I thought I had located all those writing verses in the Bible-like the pen being some sort of weapon, how keeping words shut up inside would burn my chest, how the reading of many novels was all tediousness.
Today I found another verse-one that highlights my deepest hopes in writing. Paul told the Corinthian believers, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words” (1 Corinthians 2:12-13).
As Christian writers and communicators, God has planted His very Spirit within us. Our task is to be so in touch with that Spirit that we spend time digging into and cultivating spiritual thoughts. Eventually, as we allow His nature and being to compost our souls, we have the privilege of combining the composted thoughts with spiritual words.
So much of Christian writing is shallow. We naively believe that we can communicate deep spiritual truth by throwing seeds of ideas onto the parched, untilled soil of our hearts. Prematurely, we combine our shallow theology with words and scatter them to the world, thinking we’re doing the world a favor.
But impacting our culture with the words of God never comes easy. If we as Christian artists long to see our words transform culture for the glory of God, we must be content with obscurity, of digging deeply into spiritual truth with only God as our audience. In secret we turn over soil we thought well tilled, only to find it needing more attention. While no one watches, we labor over tiny seeds-watering, praying, waiting-until God births new insight into our lives about His character and what He freely gives us.
It’s that labor in obscurity that produces the richest soil, which, in turn, produces the richest words. It’s heartache that produces writing that soothes other’s heartache. As long as we refrain from life, as long as we content ourselves with light spirituality, our prose will reflect it. Like the seed sown upon the shallow soil, it will spring up, perhaps sell millions of books, and then it will wither and die. Later in the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul summarizes our mandate as kingdom-focused writers, “For the kingdom of God,” he said, “does not consist in words but in power” (4:20).
It’s no wonder he says that the combining of words only comes after cultivating spiritual truth in our lives. Words, if not breathed from His mouth, are just words. If we long to extend the kingdom of God on this planet, we must first realize that we are small and His power is everything. Without His power behind our paltry words, we become elevator music to the masses-with bland melodies and little impact.
If you want to make an eternal impact with your words, spend some time in the garden with the Tiller of words. Let Him plant words of redemption in your heart. Ask Him the proper time to combine the words to give to others.
And then watch the Kingdom grow.