This is the time of year when we remember our very reason and purpose for being writers of Christian fiction — Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

But Jesus’ sacrifice didn’t begin with the cross — rather, it ended a long journey. His entire life was a picture of sacrificial giving and sacrificial living.

Jesus taught us a lot about how to live, but if we look carefully we can also learn a lot about the writing life.

First of all, the calling is the most important thing. If Jesus had tried to deny the calling God placed on His life, we would have no hope of salvation, redemption, or reconciliation. In the same way, if we try to deny the call to write which God has placed on our lives, we may be denying someone else the only introduction to our Lord they may ever know.

Second, Jesus did what He did no matter how he felt, or who laughed at Him, or how much the people around Him didn’t deserve it. When we write, we too must take our eyes off the circumstances and instead put them squarely on God, because we write for Him, not for anyone else.

Third, Jesus did not talk about Himself. He pointed people to God and the kingdom. He talked about extending the love and grace of God to others, even when they are unworthy, and He extended that same love and grace to us. Even though we were and are unworthy. Likewise, our writing needs to point people to God, not to exalt us or toot our horn or allow us to preach our particular theology. All of our writing must speak God loud and clear, even if we never mention His name specifically.

Finally, Jesus took all of this in stride, one day at a time. He didn’t look around and bemoan all the people who would not listen. He didn’t worry about what other people thought about Him. He said and did only what the Father told Him to say and do. He lived a life of sacrifice to accomplish the Father’s will. In our writing, we cannot get caught up in the huge job we are called to do. Instead, we need to focus on this day, this step, this minute, of fulfilling our calling to write.

Sacrificial living is not about the cross, it’s about the life. Sacrificial writing is not about the book, it’s about the page you wrote because you got up an hour earlier this morning. It’s about the research you chose to do instead of watching a movie. It’s about the conference you went to instead of taking a vacation.

Sacrificial writing IS the life.

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