“For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” (2 Corinthians 7:11 NKJV)
When I was a kid I spent many weekends with my late grandparents, Reverend Richard and Nancy Curtis. One of the great memories I have is sitting at the dining room table with Grandma working on 1000 piece puzzles. We would sit for hours carefully searching for puzzle pieces. Even when other family members came over to visit, we would talk to them while working on the puzzle. All of those hours of careful, persistent effort would help us complete the puzzles in two or three weekends.
This same diligence (careful, persistent effort) is necessary for making significant changes in our lives. There are no shortcuts to deep, significant changes, especially when it comes to repentance. It’s easy to become complacent when we make the smaller initial changes. Those small steps give us the same level of satisfaction as finding the right place for a single piece of a 1000 piece puzzle. That’s good for the moment and we should celebrate, but it’s not enough enthusiasm to carry us to completion.
Diligence in our efforts to change will help us find, frame, and fill each piece of the puzzle until we become a complete picture of what God intended.