Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Faith Test for Christian Writers, Part 1

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. ~James 3:13-18
We’re studying the book of James on Wednesday nights, and these verses we studied last week resonated with me.
As a Christian, when I write, I strive to realize my responsibility to adhere to God’s word. I often wonder how a person believes the words they write come from God while others believe they are from the devil. These are Christians viewing the same words very differently.
I’ve had people attack things I have written, and it makes me stop and think. How do we know the words we write are the words God wishes us to write?
We may not always know. However, I believe the Holy Spirit does guide us. When a person lines up his/her spirit with the word of God, the words will be the right words.
Although that brings up another question. How do we know we are lining up our spirits with the word of God? Isn’t it great that we can find the answer right here in God’s word? Let’s take a Faith Test. blog1121
In verse 13, James uses the term “meekness of wisdom.”
At Dictionary Reference meek is defined as:
1. humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.
2. overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame.
3. Obsolete . gentle; kind.
~ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/meekness
In today’s world, we want to appear anything but meek. However, we, as Christians, are called apart from the world. Jesus was meek, and we are to follow in his footsteps. And that means “patient,” even when others provoke us, as we see in the first meaning. Or even consider the third meaning: “gentle, kind.” We, as Christians, should not write with an attitude of impatience or unkindness.
Not that we can always be as patient, gentle and kind in our words as we should be. James says in this same chapter “if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well (verses 2-3).”
We may not have reached perfection, of never stumbling in what we say, but it’s something we are to strive for.
Does this mean we cannot have conflict in books? Of course not. However, if we are not writing with the ultimate goal of helping others to be Christ-like, to develop kindness and patience, we’re missing the mark.
Books teach. Even if we say we are writing only for entertainment, our books still teach. We, as writers, are teachers. And as teachers we are held to a greater accountability. (Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. ~ James 3:1)
So, let’s take the test. Are we showing our works (our writings) in “the meekness of wisdom”?
And that’s just question number one. We’ll continue the test next time. Hope you join me!
(Special thanks to Mark Littleton for his lessons on James.)

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.