Thursday, April 9, 2009

Out of the Heart, The Blog Posts

Yesterday, Steve posted a response to Tim's recent article about 'watchblogging'. Some of you may have already read it. I thought it was a good response and quite well-balanced. One of the things that stood out to me the most was his 9 key questions to ask yourself, before firing off a blog-response in regards to someone we disagree with or take issue with. The thing about publicly disagreeing or voicing your opinion isn't that it's always wrong or bad, but it's the way that it's done that really makes all the difference in the world, and often in the heart, where it matters most.

Here are those questions, and some additional thoughts:

1. How does my post glorify God and exalt Christ? Or am I seeking to only expand my daily readership by addressing controversial issues just for controversy's sake? (1 Cor. 10:31)

I will have to admit that there have been times when I've written and thought to myself "I wonder how many people will even see this?" I don't think I've ever addressed controversy just for the sake of doing it, or for boosting my own blog, but I certainly have been derailed into thinking about the readership rather than writing for what pleases God. For that reason, I removed all those gadgets that tell you how "popular" your blog is, a long time ago. All they did for me was feed my ego and get me off track.

2. How does it equip the body of Christ biblically to be better Bereans on any issue they face? (Acts 17:11)

This has been one of my central concerns even long before I started blogging, and wrote articles for my website many years ago. It's a great thing to be able to reach out electronically and encourage, challenge and exhort fellow believers.

3. How does it convict and challenge me in my own life before I turn its truths on another? IOW, what do I need to learn, model, obey and repent of first before calling others to do the same? (Psalm 119:10-17)

This is an excellent question and one that has caused me to not write about numerous things because I know full well I fall very short in those areas to begin with. This is a good "reality check" filter for anyone to really consider before writing about someone else's ministry or the latest whatever-fad going on out there.

4. How does it bring truth and foster change to the one I am disagreeing with? (Eph. 4:13-16)

5. How does it edify and encourage - not just exhort? (Eph. 4:1-3; 26-32)

6. How does it communicate real biblical resolve? (Rom. 12:1-2)

These three questions all fall into the same category for me. They go beyond addressing the obvious and get into addressing the solution. For me personally, I've often written with this in mind but I'm pretty sure it hasn't always been my goal and it really should be.

7. How does it enable others to live more like Jesus as salt and light in their communities, ready to serve their church and world? (Matt. 5-7)

Same category as #2 but a more pointed question to consider when writing.

8. Am I filled with the Holy Spirit as I write and unfold God's Word, or am I only giving knee-jerk reactions to what is the hot potato of the moment? (Eph. 5:17-21)

Okay this one is HUGE, and should have really been the #1 question to lay out there. For those who write every day, you already know how easy it is to sit down and fire away. Most of us can do it in our sleep, its so easy. With blogging, folks like to respond immediate and address immediately because blog-time moves quickly. What may be of high concern today will be ancient blog-history in a few days and you may feel like you're missing the boat if you don't address it RIGHT now. Well, the fact of the matter is, if its important and if it's true wisdom, it will be timely and relevent and helpful no matter when you write it. If the Lord is burdening your heart to write about something then do it, but take your time and do it prayerfully. If you think even a tiny part of you was motivated by the flesh, hit the 'save to draft' feature and step away for a while and come back and proof your copy later. More often than not you'll see some things you need to edit out, or add in, and this is a good thing. I know I haven't always done this but the amazing thing for me is, the more I have practiced it the more it becomes habit. I am not nearly as concerned now, five years after starting my blog, as I once was to "get it up there" with my posts. It's much better to have a post written carefully and prayerfully, than a flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants post that you may regret and need to pull next week, or next year as you become more mindful of these things. I have done this and probably still have some posts like that, that should be either removed or heavily edited. I'm still learning this one and hope to continue practicing the save-to-draft habit for much better writing in the future.

9. And lastly, has what I have just written and confronted caused me to focus more clearly on the person of our Lord Jesus Christ and something He would find pleasure, delight and honor in? (Heb. 12:1-3)

It should be obvious for a Christian but the question bears repeating: Does the Lord find pleasure in what I just posted? Does it honor Him? Does it model Christlikeness? Was I charitable? Did I extend grace? Do I truly know how to balance grace AND truth? I'm not sure these are thoughts that cross every Christian blogger's mind before they post, and I'm quite sure they don't always cross my own mind before I do.

This is why these were such stand-out questions to me. I hope they were for you too.

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