Recently I wrote a post called, “A Precious, Simple Life” 1 that was about the blessed position of sitting at the feet of Jesus, resting in His life and teachings. Knowing that it’s primarily a position of heart that is in view, I got to busying myself again without thinking much of it. This included a more involved writing project. But after a few days of this my peace was disturbed. Stress and worry popped up, as did occasional feelings of inadequacy and not being effective enough.
“Here’s Your Sign…”
Whenever negative feelings like this trouble us, we can know we have “gotten up from His feet.” In a personal quest to record inspiration on paper – things that I believe came from the Spirit – I’ve actually quenched inspiration. How easily this can happen!
As a writer, or a musician, or an artist – or even someone who speaks about, or posts online what they are passionate about to others – stumbling over one’s inspiration is common. We have to continually live in the moment and be willing to hold things we see, hear, or experience from the Spirit lightly. The minute we try to grasp onto something and make it even the slightest bit about us and our ego, it turns rancid, like manna kept over night.2
There’s an interesting comment made by the disciple John that says most of what Jesus did when on earth was not recorded. 3 I can only guess many things He spoke wasn’t written down, too. Wow. Think about this. Lost, never to be remembered again? Blown away like seeds landing on a watery ocean expanse? It sounds so tragic, but maybe this speaks of the largely transient nature of inspiration and expressions of love. Maybe these things are meant to impact only one life, and for only one moment in time. And maybe just ourself.
Yes, we have many wonderful things recorded in the Bible that Jesus said and did. We’d like to think we own the original intent of the words, when actually what we read with our eyes is at best a translation of a translation. The real, genuine inspiration is not in the specific grouping of letters, which make up words, which are connected to the current culture’s understanding of those words. No, the inspiration is in the “spark” of original voice and intent. How can this be known? How can this living “spark” of originality be known through reading imperfect words on a page?
Words alone are dead. “The letter kills,” the writer Paul said.4. They can be misunderstood, used for ulterior motives, and ultimately be assigned an ”out-of-print” status. But pure, heavenly inspiration does exist – for those who look beyond the letters, words, lyrics, and other outward forms, and comprehend by the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. A child can then understand what the literate and educated can not.
So what I’m saying is this:
Creative expression is like the wind. It comes and goes, and comes back again in a perpetual cycle. Are we good with this? With letting go of the incredible and beautiful revelation we were given today, to blow away in the wind of tomorrow?
Christ, the eternal Word of God, is ultimately the source of all inspiration and creativity. He is the “spark” of originality. He is in all things, through all things, and for all things.5 He bursts through constructs of letters, words, and sounds, and can either make them come alive, or render them useless in the glory of His inexpressible presence. And as a good friend reminded me, He is also writing His Word afresh onto our hearts and lives, not with ink, but as a “living epistle.” 6
In this sense inspiration cannot become extinct, any more than Christ can become extinct. It just lives for a singular moment or day, and then gets recycled back to God, back to people, back to God, and back to people. There’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to inspiration. It just keeps coming back changing its outward expression, including different shapes, words, and sounds. And using different people. So in a way it is something new, but ultimately it’s all from the same source. Which, or more accurately Who, is Christ.
Happy are those who believe this! They create a beautiful writing, post, song, piece of art – or give of themselves in a loving, sacrificial deed – and then peacefully accept when it seems to instantly disappear into a void of ungratefulness, forgetfulness, and unpopularity. They don’t chase after it, or strive. They don’t get up from the feet of Jesus to produce anything permanent or popular for Him. Because they know that it is only in relationship to Christ, immersed in His life and in His Word, that inspiration flows, exists, and remains.
Father, please do whatever it takes to keep us always here, at your Son’s feet!
2 Exodus 16:20 3 John 21:25, 4 2 Cor.3:6, 5 Colossians 1:16-17, 6 2 Cor. 3:3