For a moment, let’s take a look inside my process of writing for this site. New topics arrive from a variety of sources, but the most common include a Bible passage that caught my eye, or a point discovered while preparing a lesson to teach1. Ideas also surface during church (like that point I thought the pastor was going to make, but where he emphasized a different lesson), and even the drive to or from work2.
At this point, these “thought starters” may have an introduction or a conclusion, or even some key points, but they aren’t really articles. It takes some time and work (see Inspiration vs. Perspiration) to turn them into something cohesive and coherent. I’ve been known to open up several recent drafts, write as much as I can on each one, and then leave them alone until another day. Other times, an idea just flows into a complete article in one sitting. (I credit God for those latter cases, as well as many of the ideas.)
Once an article is ready to go, though, it will usually sit in the Draft state for at least a day. Then, a batch of articles (often two or three) can be proofread at once, adding in links to Bible verses that were cited, along with an appropriate image, keywords, and a summary. At that point, articles are usually scheduled several weeks out.
However, if I’m keeping up with things, there is another review performed 1-2 weeks before the article is published. Every so often, I try to open the next couple of weeks’ worth of articles in new tabs within a browser, and read them again, to see if they still make sense. This gives me a break from looking at them, and lets me find more typos (and awkward sentences).
Even after publication, other readers (or even my wife) may spot errors, which are usually pretty easy to fix.
So, what does this particular article have to do with the Christian walk? Let’s consider the following passage from the book of Colossians:
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7 NIV
Note that there are (at least) two tenses here in English. First, there is what has already happened: The believers had received Jesus. They were rooted in Him. These things were already completed in these believers’ lives.
This foundation is the necessary basis for what comes next: These followers of Jesus were instructed to continue living in Jesus. They were called to remain overflowing in their thanks. Just like a good article, the main idea – receiving Jesus as their Lord – was the critical starting point, and set the tone for the rest of these Christians’ lives. However, capturing the main idea wasn’t meant to be the end of their involvement with Jesus. Instead, there was ongoing work to be done.
When we accept and confess Jesus Christ as our Lord (see Jesus is Lord,…but what does that mean?), we are like an idea for a new article. Once we have received salvation, our names are recorded in the book of life (see Revelation 3:5), but that is just the start. Before our time on earth is up (when our entry into an eternal home begins), we can continue to be “revised” and refined into something even better.
If you have given Jesus first place in your life, the main idea of your life – to glorify God and be restored to His family – is established. Now, it’s time to invest in making your story one that becomes better and better over time. There are ways to communicate the good news to other people that take some polishing. There are opportunities to glorify God that illustrate your commitment to Him. There are bad habits that need to be edited out of our lives. Revisions aren’t bad, and they don’t mean that the original idea was wrong. In the hands of a master editor, revisions just make things even more interesting.
If no one has yet taught you how to continue and grow in your walk with Jesus, let me offer three simple things to start with:
- God gave us His Word, with instructions for what it means to live in a way that glorifies Him. Reading your Bible regularly and intentionally is probably the best way to find out how God wants you to build on the foundation He has provided. If we each represent a message, the Bible is like God’s “style sheet” and “formatting guide”, describing what all of His followers should look like.
- Where the Bible is general, listening to God’s direction for you provides specific “edits” that He wants you to make. Whether there are particular things for you to add to your story (certain types of ministry, new behaviors, or just specific people for you to reach out to), or content that needs to be edited out or improved, talk with God and listen for His reply. Sometimes He speaks audibly or as a stirring in our heart. At other times, He arranges circumstances for us to step into a specific part of His plan.
- And, once you have a foundation of God’s word and God’s direction, you are able to listen to (or read) what others have to say about Him, obtaining instruction in the Word of God. While discretion is always required (to separate the truth from false teaching), God has often worked through other teachers to help His family grow.
So, let God – the Author of life – continue to make you better and better. This is not for our glory, but for His!
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- Teaching in person is something I haven’t been able to do as much while we try to slow the spread of “the virus”. I’m happy to report that the leaders of my local congregation are working on that, though. ↩
- Again, that is when I used to commute to work, rather than working from home, as many are doing, now. ↩