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Ask Chuck: Be diligent to achieve your financial goals

Ask Chuck your money question

Dear Chuck,

One step forward and two steps back seems to be the story that describes all my efforts to achieve any financial goals. No matter how hard I try, discouragement overtakes me, and I am back to square one with too much debt, too little savings, and not enough motivation to keep trying!

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Discouraged and Done

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Dear Discouraged and Done,

I can’t tell you how glad I am that you somehow found us to turn to in the midst of your pain. Do you want to know why? I have been there too! Yes, I know what it is like to have past-due bills, overdraft charges, collection notices, and more days in the month than money. I once lived with the frustration of being stuck in financial molasses. I also know the joy of finally getting out from under the cycle of one step forward and two steps back! 

The secret is to pick yourself up, shake off the dust, and keep trying. The Bible calls this key — yet overlooked — virtue, diligence.

“The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor” (Proverbs 12:24 ESV).

Diligence is a constant, earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken. It is the persistent exertion of body or mind and the constant performance of duty or the conduct of business.

Another way to think of it is to imagine the behavior of our cat, Ash. He doesn't like to be put outside — at all! As soon as we put Ash on the back porch, he begins to scratch on the sliding glass door as if his life depends on getting back in! He only stops this exhausting work long enough to catch his breath before he is back at it! If it were possible for 100,000 strokes of his paws to cut through glass, I think Ash would be near that total within an hour!

God’s Word on diligence

Results come from immersing ourselves in whatever we want to learn or improve in our lives. Larry Burkett, Crown’s founder, always shared that God’s principles were given for our good. Consider what the Bible teaches us about diligence.


  • “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children ...” (Deuteronomy 4:9 ESV).

King Solomon:

  • “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich” (Proverbs 10:4 ESV).
  • “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied” (Proverbs 13:4 ESV).
  • “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5 ESV).
  • You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently (Psalm 119:4 ESV).

Others’ words on diligence

  • Diligence is not easy, but we can’t reach our goals without it” – Henry Cloud
  • “Study the Bible with diligence. Never be satisfied with a secondhand version of it.” –Charles Spurgeon
  • “Diligence is making a series of successful short-term steps that lead to long-term success. This is accomplished by keeping the vision and principles clearly in focus, not by pursuing quick and easy answers. Diligence doesn’t come naturally for most. It’s the result of strong character and sound leadership.” – Buck Jacobs, Founder and Chairman of the C12 Group

Diligence is a virtue

Diligence, one of the seven virtues, is a means of developing godliness which leads us to delight in God and grow in the likeness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Diligent behavior affects all areas of our lives. It prevents frustration and leads to satisfaction.

For spiritual health: Be diligent in reading the Word, praying, worshiping/resting on the Sabbath, and fellowshipping with believers.

For mental health: Be diligent in reading broadly and filling your mind with wisdom, truth, and noble character.  

For physical health: Be diligent in eating, exercising, and sleeping well so you can function at full capacity.

For financial health: Be diligent in making good daily decisions to live beneath your means and paying down debt while saving and giving. Small steps lead to big progress over time.

For relational health: Be diligent in investing time and careful attention to those you love.

For organizational health: Be diligent in staying ahead of deadlines, following a plan, and making daily lists and goals.

Check out free resources

Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” I invite you to learn to be diligent in stewarding the resources God has given you. Visit for lots of free resources to get started today. Once I realized I was diligently doing the wrong things, I applied my energy to achieving financial goals in God’s way. And like my cat, Ash, I kept after it! Years later, I have days that seem like two steps forward and one step back, but I have the joy of knowing that God has given us more than we could ever dream or imagine in the true riches He promises those who are faithful. Don’t give up. He is there for you!

One way to make great strides in your financial health is to diligently pay off credit card debt. Christian Credit Counselors is a trusted source of support. They specialize in assisting people with getting on the road to financial freedom.

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, a global Christian ministry, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Economic Evidence for God?. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.

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