If you know some-what about writing, then you might know that one of the first things a writer should do is determine who their audience is. Who are they writing to? What is the most impactful way to get the message across? How can the writer relate to the audience and help them understand?
Some of you already know this, some might not. One of the biggest challenges associated with KindlingTruth for me has been identifying my audience. I write professionally, so I know how this is done (obviously I don’t get paid to write KindlingTruth, nor do I want to). When it comes to the things I want to write here, identifying my audience has been very tricky, and I want to write a note about this for the sake of those who might get the wrong impression at times.
I am writing to Christians, right? However, over time I’ve learned that I’m actually writing to three groups of Christians. Sometimes all at once.
First, there are the not-so-committed Christians who will convert.
There was a time in my life, as a child, when I took the faith seriously. That ended in my early teen years and into my mid twenties. I was not serious at all, though if anyone asked me–if it was socially acceptable at least–I would profess faith in Jesus. I also went after a lot of things I should not have, and I thought it was perfectly acceptable. I also believed all the traditional Protestant teachings. Obviously, they did not serve me very well.
Anyhow, I know what it is like to be a not-so-committed Christian, and I know how blinding it is. I know how we can deceive ourselves into thinking we have a relationship with Jesus when we don’t. The Jesus we have a relationship with is more like a man-made spin-off. Yet, God is gracious and He will show us a better way. He did for me, and He can for others too.
For these, I make it known that there is more for them to pursue within Christianity than tradition often teaches them. I want them to learn about the things Jesus teaches about how we should order our life, how we should take the faith and the sacrifice of Jesus seriously, and become familiar with the parables of Jesus and other teachings in the scriptures that give warning against not-so-serious Christians. They are cast out. They were not really “saved.” They were deceived, as I was.
That is my passion. To help those who are not-so-serious become serious. In that pursuit, I’ve learned a lot about how the message should be delivered, and I’m still learning. There were mistakes for sure, and there will be others, hopefully less severe.
Next, there are the not-so-serious Christians who will not convert.
There are many who profess the Christian faith who are not really of the Christian faith. Many of these unbelievers know full well that they are unbelievers. For them, Christianity is beneficial in other ways, either as a career opportunity or to fulfill some kind of social obligation. Then, there are those who think they have the faith, but do not.
These will ultimately fulfill the harsh side of Jesus’s parables and other teachings about those who are removed or “cast into outer darkness.” and so on. These are the foolish virgins, the tares, the goats, the wicked and slothful servants, those who did not receive the word on good ground, the wolves in sheep’s clothing, the “horsemen” and “kings.”
Writing to these is not my primary focus, but I know it needs to happen. I also want to say that we cannot always know who these people are, because Jesus teaches us not to judge anything before its time. There are many who don’t seem very serious who will convert, like I did.
Lastly, there are the sincerely zealous Christians.
I don’t know how much help I’ve been to those who are sincerely zealous, but the ironic thing is, the majority of those who would take the time to read the things written here are probably serious about the faith already. Some might not be, and there are some who read for other reasons.
In any case, when speaking to these, I want to encourage some things. You might already know these things. I am encouraging myself too. We are not to see ourselves as in danger of being cast out. We are often the harshest judges of ourselves, though it’s good to recognize that we can have blind spots and we should keep seeking Jesus to make these things known to us.
I want to encourage the serious Christians to keep striving, because we are aiming for Christ, right? There will always be room to grow, and as we get older we might have to clean out some new things that creep in. The Christian pursuit of righteousness through the power of Jesus in us will never end so long as we are living in this flesh, so we keep striving.
I also want to encourage peace despite all of the corruptions we see, to encourage us to stay focused on Jesus and not so much on what the world is doing. This can become a distraction that leads to a holier-than-thou mindset, fear, overwhelming sadness, and so on.
I want to encourage us to remember that Jesus will avenge us. He will return, and until that time is come we have to love everyone. We have to love all Christians, because we cannot judge who is of us and who is not. We also have to love unbelievers because we don’t know who might convert. This is hard at times. It is hard to wait on the timing and judgment of Jesus, but we have to. We cannot let the world’s evils consume us and bring us down to their level.
I hope this clarifies some things. If you feel as if the things I write are not for you or accuse you falsely as a Christian, then maybe it’s not directed at you. Maybe your conscience is being pricked though, so seek the Lord before getting too upset. I cannot know what any individual will get from reading the articles here. I try to be mindful of people to avoid unnecessary offense, but that’s not my primary focus. My focus is on trying to share what I’m learning as I travel this Christian journey while speaking to various Christian “types” as it seems appropriate.
Then there is another group, people like me. I have been a very zealous Christian and serious student of scripture, but over the years I have been plagued with doubts and questions, and have been driven away by some things in the church. But God is always calling me back. I’m the one sheep the shepherd does not seem to want to let escape. I started reading the Bible at 20 when I was saved, I’m now 65. So much has passed under the bridge for me in that time. I feel lost, and confused. But God does jeep speaking to me. I just wish he’d be clearer,
I love your blog, and your courage.
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