Recently, I’ve felt a deep longing to graduate too. Not from an academic institution, but to new levels in my faith and in the craft of writing.
Graduation from school is a fantastic accomplishment, but what if the learning stops there? Eventually, we forget most of what we were taught. I may have earned A’s in high school chemistry, but after years away from the subject, I wouldn’t know how to begin balancing a chemical equation.
What does that have to do with faith and writing?
I once heard that, if we aren’t growing closer to God, we are growing farther from Him.
According to Socrates: “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”
And, Eudora Welty said, “Indeed, learning to write may be part of learning to read. For all I know, writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.”
If I stop pursuing growth, only doing the same things I’ve always done, I eventually get myself into a rut. Like a fire left untended, the hunger for God or the passion for writing grows dim. If something isn’t done in time, that flame could die out entirely.
“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who, through training, have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” Hebrews 5:12-14 (NLT)
Now, this isn’t talking about someone who is turning away from God, or giving up on a dream, career, or calling. This happens if we grow casual about what once set our hearts ablaze. That’s a dangerous place to be. Jesus warned:
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” Revelation 3:15-16 (NLT)
Not a pleasant thought!
But, why would He prefer a person to be cold, rather than lukewarm? If we are shivering with cold, we hunger for warmth. If we are already ablaze, we hunger for more and more fuel to keep burning. If we are lukewarm, however, we just smolder for ages on the same charred log, comfortable just as we are. There is no hunger for more to spur us on and make us grow.
So, how do we avoid growing dim? Add more fuel to the fire.
“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,” 1 Peter 2:2 (NKJV)
This week, I’ve committed to spending more time in the Word and in prayer. Sadly, both have lately become somewhat sparse in my routine.
And the writing? Well, I find reading books on the craft and published works in my genre to be helpful. But, nothing stokes the flames of inspiration like talking with fellow writers.
That may be why the Bible advises us against “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” Hebrews 10:25 (NKJV) Fellowship is just as key to growing in faith.