I put this principle first because that is where it belongs. The fame and reputation of God and the spiritual and common welfare of others should be the driving and guiding motivation behind our writing. And it is important to remember that the two go together. Great love for God is always coupled by a great love for people. Jesus didn’t separate the two (Matthew 22:37-39); neither did John (I John 4:7-21), and neither should we. Jonathan Edwards sheds some light on the seriousness of the joining of these two affections. “Edwards made it plain in his preaching and in his living that he believed that great thoughts about God without great love towards people are sure evidences of hypocrisy and the pathway to hell” (Quote by John Piper in Marriage to a Difficult Man by Elizabeth Dodds, xiv). If we truly love God and love His glory, we seek the good of His creatures.
But how do we write for the glory of God and the good of others? Here are a few basic reminders:
Pray for your writing
I love John 15:5 because it encompasses everything: “Apart from me you can do nothing.” And dare I say it: this includes blogging! I often find that the practical application to this verse to be prayer. Pleading with God for help; crying out to God for grace. If we are going to exalt Christ and serve others with our writing, our efforts must be energized and endued with God’s strength. We labor according to His might (Colossians 1:28).
Examine your motives
Bob Kauflin, in the third installment of his series, Blogging to Worship God, points out that, “While there are countless reasons people blog, ultimately it comes down to two: am I blgging to bring glory to God or to myself.” He gives us a helpful list of ‘signs’ that indicate that we are blogging for the wrong reasons:
- I am crushed by criticism
- I am harsh in my disagreements with others
- I enjoy seeing my name in print, especially on someone else’s blog
- I check my site meter ever hour to see who is on my site
- I like to hear myself talk/write
- I Google my name every 30 minutes
- I am flippant in criticizing others
- I experience an emotional high when more people visit my site one day
We must honestly examine our hearts and motives by bringing them into the light of God’s Word and Holy Spirit to make sure we are blogging for the right reasons.
Consciously seek to glorify God and help others as you write
The old adage proves true: “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” We must make an effort towards glorifying God and helping others. We must strive to do this each time we write. This means consciously laying aside our sinful desires to be recognized and applauded for our writing efforts every time we open our laptops if necessary. We must seek, diligently and prayerfully, to nurture a heart that loves to make much of God and despises (yes, despises) to make much of ourselves. The grip of pride on our hearts will also be weakened also by a constant focus on serving and helping others in our writing.
Be Willing to Thankfully Accept Criticism
This practice will greatly benefit us for 3 reasons. 1) It will keep us humble as we learn to lay aside our reputation as writers and exalt God’s reputation; 2) We will be made aware of any error we might purport that could be dishonoring to God and have a negative effect on our readers. Proverbs 10:17: “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray; and 3) It will help us grow in our ability to communicate in writing.
Make Sure Your Writing is Full of and Guided by God’s Word
One sure fire way to exalt Jesus Christ and remove ourselves from the spotlight is to vanquish our opinions and surrender to the Word of God. If we rightly know, rightly handle and rightly proclaim the word of truth, God will be greatly honored and others will be nourished. Do you love to express your own opinions, or do you love to proclaim the wisdom and goodness of God’s Word? Jesus warns us, “The one who speaks from himself seeks his own glory…” (John 7:18). The content of our writing will betray our motives.
I will close with an excellent quote from Kauflin’s series. “God’s solution is simple, but impossible apart from the Savior. Be humble. Be wise. Be ‘pure, peaceable, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere’ [James 3:17]. That kind of blogging will bear fruit for eternity for the glory of Jesus Christ.”
May God grant that the excellence of His name and the spiritual well-being of others truly be our focus, goal, and constant motivation!