The purpose of Ink and Impact is to educate, encourage, and embolden Christian writers. And to date, I think the show has been doing a good job with education and encouragement, especially with a lot of guests that have been on.
If you’re new to Ink and Impact, I encourage you to go to the inkandimpact.com website and review some of the previous topics that we’ve had and the fantastic guest authors that have shared about their writing journeys, the impact that other books have had on them, as well as how they are hoping that their books will impact others.
And so today, instead of education and encouragement, I want to focus on the emboldening portion of the mission. This is a portion that I think is missing from a lot of what’s being offered to Christian authors. There’s so much great information and other podcasts offering education: how to write, how to market, how to publish, how to self-publish … all of the how-tos, all of the techniques and tips. And that’s needed and I applaud everyone who is doing that.
There are some episodes and podcasts out there that do a good job of encouraging Christian writers as well. But the Lord has been burdening my heart lately. Actually, it started a couple of years ago. And I’ve shared this story before, about walking into the local bookstore – a big chain bookstore – and just …. I used to love bookstores. I used to love libraries. And now I almost dread it, in a way, because of all of the darkness, all of the worldly things that are just front and foremost on the ends of every aisle facing you. The covers are all dark. The topics are not necessarily godly. And I think you can understand that. As a Christian writer, I hope that you appreciate that as well.
But the Lord has burdened me with that. And I’ve not quite … I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to do with that. But with this podcast, I think that He is wanting me to not just encourage you as writers, but to also motivate you to step out into your calling.
We are children of the one true God. We need to own our identity as Christians. When we’re writing Christian books, we need to own our identity. So I wanted to focus this episode on identity and influence.
Like I said, we are children of the one true God. We are called to confess Christ before men. And I wanted to bring the most impactful book of all – the Bible – into today’s episode.
And, you know, that’s a command that Matthew in chapter 10:32-33 says here, and this is Jesus speaking, “Therefore, whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
Luke also addresses this. Luke 12:8-9 … again, it’s Jesus speaking … “Also, I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the son of man also will confess before the angels of God, but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”
So, Jesus, shared this commandment, right? That we who are believers are to confess him toward men. This doesn’t mean we’re supposed to beat them over the head, though. And our books don’t have to come across as being preachy per se.
I am not a theologian. I never attended seminary. And to be honest, I really wondered if this is what I was to share with you today. But I did feel impressed to share this. So, I hope that you take this in the understanding that I am speaking to myself as much as to you, everything that I’m going to say today. Because this Bible is for all of us Christians. I am not any better than you.
I looked up what the word “confess” meant in that Greek and Hebrew. I’m not going to go through all those definitions, but it kind of boiled down to … this is how I summarized it: We’re not just to proclaim His name; to just speak it or say it. Confessing means that we acknowledge allegiance to Him. That takes it a step further, right?
As Christian writers, what that means is that we are willing to share the message that He wants us to write about – that story – and do it regardless of what the outcome is.
We are devoted to Him, regardless of
- how many books we sell,
- any backlash that we might get,
- negative reviews from people who don’t like it,
- those little trolls on social media who might say negative things about our work, what we stand for, or Who we represent.
We are to write in the name of Christ. And we are to confess Him boldly.
One thing that the Lord shared with me when I was sitting and preparing for this podcast episode is this:
If our identity is in Christ,
then our responsibility as writers
is to reflect Christ with humility,
so that our readers can understand the reality of sin,
and the hope of an eternity with the Father,
through faith in Christ Jesus.
In other words, we need to share our message so that our readers know both the reality of sin and the hope of salvation. We need to share both of those.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this in the bookstores, but there’s not a Christian section. It’s a religious section. And so Christian books are lumped in with all kinds of religions, all kinds of spiritual beliefs. So much of that is about hope and “what’s in it for us?”
There’s nothing wrong with hope. But we need to have hope in the right thing. Who are we hoping in? We’re hoping in Christ; we’re hoping in that eternity in Heaven with Him.
Another book that I wanted to share with you, aside from the Bible today, is – I’ve talked about this book before, and I’m sure you’re gonna hear it a lot in future episodes, too – but My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. It’s a devotional, and this is about my third year going through it. It’s just so deep and good.
But as Oswald Chambers says, in his book My Utmost for His Highest,
“The preaching of the Gospel awakens an intense resentment, because it must reveal that I am unholy. But it also awakens an intense craving.”
So, not that we need to be preaching to our readers, but like I said, sharing the truths that God reveals to us. And ultimately, whether it’s through our characters or if it’s a nonfiction book and the message that we’re sharing … sometimes when we are convicted of sin, it can cause resentment.
But God doesn’t allow that resentment to just breed, right? He offers the solution. He turns that reality, that realization of sin, to “Oh, I want the opposite of that. I want the right thing. I want Christ.” It does create a desire to be holy.
We can be confident in that, too, as writers. I want to also encourage us to ask ourselves this question when we’re writing:
Do we cause our readers to think by letting them come face to face with God?
I’ll say that again: Do we cause our readers to think by letting them come face to face with God? Are we offering them deep truths? Are we allowing our characters in our fiction stories to dive into deep topics? Or are we just replacing substance with fluff?
Now, those feel-good things, the happy things – everybody loves that. That’s why they sell. But we also need to share truth in our writing, and allow our readers to experience God face to face.
I know that this is a difficult thing to do. A lot of times, our flesh, our minds, balks at wanting to write so deeply? A lot of times, it’s because of fear. And again, I’m speaking about myself here, a recovering people pleaser.
We worry about what people will think, what people will say, what people will do.
But God has not given us a spirit of fear. It says in 2 Timothy 1:7 that He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. Let’s stand in that and remember that.
So, while I’m encouraging us to be bold and speak truth, I don’t want us to go about it as if we’re better than anyone else. We don’t want pride to set in. We need to beware of pride and all the trappings of the world.
Again, Oswald Chambers says it best. He says, “Beware of conscious influence.” He goes on and doesn’t mince words.
He says, “Conscious influence is priggish and un-Christian.”
Now, you can tell that he wrote this in the 1930s; nobody really uses the word “priggish” anymore. But the fact is that conscious influence is un-Christian.
The apostle John confirms this in 1 John 2:16-17. He says, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world.”
So how does that relate to us today? What am I getting at?
We tend to worry about:
- social media followers,
- the number of email subscribers,
- how many books we’ve sold,
- the number of five star reviews we’ve received,
- getting the best name (person) for an endorsement ….
It’s easy to focus more on building our own perceived influence, platform, and career than focusing on the Holy Spirit’s influence on our readers’ lives.
Let’s try to focus more on our readers, and what God’s call is on our lives, than on our influence.
Now, Oswald Chambers goes on to explain that the opposite is just as bad. He says, “If I say – I wonder if I’m any use – I instantly lose the bloom of the Lord.”
I know that I have questioned who am I to write about this? Or what am I going to write about? And believed that I’m not of any use. Ah, but Oswald Chambers calls us out on it and so does the Holy Spirit.
This is why it’s important to go back to our identity in Christ.
When we know that we belong to Him, and when we allow Him to work through us, we can trust that we are of immense use to the kingdom of God.
All right, well, thank you so much for listening to/reading this; I hope that I motivated you a little bit!
Let me know! I would love to hear your comments in an email. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or leave a review on your favorite podcast platform of choice.
Now I want to focus on you the listeners. I am so grateful for you and I would love to learn a little bit more about you – specifically, I would love to know if you have written a Christian book!
Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, please let me know. Send an email to email@example.com and be sure to include these things:
- your full name (first and last),
- the title of your book,
- a brief summary of what your book is about (that back cover blurb would be perfect), and
- a link to where I can see the cover and maybe read a few sample pages of your book.
Please send me that information, but DON’T send any attachments – I won’t open those. And try not to include any photos in the body of the message because I have an old computer and it really slows things down.
But I do want to hear from you! And I do want to learn about your book and I want to encourage you as a Christian writer.
I’m hoping that I will hear from lots of you. And I’m hoping to be able to share about your books in an upcoming episode. So be sure to send me that information.
Coming Up Next Week…
Next week we will be discussing tools for authors. You know, those programs, softwares – all kinds of different things that I use, and some of my fellow writers really enjoy using, to help us in our writing journey.
All right, that’s it for today. Thank you so much for joining me. I hope that you have a blessed week!
What do you think? Did you like this episode? Please share this episode with the fellow writers in your life.
That’s it for today fellow pen pusher.
Remember, don’t just write a book. Make an impact.