I appreciate Mr Iremide Akinsola for this great opportunity. He gave me a framework and ideas to build on which made the work a lot easier.
Diving right into the business of the day, let’s talk about the identity of a Christian writer. Leaving aside dictionary meanings, I see identity as what a person or thing is known to be or known for.
The first point I need to clarify is that a Christian writer is first a Christian before (s)he is a writer. The identity of the individual must therefore first be drawn from Christ. Your identity as a believer comes first. Do you know who you are in Christ?
After understanding the reality of your identity as a Christian, which I would call the general identity, you also need to know your relative identity; that is, as a Christian writer. I believe that purpose and identity are related. Which is why one’s identity should be determined to a large extent by purpose.
Let’s exemplify this briefly with the believer’s absolute purpose. Questions on absolute purpose would border on such things as: Why was I born? What should my life achieve? And going by scriptures we find that we were made for God’s pleasure.
We also see from the Bible that what pleases the heart of the father is that we be reconciled to him by believing in his son, Jesus; and that we should live our lives for him. This purpose determines one’s identity as a believer. Now, relative purpose/identity is like a subset of the absolute, a more specific sphere of it.
It could please God that one believer should glorify him through his office work, and another with his craft. The relative purpose of interest today is writing to the glory of God and the identity of a Christian writer. A Biblical example of letting purpose determine identity is well portrayed in the life of John the Baptist. Let’s look together into John 1: 19-23:
Now this is the testimony of John,
When the Jews sent priests and Levites
From Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
He confessed, and did not deny, but
Confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you a prophet?”
And he answered, “No.”
Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give
An answer to those who sent us? what do you say about
He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the Lord,”
As the prophet Isaiah said.”
The first thing we see from this text is that in ministry, John knew who he wasn’t and he did not feel ashamed to declare it. He knew he wasn’t the Christ, he knew he wasn’t Elijah. Even after being called into writing ministry, it’s important to know exactly the boundaries of your assignment per time.
Often times we find ourselves burning out and being unfulfilled in ministry because we are occupied with tilling another man’s field. The Bible says he that tills his own field would have plenty of bread (Proverbs 28:19). You might be pumping in hard work, time, and money, but if it’s not your field, you won’t be fulfilled there. It’s great that you know God would have you write for the kingdom, but within what capacity?
Are you going to be doing expository, narrative, or argumentative? Would you be publishing on a blog or would you author a book? Even as a Christian writer, you need to receive direction from God on the boundaries of your assignment per time. It’s important to add per time because, sometimes, the cloud would move and you need sensitivity to discern that so you also move accordingly.
On that last point, there was a time I wasn’t flowing with stories and I found that ideas for poems flooded my mind. During that period, towards the end of 2017/ the beginning of 2018, I started writing a lot of poems. I even remember publishing series of poems weekly all through January (and if you remember, January 2018 had an uncanny length to it. Lol).
Right now, I don’t even think of myself as a poet. I still write poetry but not as often as prose. I would say story writing is my major. This is why flexibility and sensitivity to seasons is needed.
The next thing we find is that John knew who he was and what he had to do. He drew his identity from the word of God. Ask the Lord to show you by insight into his word, or whichever way he chooses to reveal to you, his purpose for you in writing, if indeed he has called you to writing.
In my life, about the time when I started sensing that God would have me be a writer for the kingdom, the Holy Spirit started ministering to me about the kingdom scribe, through a sermon I heard. Also the eyes of my understanding were opened to different scriptures that deepened the conviction. I prayed more about it to get clearer instructions on the specifics, and God is faithful, he did direct and is still directing me.
Bottom line is this, the place of your relationship with God is primary. You would have to lean on God’s word every step of the way. You would have to invest prayers. You would have to trust God wholeheartedly and walk in obedience.
The reason why it’s important to know your identity as a Christian writer is because, like they came to question John, people would question you, life situations will, opportunities will. Your ministry as a Christian writer would only stand if it has been founded on the unwavering rock of God’s word.
Dear Christian writer, who are you?