Thursday, May 20, 2010

Living the Message You Write?

Thursdays - Devotions for Writers


“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV)


As Christian writers, we’re called to share our faith through the written word. But, how does our writing ministry relate to our personal lives and the message we send?

As I’ve grown—ahem—older, I’ve changed my views on how God’s word is best shared with those in our neighborhoods, work place, and world. As a teenager, I was a part of the Jesus movement. The time when you plastered your car with bumper stickers, passed out tracts, and wore large cross necklaces – not to mention pins printed with various Christian messages. I’m not sure our methods were all that successful.

Today, knocking on a door and handing a stranger a tract doesn’t work for me. Instead, I’ve become a strong believer in sharing my faith through relationship. Through sincere friendship, many doors have been opened for me to talk about my relationship with Christ, as well as opportunities to show what it means to have Him in my life.

Again – how does this apply to writing?

You’ve probably heard it expressed that actions speak louder than words – and that we may be the only sermon some people ever hear. Would you feel comfortable admitting to a group of people that you write Christian fiction, nonfiction, or devotions after blowing up at someone in the room over something trivial? If you would, you have more spunk than I do. ;-D I blush easily, and would probably turn cherry red from the neck up if I were asked about my writing following a rude display.

We may pen a best-seller with a dynamic message that impacts people across the country. But if we’re not living what we write, our actions can still negatively influence the people around us.

If we can’t be kind to our family members or the rude neighbor down the street, our writing will not have the potential influence it could have. Would you order a book written by a financial planner if you knew last week he filed bankruptcy? Of course not. But you might believe he has something worthwhile to say if you knew he carried no debt and had the means to retire at will.

Many writers I’ve met at conferences have been generous, humble, and kind. I want to read their work because not only have I made a connection with them, they’ve revealed their relationship with Christ already through their actions. I believe their work has the potential to touch me. However, unfortunately, I’ve also met a few rude and self-absorbed authors. I have no interest in their work. That doesn’t mean their books aren’t well-written and don’t have value. Personally, I would have a hard time reading them.

By our actions and deeds we show that we’re legit and that we believe what we preach and teach. Of course, the Holy Spirit has a job to do here, too. But He’s able to work through us when we treat people with love, care, respect, tolerance and patience. The world watches – and the world takes notice of our fruits.

Unless we live the life of a hermit, the message we send isn’t only relayed on the Internet - or through books shipped to stores across the country – it’s revealed through our lives.

Are you living the message you write?

Dawn

2 comments:

  1. hmmmm....right now, I'd have to say "NO!" I've written countless songs of trusting Jesus through our trials...songs of faith and victory....all based on experience, and yet I've allowed recent circumstances to set me in a tail spin....I've even tried singing my own songs to remind me....that yes, it will all work out, I just need to trust....but it's far easier to wallow! Thanks for posting this...I really needed the reminder.

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  2. Hi Deborah!

    Thanks for your honest comments. I'm glad this was helpful.

    We all have moments and times in our lives where we struggle with faith. We're human! ;-D

    I think it's important for those without faith to see that Christians still have problems. If we try to present something different, they'll see us as fakes.

    We learn from our trials - and from them we're better able to understand and help others. The songs your write have meaning because they come from your experiences.

    I think the difference is in how we deal with struggles. Do we hang in there and continually turn them over to God - or do we give up? Do we admit to people with humbleness that we, too, need forgiveness. And are we willing to be forgiving and patient with others.

    We can't be perfect - but we can be examples of people who are loved by a perfect God. :-D

    Blessings to you today!

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