Words are my passion, my vehicle for expression, my pathway to knowledge. Words energize and inspire me as nothing else does. They are the breath of my creativity. But there is only one person who is the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1 & 14 NIV)
The Greek word logos, translated word, has many shades of meaning, from something spoken, to reasoning, to intent concerning communication. The Word, as the apostle John employed it, translates as divine expression. God the Father spoke forth the divine expression of Himself in the person of His Son Jesus, God in human flesh.
As a believer in Jesus Christ as my Savior, I carry with my writing the supreme privilege of communicating the Word, God’s divine expression, to my readers. I do not take this privilege lightly. I am humbled by the example of those who inscribed God’s Word on parchment centuries ago. Through the Holy Spirit, God inspired those writers to record His sacred story in the scriptures.
The Lord told Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered….” (Exodus 17:14)
He instructed Isaiah, “Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness.” (Isaiah 30:8)
When John received God’s revelation, he was told, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5)
Writing is a permanent record, a remembrance of thoughts, history, stories, documented for others to read long after the author is gone. God chose the written word as His means of expression to us. He could have used music or pictures, but He chose words. I like to think He used words because of their precision and beauty. As the creator of language, He knew what mode of communication would have the most impact on us.
God’s Word is entirely complete, so those called to write for Him now cannot claim direct divine inspiration. What we’ve been given is a gift, a desire, a calling to express His truths in whatever genre we show aptitude. There are a myriad of styles, a limitless combination of words to convey the truths of God to a needy world. Because the Word indwells us, He also moves our writing in ways that will reach those who need to hear of Him. Our role is to be available, to couch our craft in prayer, seeking guidance and inspiration. We are to hone our writing skills and educate ourselves in our literary field. Writing requires solitude, introspection, time, and most of all, a close relationship with the author and finisher of our faith. (Heb. 12:2) When a writer fosters an active spiritual life, the pen becomes a channel through which the ink of God’s purposes and promises can flow.
I find there is something mysterious in the writing process, as guided by God. Upon completion of one writing project, I immediately begin to pray about the next one. I never know how God will indicate what He wants me to write next. Keeping my writer’s radar tuned in, a scripture verse may impact me, or an aspect of nature, or a snippet of conversation. An idea settles in the creative part of my brain and percolates, gradually bubbling up into a full-blown premise for a new piece. I know I am in God’s will when the idea will not leave me alone, when I wake up with it on my mind and think about it throughout my day. When it finally reaches paper, most of the work has already been done in my active brain. Some pieces take more work than others, but I am always energized as I write, knowing the living Word is inspiring my words.
In her book about faith and art, Walking on Water, Madeleine L’Engle writes, “When the words mean even more than the writer knew they meant, then the writer has been listening. And sometimes when we listen, we are led into places we do not expect, into adventures we do not always understand.”
The Word, that Divine Expression, Jesus Christ, has been spoken into the world. Everyone is able to hear the Word, but not everyone receives His truth. As writers who are Christian, we have been gifted with a sacred task. It is not to write, but to listen. Listen for the stirrings of God in all the world around us, then let that sound become a symphony of words declaring His glory.