Welcome to Part 7 of the Writing by Faith series for Christian authors! If you’re new to Authoring Arrowheads, be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss future series posts!
If you haven’t yet read previous installments of the Writing by Faith series, you can do so here.
Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.Galatians 6:6-8, KJV
By now, I hope if you’ve made it this far, that you at least recall this one message from this series: Our purpose as Christian authors is to serve and promote God through our books. As we’ve covered in previous posts, forgetting our overall purpose and chasing our own, worldly desires can be not only detrimental for our mindsets, but for our relationship with God. In this section, we’ll be zoning in on the two paths we have the choice of taking when it comes to being a Christian author, and what consequences we will reap based on the type of seeds we choose to sow.
The Two Diverging Roads
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.Jeremiah 29:11, KJV
When we’re called to be Christian authors, we also have to make the choice of allowing God to take the wheel and direct us where to go, or rely on seasoned authors, learn their methods, and follow them to T, because it’s proven effective. Faith is not required.
On the surface, it appears that these two aren’t diverging paths at all, but if we zoom out and identify their distinct routes. their turn-by-turn directions, we’ll soon find they lead to opposite ends of the spectrum.
Back in post one, Answering the Call, we touched on why following our specific God-given purpose is important: He has endowed each of us with unique experiences, point-of-views, and characteristics that can be used to write the stories He has laid on our hearts.
Have you ever noticed that, while there are millions of books available, no two stories are ever the same (I mean, unless some heavy-duty plagiarism is going on)? Even though many books have similar storylines, the individual scenes are different. The characters, while sometimes similar to others, for the most part have their own special arcs. Even though some books have similar plots, the overall themes are different. Each book is as unique as the author who wrote it.
This fact should mean more to Christian authors. reading back over Jeremiah 29:11, we find that God has specific plans for each of us, and that His plans are peaceful and will have an expected end. When God allows a story idea into our lives, we’ll know it from the start. We’ll feel driven to write this story, knowing deep in our hearts that God equipped us with this idea for a specific reason. We can write this in a way no one else can.
Now, what if, instead of writing what God lays on our hearts, we instead choose to mirror what other, seasoned and money making authors are doing, and write solely for their market? If we’re choosing to ignore our calling from God in order to pursue something that may sell better, it’s a guarantee we’ll experience some, if not all, of the following:
1) Imposter Syndrome
5) A Waning Relationship with God
This list could go on and on. How do I know this?
Though I don’t think I’ve ever intentionally “written to market”, I have “marketed to market”, trying to mimic posting and marketing styles of more successful mainstream indie young adult authors to gain a larger audience rather than promote God. Though my reach did grow slightly, I often felt like a fraud. I was afraid to be myself on social media platforms, afraid to talk about God, and felt like I wasn’t social enough to make it big. I pulled a “fake it til you make it” attitude for months, and after The Crush was released in October 2020, I realized faking it didn’t help me make it after all. For months afterward, I suffered from deep anxiety and depression. I even stopped writing my work in progress for six months. I felt like God had thrown me out into the ocean to drown, but, in reality, I was the one who cannon-balled off the plank without a life jacket.
Just like Jonah when he ignored God calling him to preach in Nineveh and got himself stuck in the belly of the whale, if we blatantly ignore God’s calling for us, we will have to face the consequences. And, oftentimes, it will force us to choose between our own desires and God’s.
What We Sow Affects Our Relationship with God
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.Matthew 6:24, KJV
If we choose to write to please the world, gain a massive audience, and make a profit, where do God’s plans fit in?
Writing by faith in the One True God requires us as Christian authors to face the decision of Matthew 6:24 on a daily basis, asking ourselves what matters to us more: pleasing God, or pleasing the world?
There is a vast difference between Who God–our Holy Creator, the King of Righteousness–and what the fallen world we live in is. Likewise, pleasing God will often, and, almost always, chance offending people who are of the world. As we touched on in part four, Enduring the Opposition, we can’t please everyone, so we might as well do our best to please the One whose opinion of us should matter most.
As Christian authors, who by the very definition of Christian authors, claim to be writing for God, if we’re choosing not to sow seeds of His truths in our work or marketing in order to not risk offending our readership, we’re not writing for God at all. At that point, we’re writing for the world, and by doing so, we’re serving it.
We cannot, I repeat, cannot serve two masters. Just like the verse above says, we’ll end up loving one, and hating the other. So why would we even consider trying to serve both God and the world with our authorship?
It all boils down to that filthy little m-word: you guessed it, money. We’ll get into more detail later on in this series as to how the lust for money can easily derail Christian authors, but for now, I’d like to draw this section to a close with this parting question: If God had given You this calling and you were 100% certain absolutely no monetary profit would come from it, would you still write for Him?
Dang, that’s a question that sucker-punches us right between the eyes, right? But, let’s be brutally honest with ourselves. Would we? Are our hearts so dedicated to God and the sacrifice He made for us by sending His Son to die on the cross, that we would give up our time to write for Him without expecting any material rewards?
Again, it’s a tough question, though we all each know what the answer should be. God places each breath in our lungs, supplies us with everything we have, and yet we let things of the world that have absolutely no value in Heaven make us sow pennies into the infertile dirt, hoping they’ll grow money trees.
When we allow our mission for writing to stray, to write for the world’s approval and the rewards it bestows, we’re doing essentially that. Whereas when we sow seeds of faith, though we may not reap the spoils of this world, we will reap the benefits of God’s approval. And, my friends, we can’t even begin to scratch the surface of how blessed that will make us.
Choose the seeds you sow wisely. But, first, choose the master you serve wisely.
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
What blessings has God revealed to You as you’ve written for Him? Share your experiences in the comments!
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.