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Ps. 1:2). Meditating day and night in the law of the Lord is not for the faint of heart; such endurance takes a great amount of mental and physical focus, but most obviously, it takes time from other endeavors. Unfortunately, most do not take such time or mental consideration; they simply just do and say what they have been told by their friends and family. One might question whether such individuals “delight” in their faith or if it is just a secondary aspect to their lives. Likewise, the apostle Paul writes to a young evangelist to guide his efforts in the fight for the right, “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all” (1 Tim. 4:15). Giving oneself to anything “wholly” presents a tough challenge with so many distractions in life. Every time a person turns around, someone bombards another person trying to make them take an interest in his/her personal ambition. Nevertheless, people make time and effort for the things that are important to them. Believers will never have a strong faith who excuse themselves from worship, Bible study, or church events because it “looks rainy” or “it’s too cold” when the same individuals are out in the snow and sleeting ice at a football/baseball/soccer game cheering on their kids. In God’s inspired directive to humanity, God’s penmen write that workmen must “meditate day and night,” give themselves “wholly” to their work. These divine words imply that an approved workman of God will give everything to the labor of Christ, which means that believers must provide that which is most precious in this life…time!
Time exists as a precious commodity in this life, and time is what God requires of His followers above all else (Rom. 12:1-3; Matt. 28:18-20; Ps. 1:2). In order to be convicted in one’s faith through the Word of God, time must be given in order to understand what must be believed and defended (Rom. 10:17; 2 Peter 3:15; Phil. 1:17). To be obedient to the faith, the dutiful believer must give an extraordinary amount of time in studying how to defend worship (John 4:23-24), confession (Rom. 10:9), repentance (Acts 17:30), baptism (2 Peter 3:21), unity (1 Cor. 1:10), righteousness (Matt. 6:33), and the true manifestation of love (John 14:15). Properly researching all these topics require more than just sitting in a pew one to three times a week (and some don’t even do that). Defending godly truths needs to be lived in daily life.
Christians must practice what they learn, otherwise they may lose what they have studied and let it slip from memory. God warns, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (Heb. 2:1). While it may be so much easier to just go to someone in the church and ask them a bunch of questions and let the answer be one’s understanding of what the Christian must do, such practices should only be the start of the Christians’ studies in the Word of God. The Lord commands each child in Christ to study and be able to teach, instructing those who oppose themselves (2 Tim. 2:15, 24-26). Peter tells the Christians of the first century, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ” (1 Peter 3:15-16). Put to shame those who would falsely accuse the moral behavior and teachings in Christ. If the faithful cannot defend the truth, then they will not sound any different than all the other false prophets in the world.