At the outbreak of any new understanding, passion often outstrips coherence, but eventually that passion coupled with a logical proclamation will change the world. There were three occasions when I came to a new understanding of my faith, which has, over time, given me insight and direction for writing.
The first, as a young man, I felt honour bound to defend the Bible, but suddenly realized it didn’t need me to defend it. What a relief to know the Bible would still be secure even if I failed it in some way. It has stood the test of time for two thousand years, and the Old Testament for much longer. I could relax in my faltering attempts to support it.
The second was the discovery of the difference between simplistic and simplicity. I read somewhere that simplicity results from journeying through the complexity of a subject. Only then can a subject be fully expressed in simple terms. To miss that journey risks a simplistic response to critical matters. Another reason to read widely while writing.
Finally, the most obvious, yet the most difficult to fully embrace—but which has had the most impact on my writing—is awareness of the absolute necessity of reliance on the Holy Spirit for His inspiration. Frequently, I experienced the occurrence given in Isaiah 50:4:
“The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught,”
As a result, I often arose to write in the middle of the night, and developed a habit of very early rising to ensure a clear mind to record what I believe God gave me. To leave it till later is to risk it fading in memory and impact.
This eased my deep sense of inadequacy of speaking for God. After all, as Paul said, “Who is equal to such a task?” 2 Corinthians 2:16. Strangely, the same reference in first Corinthians has an answer: “‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
Really? We have the mind of Christ? An astonishing claim, and impossible without the insight to God’s mind from the Holy Spirit. As I age, I become increasingly aware of my sin-soiled thinking demanding the clarifying perception of God’s “foolishness” for my “wisdom.”
I must seek the illumination of the Spirit as I read the Word, and other Christian writings. Then I need His inspiration as I write. Anything short of that is “chasing the wind,” a way to cope, not assurance of hope. I love the idea of “eureka” moments, but it is the steady development of those insights which will leave a lasting heritage.