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The Importance of Being Earnest

Published on

August 22, 2022

The title of this article will immediately capture the attention of anyone who is a true lover of English Literature because it’s the same title as the 1895 classic play by Oscar Wilde.

In the play, the main character, Jack, “for years, pretended to have an irresponsible black-sheep brother named Ernest who leads a scandalous life in pursuit of pleasure and is always getting into trouble of a sort that requires Jack to rush grimly off to his assistance. In fact, Ernest is merely Jack’s alibi, a phantom that allows him to disappear for days at a time and do as he likes. No one but Jack knows that he himself is Ernest. Ernest is the name Jack goes by in London, which is where he really goes on these occasions — probably to pursue the very sort of behavior he pretends to disapprove of in his imaginary brother.”

It took him almost losing everything before admitting that it is to his advantage that he comes clean about his identity; he finally acknowledges that he now understands “the vital Importance of Being Earnest.”

So many Christians are like Jack, with dual identities, failing to fully embrace and settle into who they truly are in Christ. The attractions and the seductions of this age plague their soul, producing a lack-lustre, laid back Christian who only professes the faith but rarely walks in the path. Such people pay mere lip-service to their walk with God, but in actual fact are sluggish, listless, and lack the zeal that is required to tower above the ephemeral longings of the flesh.

Folks, the truth is that it takes zeal and zest to really serve God, which is why there are tons of verses in scriptures that urge us as Christians to be ‘earnest.’ But before we look at some of these, what does it really mean to be earnest?

What it means to be earnest?

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the word earnest as, ‘characterized by or proceeding from an intense and serious state of mind.’ To be earnest is to approach life with deliberateness and a sense of urgency. Being earnest is living with intent, living intentionally, and pursuing your faith with all sense of seriousness and alacrity.

Dear PB (Push Buttons) Reader, I’d like to assert that there is a clever onslaught on the seriousness of the Christian faith, particularly its disciplines. The preponderance of entertainment in its many shades and forms are most times strategically orchestrated attempts to lull the believer to sleep. The attack on the cross, conviction and consecration of the Christian faith has never before been on an all-time high as it is in this generation.

To be a true Believer requires daily disciplines that the lures and allures of the flesh distract many from. The ‘intense and serious state of mind’ expected of a Believer can never be achieved if a great percentage of 24 hours is spent binging uncontrollably on sights, skits and scenes that lack edification. Being earnest begs for the fashioning of a person who is not isolated but insulated from the world, and as a result runs his or her race with not just caution but also resolve.

But why should the Believer be earnest?

Why should you be earnest?

  1. The Spirit in you is earnest:

Who hath sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts— 2 Corinthians 1:22.

When you got born again and the Spirit of God was deposited on the inside of you, that Spirit from that time has never ceased nudging, prodding and wooing you to become more than you currently are. This is what is called the earnestness of the Spirit. The Spirit sees your potential, the fullness of you, the greatness of you and the millions of lives you can touch, and begins and never stops encouraging you to get up every time you fall. This is part of why forgiveness of sins had to be automated because there is a work to be done, and the Spirit is earnest. There is an urgency, a beckoning and fastidiousness for you to emanate into the bigger, brighter and better version of you so you can serve your world more effectively.

2. Creatures have an earnest expectation:

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God — Romans 8:19

There are souls that are depending on your maturity. Imagine if our Senior Pastor, Pst Dami Oguntunde failed to grow back in his university days when God was grooming and growing him and taking him through tests, trials and temptations to prepare him? Where do you think the PowerPoint Tribe will be today? You can dismiss that by saying that God always has servants and of course another Pastor would have emerged. I quite agree with you, but do you know that the unique grace and gifting upon his life that we and many others benefit from and are blessed repeatedly by would be lost and be missed out on? The training you are getting is not for you; your devotion, consecration, growth and maturity is for a people somewhere, someday who in God’s Grand Scheme of Things, require that they find edification, nurturing and comfort from you. You have to be earnest also because they are earnest!

3. Slothfulness is expensive: Slothfulness can be considered the opposite of earnestness, and here is what the book of Proverbs had to say about it;

I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man. — Proverbs 24:30–34

In the world, the good things and the best habits don’t happen by default. It’s an evil world, so any good habit or good thing that you desire has to be pursued with earnestness. A clean, shining bright iron, newly polished and newly carved is at first the envy of all eyes, but leave that same iron unused and unrepaired for years, what you get is a dusty, rusty and malfunctioning iron. If you are not actively practicing and sharpening your walk with God, you’ll gather dust and soon become rusty; it’s the default setting of every creation. This is why being earnest is key. Slothfulness is expensive and will rob you of your continued relevance in God’s agenda.

So, how can I be earnest? What can I do to become an earnest Christian?

How to be earnest?

Scripture has clear and specific admonishments on how you can be earnest as Christian. Let me share 3 with you today.

  1. Earnestly contend for the faith:

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. — Jude 1:3

Dear PB Reader, your Christian faith is worth contending for, not sheepishly or cowardly but earnestly. The reason why many are not contending for the faith is that they don’t really believe it; they have what is called mental assent alone to their faith. They have been Christians all their lives, and so for them it’s only a religion, a sect that they associate with to distinguish them from other ‘faiths.’ No, no, no, this should not be you! Your church attendance and Bible studying is more than a religion, it’s a relationship. It’s not transactional, it’s revelational; it’s not to tick a box, it’s to transform your world! Earnestly contend for this faith!

2. Earnestly heed what you hear:

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. — Hebrews 2:1

Dear PB Reader, once the enemy has lost the attack of preventing you from going to church or reading your Bible, the next strategy is for him to steal whatever you hear or get. To add to this is the fact that spiritual things are slippery! Being earnest requires that you guard God’s words to you with all sense of caution and diligence, because the enemy is after it and they just may slip through the cracks as though they never existed. A good practice that helps to ensure the enemy does not steal revelation knowledge from you is that you pray it immediately you hear it, and then you find opportunities to practice it. Whatever you pray and practice cannot be pilfered by the enemy.

3. Covet earnestly the best gifts:

But covet earnestly the best gifts… — 1 Corinthians 12:31a

Dear PB Reader, the possibilities and dimensions in God are endless, and so as a Believer, we must never come to a place where our growth has stanched. We must keep pressing into portals, realms, horizons and vistas of depths in God. One of such is the gifts of the Spirit that Paul spells out in different portions of the New Testament. These are gifts that aid our service of God; most of them are not for personal benefits. God wants you to covet them earnestly as you teach, minister healing, evangelise, prophesy, and use these gifts to serve and bless your world.

In conclusion, Dear PB Reader, do you now see why it’s important to be earnest? Don’t be like Jack in the story; embrace your true identity in Christ and run after it with zest and alacrity. Whenever you are made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of the plan that God has and the earnest expectation of other creatures, make sure you don’t sulk in sorrow, but run in earnest!

God will continue to help you!

Do have a Refreshing Week!

And Stay Earnest!!!

Peace Bamidele

@askpeace_

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