The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Audience
by Shelby Swing
As a writer, you probably care a lot about your readers and the life-transforming information, inspiration and encouragement you can give them.
- You want them to overcome the struggle they’re facing that you once faced as well.
- You want them to live their best life for the glory of God and His Kingdom.
- You want to give them all you have to offer … the greatest gift you can give them.
But what is that?
If the greatest gift you can give your reader is yourself, your writing and its impact will fall short.
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23, NLT). In other words, we fall short in the spiritual realm. And while our written words that are void of mentioning Christ can still have impact, they will ultimately not offer what the human heart truly needs.
Those words might change a person’s earthly living and thinking, but they will not change a person’s eternal living. And that’s what really matters.
But if you have Christ in your life, He, His words and His work in your life are the greatest gift you could ever give your readers. He is the best thing you have to offer.
After all, if the greatest thing in you is Christ (which is true!), then the greatest gift you can give your readers is Christ in you. He gave you your story in the first place.
Galatians 2:20 reveals to us what has happened to our lives now that we follow Jesus: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (NLT).
Because Christ lives in us, nothing we do on our own is worth shouting about. Our own efforts and sentiments fade to the background, and the great glory of our lives becomes Christ in us.
How do you keep this central in your mind while you’re writing? It all comes down to remembering who you’re writing for. This is not about you; this is about the one you’re writing for. As Lysa TerKeurst says, “Write for one or write for none.” Even more importantly, this is about the One you’re writing for.
This doesn’t mean you should write super high-level, spiritual gibberish. This doesn’t mean take the relatability or practicality out of your writing. God and His Word are both relatable and practical.
Instead, offer your story, offer your personality and unique voice, offer your perspective, but in all of that, offer Christ through your story. How has God shown up in your life? Where have His fingerprints made deep, permanent grooves? That’s where you want your reader to dwell, in those deep grooves that whisper of His faithfulness.
As Jeremiah 9:24 says, “But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things” (NIV). Does your writing show that you know the Lord, His unfailing love, His justice, His righteousness?
Take Christ out of your story, and it’s meaningless. Offer Christ through your story, and it’s priceless.
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I have read and/or listened to many classes on Compel. This one brought me to tears and was like a mini revival right here on my quilt-covered loveseat. Thank you so much! Praising the Lord how He works!
I love this. It really touched my heart. Thanks!
Thank you Shelby for this. Our writing should not be about self, but should be about who God is and how He has impacted our lives and how he can impact the lives of others.
Totally agree. Without Christ I am nothing, a wisp of smoke- there and gone. But with Christ and all He has done in and for me….I am in awe! I often think of David’s words in Psalm 27 when he said “What, what would have become of me….” I do know the road I was on and the direction it was heading but God. That is all that matters to me and how I want others to know that they too can have what I have and say the words of themselves, what what would have become of me.
So good, Pam! I think of the same phrase often — what would have become of me if not for Christ in my life?
Thank you for sharing!
Shelby: Your message is spot on for me in this season — in this moment. The encouragement you’ve spoken here is timeless and I appreciate all of it. You’ve touched a ‘spot’ that needed some extra fuel for the journey and I can confidently say, ‘I’m on it!’ Thank you.
So glad to have encouraged you, Linda! Keep up the good work of the writing journey — God has already given you what it takes. 🙂 If He has called you to it, He’s equipped you for it.