When asked to prepare a two-sentence purpose statement, my newest Guild apprentice (like many before her) mentioned a desire to glorify God and lead others to Him. Worthy goals — similar to my writing purpose statement: “To pursue those writing projects the Lord places before me, writing in His strength and seeking His purposes through each piece.”
Sounds pious, doesn’t it? But rereading my purpose statement, I am ashamed how often I stray into writing bland words out of a lukewarm commitment to Christ. I keep my quiet time with God. But in some seasons, when my heart isn’t in it, what I write is less worthy of the label Christian writing. It isn’t authentic, and it isn’t empowered by God’s Spirit.
I can offer readers something of eternal value only when my relationship with Christ is vibrant and growing — when I seek Him ahead of opening a blank Word document.
In my reverie, I turned to a familiar Scripture passage. But today I read it with new eyes. The context is Paul’s closing words to the Ephesian believers (6:11-19). He begins with the importance of putting on the whole armor of God.
I could draw many applications from the armor to the Spirit-empowered writing life. For example, when we have content of eternal value to communicate, the enemy will thwart our efforts unless we use the resources God’s Spirit supplies. Or I could note that the Word of God is a mighty sword — using it wisely (in writing and speaking) is our only sure-fire weapon in recapturing hearts and minds for Christ. Each piece of armor can equip us to have something to give.
But today I was drawn to Paul’s request: “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel” (v. 19, NIV). Exchange “open my mouth” for “open my word processor,” and we have a prayer for our writing lives. If even the great apostle (after he had donned God’s armor) needed others to hold him up in prayer for opportunity, words, and courage to communicate, how much more do we need the same?
How can we be sure we have something real and hope-filled to give our readers? By praying — and enlisting friends and colleagues to pray with us — that our Father will equip us to make His kingdom known fearlessly — every time we get down to the work of a Christian writer.