As a Christian fiction author, one of the most important things to me is that the entire content of what I write reflect the influence of the Word in my novels. While I don’t want my fiction to be that dreaded word, “preachy,” I do have a goal for my fiction–to encourage fellow Christians in their walks with the Lord.
I work hard to do as much of it as possibly by example–showing how a character lives out their faith in conjunction with the plot of the book. That allows me the opportunity to allude to Scriptural principles without turning each book into a a sermon disguised as a dramatic skit.
But in real life, people discuss things–they argue about them. Entire denominations have been created because one faction of Christianity saw communion as requiring one cup while another saw no reason not to give everyone their own. Friendships have been destroyed because one person’s eschatology didn’t match another’s. But with those debates, some have grown closer from a mutual love of Scripture. I’ve seen this happen often on a message board I run. We all love the Word. We love each other. And though we may not agree with someone else’s understanding of Scripture, we can agree that their understanding is rooted in a love of the Lord. Many of us operate from the theory that if God wants to correct their theology, He can and will do that without our interference–er help.
Like Mary, I like to store up treasures in my heart–for me it’s the Word. Without the Word of God as the foundation of our faith, we have nothing. I speak, write, and encourage from the heart, but there is a problem.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?
“I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.”
Without the Lord and His Word resting in my heart, I am “desperately sick” and “deceitful.” That’s not exactly encouraging. It’s why when the publisher originally had the back copy of Deepest Roots of the Heart written to say, “…and the importance of following your heart,” I almost had a coronary. In fact, my very desperately sick and wicked heart freaked out a bit, and my reply was barely civil. I made it clear that I would be very upset if they used that. As always, Waterfall was quite gracious and made the change without hesitation. I’m still grateful for that.
But where does my wicked, sick heart leave me then? How can I hope to encourage others when I recognize that I am so utterly flawed?
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
“For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
It always comes back to the Word, doesn’t it? What about Hebrews 4:12?
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
The WORD is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. It will not return void (as I think the KJV puts it).
It’s really simple (in that amazingly complex way that the most beautifully simple things are).
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, (emphasis mine)
II Corinthians 10:5
It’s how I correct wrong thinking in my own heart. I compare it with the Word. In fact, I always feel a little like Marianne Dashwood in the Emma Thompson version of Sense and Sensibility. Elinor says, “Do you compare your conduct with his,” and Marianne replies, “No, I compare it to what it ought to have been. I compare it with yours.”
That’s what I try to do. Compare my thoughts with the Word. It’s how I take them captive. I think sometimes we as Christians feel like we should never have wrong thinking–that those wrong thoughts were washed away from us when we were covered in Jesus’ blood. Well, if that were true, then we wouldn’t be told to take those thoughts captive, would we?
If I am feeling justified in selfish or unkind thoughts–I take them to the Word. And I find that the Word tells me :
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Let’s face it. 99% of the time, we know when our actions or thoughts are out of tune with the Word of the Lord. We may not know why, but the Holy Spirit is gracious and loving and pricks our hearts to show us our faults. The more we yield to those pricks, the more sensitive we are to them. Then we take it to the Word, infuse that Word into our hearts, and allow God’s Word to transform us all over again. Because as Romans 12: 2 says:
be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We speak Scripture into our hearts, and as a result, we drive out the deceit and the sickness that tries so hard to infect us and keep us captive like a cancer.
That’s my goal for my books. I’ll fail. I’m human. I’m weak and I don’t always listen or do what is right. But it’s the goal. It’s my prayer.
It’s my deepest longing regarding the work I do.