I would like to ask your advice, and your prayers for an area in my life which sorely needs all the prayers and advice (from reliable, Christian folks) possible. I recognize a talent which I possess in the area of creative writing. But I am so often writing words that show the devil in them, more than the Spirit of the Living God. I feel very frustrated in this, and know surely that God’s design must be utilized much, much more than that of the world. Please! Any advice you might offer would be very, very much appreciated!
Thank you for your continuance of your wonderful journal coming to me. And–if you might offer me some words of wisdom in my aforementioned problem area–that of the world holding governance over my writing talent, rather than what should be, which is the convicted display and witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every word which I form on paper.
You have a commendable ambition, not to allow “the world” to “hold governance” over your writing talent. With the world surrounding us on every side and godless interests everywhere, it is real work to keep our minds above our lower instincts, to think and speak and write on a plane which will show continually what you call “the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”
The ways of the world and the ways of God are in such complete contrast that the Bible represents them as light and darkness. The prophet Isaiah makes the comparison at the ultimate level, saying that God’s thoughts are as much higher than man’s as “the heavens are higher than the earth” (Isa. 55:9).
You are correct in recognizing that a talent is a gift from God, which one who is serving Christ should not allow “the world to hold governance over.” Since you do not say in what way the world is dominating your talent–whether you are using your creative writing talent in your work, as a means of earning your livelihood, or whether you use it only in matters of personal interest–it is difficult to offer specific suggestions. However, we might point out a few principles that should govern day-to-day Christian living.
First, as you recognize, everything we have–our talents, our time, our energy, our very life–all come from God, and all rightfully belong to Him. Any use of these which does not glorify God, any use of these which He cannot approve, is a misuse of His property, if we have committed our lives to serve Him. The command is clear and all-inclusive: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
God intends that we use our talents and abilities to help us earn a living, but we must be selective. Whatever we do, it must be something God can approve.
There are certain occupations in which a committed Christian would not want to engage. For instance, you would not want to use your creative writing talent (or any other mental or physical ability or talent) to produce anything that is God-dishonoring, or that is untrue, or that downgrades or belittles Christian standards or virtues or that sets people against God or His truth, His world, or His work. However, this does not mean it would be wrong to use your talent in secular work, i.e., the writing of factual reports, instructional books, materials for marketing of useful products, etc.
As Christians we have an obligation to use every part of our life in a manner that is constructive and God-fearing. This includes the time, effort and talent we expend fulfilling our duties to ourselves, our families, and our community, as well as what we expend in direct service or witnessing for God. It includes what we expend in self-improvement, encouraging others, earning our living–literally everything we do. It is impossible to separate secular and sacred duties. What cannot be done as to the Lord should not be done.
Every part of our life must witness for God, not only what we may say in talking to others about our faith. The most powerful witnessing we can do is by our lives, by our daily conduct. This is how the apostle Paul did much of his preaching, and why he could say, “Wherever I go, thank God, he makes my life a constant pageant of triumph in Christ, diffusing the perfume of his knowledge everywhere by me. I live for God” (2 Cor. 2:14, Moffatt). He was witnessing not only by his words but by his life.