(Yes, that’s me. And yes, I still don’t use a computer to write my blogs. Old School.)
My wife and I were out to dinner a few weeks ago and we were discussing how and why I blog. Specifically, how I come up with the topics for my blogs. Without trying to appear overly spiritual, I think the Holy Spirit gives me those topics. As I’m reading scripture, or listening to a sermon, or even watching the news. I often get this impression “that’s an idea you should think about more deeply.”
But irony is that often I’m not always sure what I believe about each topic, or why. To be sure I have an opinion on almost everything, but an opinion is not a fully formed thought, based on a biblical worldview. So rather than just shoot from the hip, I’m forced to do some research. Several things often happen as I begin that process.
As I read scripture, or a commentary or other blogs, I often find I begin to doubt some of the ideas I had previously believed. It’s not like I doubt any of the basic and clear teachings of the gospel. It’s how biblical truths ought to be applied in real life situations that I begin to rethink. I find that doubt humbles me and forces me to lean on the Holy Spirit, scripture and the writings of godly men and women, way brighter than I am.
Then as I begin writing, I’ll often finish a sentence or paragraph and immediately sense something just isn’t quite right about it. I take that as a Holy Spirit check to my conscience. So, I’ll often stop, offer a brief prayer for insight and wisdom and read that sentence or paragraph again and ask myself, “Are these just your ideas Clare, or are they really rooted in scripture?”
There is a tendency in all of us to believe an idea, and look for a scripture verse to support it. (bias confirmation) And for certain, I’ve done it. But when I’m at my best, I’ll test what I believe against “the whole counsel of God.” I’ll then write what I believe best represents the wisdom of God on that topic and hope and pray I get it right. Most of my blogs are written over a week or two and are revised three or four times in the process. I take teaching others seriously.
“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1
I’ll occasionally send a draft blog to a friend, or pastor I really respect and ask them to critique it. I think this is how learning best takes place – in community.
So if you’re a regular reader of my blogs and just thought I was super knowledgeable. I’m not. I’m still learning and putting pen to paper helps me shape my ideas on topics, for which I only have an opinion. You might try doing the same. Pick a topic and begin writing what you believe about it and why. Test it with scripture or better yet, begin with scripture. Writing helps me sharpen my thinking and helps me shape an idea that eventually I’m able to use with the men I mentor or even my own grandchildren.
Write first to learn, not to teach. If you do, you will end up teaching and sometimes it will be – yourself!
How following Jesus works in real life.
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