I love St. Paul. And I am a woman. Yes, I am fully aware of the famous passages in which he instructs wives to be “submissive to their husbands” and how they are not to speak in public. I believe these passages need to studied carefully for their true meaning for nothing is ever as it seems, but that’s for another day.
Why St. Paul?
Remember my post on deliberate intent? St. Paul embodied that in everything he did. It began with a zealous persecution of Christians (for he was a Pharisee) and ended with himself being persecuted and killed for the faith he sought originally to destroy.
Read this passage from Acts 20 first, beginning at verse 17, and then come back to this post.
The cost of running the race
Notice how St. Paul poured himself out for the people to whom he ministered. He preached as a marathon runner would run the race: totally committed despite the pain of running. Runners risk injury for their all-out commitment; St. Paul risked life and limb. In 2 Corinthians 11 he actually boasts of his calamities from ship wrecks to beatings to stoning and so forth.
St. Paul’s raw honesty is what captured my attention in Acts 20. He spoke plainly and passionately; the love he had for the people was palpable. Their reaction to him was open weeping as they prayed over him, knowing they would never see him again. He was returning to Jerusalem and to certain death out of love for Jesus Christ. This was the One for whom he had persecuted hundreds of believers, causing their suffering and their deaths. Now he would face death bravely, gladly; anything to glorify his Beloved.
Living and writing
As a writer I see lessons here on how to write; I must write as I live. If I do not live with raw honesty, with deliberate intent every day, I cannot write well. How can I write on what I don’t know?
Art and depth of living
The same is true with art, music and any other creative activity. We can only create what we know. If our lives are shallow, our creative efforts will reflect that like a mirror. If we live authentically, risking all we have, our art will reflect that depth.
Fully integrated life
St. Paul didn’t live his life in fragments. He didn’t take on the role of preacher one minute, then shed the role and become a drunkard or a gossip in the next. Preaching the Word wasn’t his job, it was his life. Set on that one focus, all the pieces of his life were integrated into that focus. He gave his all and made an impact on the world that few have achieved. And the people he loved wept openly over him.
The example to follow
If I want my writing to be the best it can be I must live my life openly, in the raw, totally committed. Living life well must come first; art (hopefully great) will naturally follow.
I cannot think of a greater example than St. Paul.
Who inspires you by their life? What about their life inspires you?
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