The Christian Writer’s temptation

Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

“Writers are stewards of words, accountable to God for how they are arranged.”

Randy Alcorn

As a writer, I often struggle with the desire to put something out there that bears my name. A post, an article, a book – with ‘Dayo Adewoye’ as the author. Consequently, I sometimes want to just write something that seems appealing, interesting, and hopefully get some likes and shares. Never mind that human applause is ephemeral, the desire to be accepted and appreciated can make us ignore our true calling. And in every word we pen down, we must keep our eyes on the Caller.

I think there are some truths which can help keep you and me on track.

Ground yourself in the gospel

Nothing provides internal strength like the truth that God, despite my rebellion and utter disregard of him, loved me enough to have died in my place. Not only is he my Creator, but he also became my Redeemer. And I have been reconciled to him through faith alone. Furthermore, he has adopted me as a child, he filled (and continues filling) me with his Spirit, and I await an eternity of glory with him. Every human pleasure loses its appeal when we deeply understand this and live within it daily. And it simply changes how we regard the applause and praise of others.

Remember You are a minister

Every writer, particularly one awed by the truth of the gospel and called to set forth its glory, is a minister. You are appointed to serve God and others through your words. This requires humility. For every calling is a gracious summon to use our skill and passion in serving others, and yours is the ability to weave words together. We must not gloat nor become arrogant. Instead, we must profess with Paul, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Steward your talent wisely

However you work, and whatever your medium, your words, ideas, experiences, research, and stories are not yours. These are precious gifts from God given to you as a steward. God has enlisted you in his army to build up individuals and societies. He has called you to shape the course of history in your own little way. And this requires utmost faithfulness. It calls for care in our use of words, in what we write, as well as the goal we seek in our writing. The ultimate goal must be to glorify Christ. Otherwise, there is no point in being a ‘Christian’ writer.

Keep God’s judgement in view

We should also remember that we will give an account of all that we have written. Be it on Facebook, on your blog, or in some other publication, God will ask us for an account:

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Romans 14:12)

This is a call to profound responsibility. We must not cite or reference scripture flippantly. We must be diligent in study, both of scripture and other writings. We must think deeply through the ideas we share or teach. Are they true? Do they cohere with other truths? Are we genuinely seeking to build up others, or are we just out to make a name for ourselves? The God who will judge us is not impressed by the elegance of our writing or the weightiness of our message; he examines our very hearts.

Gratefully, since our Caller is our Judge, we have the privilege and obligation to seek his help daily and open ourselves anew to him with each word we write. As we live by faith and are sustained by grace, our writing must be brought under the constant gaze of heaven. For it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy” (Romans 9:16 NKJV).

So, dear writer, take heart. Rejoice. Yours is a noble calling, yet, calling it is. It demands all that you are, and more besides. Look to the Caller for whom we write and to whom we are answerable. His smile is our greatest reward.

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