A piece I’d written on hospitality appeared on the Upper Room devotional site recently. Is it a coincidence that we had a rush of guests and requests for visits round about the same time? My parents stayed for a weekend, my cousin flew out from England for a week-long visit, a missionary friend asked if she could stay for a week in November, and a New Zealand friend asked if she could visit in January. Now it’s great to see all these people, but we’d never had so many house guests in such a short period. I couldn’t help thinking that God was prompting me to apply the hospitality lesson I’d advocated in that devotion.
One of the editors from the Upper Room also asked if I could do an additional blog post for the web site. I wrote a piece about how God had challenged me to go part-time in my job so that I could spend more time writing. As I sent off my faith-filled blog, I joked to my husband that I wouldn’t be surprised if God tested me on that too. A few days later, God did indeed challenge me to take an even bigger leap of faith. How could I fail to do what He’d asked, knowing that my article was about to appear? So I took a deep breath and stepped out again.
The lesson in all of this is that we should just write bland, unchallenging material so that God won’t ask us to do anything about it. No wait, that’s not it! Though my husband did say I should check with him before sending anything else out. J
God wants us to practise what we preach, or maybe in our case, “walk what we write”. I’d like to say that I have this principle nailed, but I don’t always get it right. For the last few years, I’ve contributed pieces to an American devotional book and I often find myself reading something I’d written a year before and thinking, “Whoops … haven’t been doing that”. Fortunately, God is ever patient and merciful. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but He does want us to try to live the things we’re writing about.
In James 1:22, we’re told “do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Maybe as writers, we could add, “do not merely write the word … do what it says”. It’s not always easy, but it certainly makes for a more authentic witness. Isn’t it wonderful to know that God is so intimately concerned with our writing endeavours, that He takes them seriously and uses them to mould us into the people He wants us to be?
I'd be interested to hear about times you’ve been challenged to apply something you’d already written.
Nola Passmore is a freelance writer who has had more than 90 short pieces published in various magazines, journals, and anthologies (including true stories, devotions, poetry and short fiction). She has a passion for writing about what God has done in her life and encouraging others to do the same. (Some call it "nagging", but she calls it "encouragement").