By Amy Bohannan
We all know the old adage, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” As we ponder the events of history, literary works versus wars fought, which has the greater, lasting impact?
While the sword or bullet cuts deep into the flesh, the works of literature cut deeper, penetrating the very depths of the soul. While one may be injured or even mortally wounded by the stab of a weapon, an entire life can be turned on its head by simple words.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” ~Ephesians 6:12
The art of words is as the art of war.
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4:12
The words of the Bible, the most famous work of literature, have cut deeply into the hearts and souls of the people of two millennium. Providing a message of hope to a starving people, the writers of the Bible, like warriors, battled bravely for the words that they penned. Many of them were killed for the very words they wrote in that sacred book, unwilling to recant the hope lighting their pens. They went to their graves having fought valiantly for the truth.
Courageous writing. The kind that changes lives. The kind that does not apologize for the truth.
Here are five ways that writing is like warfare:
1. The Enemy is Real
God’s enemy is our enemy. Satan does not want God’s messages to make it to the hearts of His people. He will do everything he can to thwart the telling of stories that will cause a person to think about the things of God. Writers block, distractions while writing, discouragement about your story—these things could very possibly be an enemy attack on your writing. Your pen is a weapon: wouldn’t the first enemy tactic be to disable it? To keep you from even starting?
2. It Takes Training
Nobody can send a soldier into battle and expect him to win unless they train him first. Take time to learn your craft. Be trained to be excellent in your writing. You can’t expect to be perfect (win a battle) and get published right away unless you have been trained in the art in the first place.
3. It Takes Practice
So you know how to use the weapon. Great! Now put it to work. Write. And write. And write. And…yeah, you get the picture. Keep practicing your craft. The enemy particularly likes to thwart the trained but unpracticed. He does this by pumping up their pride, telling them they know what they are doing, they don’t need to practice. But that’s completely untrue. Practice, as the other old adage goes, makes perfect.
In a battle, to win, you must be excellent. If we are to be warriors for the Kingdom with our pens, we must stand out from the others. We must be the very definition of excellence in our craft.
4. It Can Hurt You (Yes, Even Physically)
How many of the Christian forefathers actually died for their written works? How many were persecuted? Think of the disciples of Jesus, the early church leaders, revolutionaries, reformers. Men like Martin Luther—imagine as he stood before the Diet of Wurms, as they tried to force him to recant his writings.
Writing the truth is dangerous.
But it’s worth it. Which leads into the next point…
5. It Changes Lives, Even the World
The Bible has had the most sales out of any book in the history of the world, and yet many of the men that wrote it (under the inspiration of God) were killed precisely for what they had written. Our perseverance in telling the stories God has given us in excellence is the weapon that we have been blessed with in the battle of the ages.
Jesus told parables to reach the hearts of the people. Storytelling is a powerful tool.
Storytelling, unlike standard preaching, provides scenarios for the mind to mull over. It gives us the opportunity to see into another perspective. It helps us to learn to empathize with others as our hearts feel for the characters of these stories.
Stories have a unique way of reaching down into the human heart to stir. We read, we write, we listen to know that we are not alone. As humans, we are desperate for camaraderie. We want to know that someone else understands. Someone else knows. Someone else has felt it too.
How many stories have you read that you thought to yourself, “Wow, yeah…that’s exactly how it feels”?
God has given us a gift. He has given us the ability to take part in this incredible thing that He does every day. As He tells the Story of Mankind, He gives us a stage and whispers “Create”! As we were designed to do. He calls us to do as He does.
Even though it’s hard.
Even though the enemy would stop us.
Even though it takes work to learn.
Even though it’s exhausting to practice.
Even when we can get hurt in the process.
He wants to use us to tell the stories that will prick the hearts of men and pave a way for His grace to come flooding in.
What a glorious mission!