Picking up from last’s week’s post. These also apply to every type of occupation and/or hobby.
#1. Walk / live / work in the Light
“Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (I John 2:6 ESV).”
The context of this scripture refers to a life walking in the light, as He is in the light (I John 1:6-7). This light, in its context, is purity, holiness, and for us–godliness. Whatever we are doing, it should be in the light, the light of godliness. Whether work or play, it should be framed by our faith and Christian worldview and displayed in godliness.
How does this relate to writing? I need to ask myself: Is the content of my writing godly or godless? Does my writing promote and/or glorify ungodliness, deceit, or other things that are of the darkness? I may have characters and scenes that have such attributes, but what emphasis do I put on them? Do I make characters who live ungodly lives to be heroes in my stories (Proverbs 3:31-33)? Is a worldly lifestyle glorified (I John 2:15-17)?
Wouldn’t you agree that Christians have the responsibility to make truth and error clear, as opposed to cloudy and uncertain?
II Corinthians 4:2-3 ” But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing (ESV).”
Whether you realize it or not, we are a living epistle read by all. We need to commend ourselves to every reader’s conscience in the sight of God.
#2. Biblical Accountability
Last week’s post touched on the need for my wife to keep me in line if and when the two of us need to visit a local “Christian” bookstore. Why? When I see some of the books that are being pushed (promoted) under the guise of Christian literature within the Christian community my blood pressure hits the red zone. I emphasis “some,” not all books.
A person could conclude by what is sold under the banner of Christianity that it doesn’t matter if a book (fiction or non-fiction) is biblically accurate and spiritually healthy. At any given week some of the more popular “Christian” books (that’s just a disguise) are at best spiritually unhealthy and/or aberrant. At worst, they are heretical leading readers to embrace non-biblical ideas about God, the work of Jesus, and the foundational truths of the Christian faith.
Someone may ask, “But do they sell?” “Is the author well known?”
Sadly, these types of questions have ruling authority in a good portion of the Christian marketplace.
Several years ago I was in contact with an executive of a chain of Christian bookstores regarding a certain book that they were displaying on their “in your face best seller rack.” The book was indeed selling like Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes, yet it was full of heresies (from universal salvation to a cross with no saving power, to an assassination of the character and nature of God). I was told that the executives had initially pulled the book after realizing its errors, but decided to put it back on the shelves after assessing the great demand by the public. I was told that although they had realized the book’s errors, they decided that it could help people. Really? Because my children want to eat poison, I warm it up and put it on their plates and give it my blessing? Where is the responsibility to the truth?
I’ll leave the details of the conversation alone, you get my point, especially since I have just finished my morning coffee and the caffeine wants me to launch into a righteous indignation rant along with other self-righteous sins. It’s best that I move on.
We should care about the Body of Christ, and we should be defenders of the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). If you are a Christian writer who references scripture, in any way, go the extra mile to make sure that you are interpreting the scriptures correctly. We never want to be lazy in the use of God’s Word and miss handle it. We do have an obligation to accurately represent the Christian faith, as well as how it should be lived out.
2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (ESV).”
#3. Glorifying God in All that We Do.
This should be both the means and the end in our work. Does God care how many “Christian” books are sold, or … does He care if we honor His Name and uphold the banner of truth? As Christians we need to ask ourselves if what we are writing is glorifying the living God or something else … or someone else.
Here are some questions to check the “Glory Meter”—who is getting the glory in my writing. How do I handle receiving compliments and praise for my work? How do I handle criticism? Do I pray before, during, and after I write? Am I depending on the Spirit of God to help me in this endeavor? Who do I want to please first and most with my writing?
I Corinthians 10:31-33 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved (ESV).”
The Last Word
Someone may respond with, “But sometimes you have to compromise to sell books. This is how the system works. If I don’t give the market what it wants, I’ll never sell books. If I can’t sell books, I might go out of business.”
Popularity should never out-weigh our responsibilities, our love of truth, and our reverence to the Name of the Holy One. We must remember that what is right is more important than what works!
“O’ Father, Hallowed be Thy Name in all my endeavors!”