Searching through the bedside table I found an elegant pen case buried at the bottom of the drawer. Lifting the lid off the box, I removed a silver-plated pen. It hadn’t been used for many years.
I scribbled onto a piece of paper, and found to my surprise that it worked. The pen was still useful after all this time yet it had been laying unused in a box. Having taken it out of its box I could use it again to write letters, sign cheques, jot down errands or keep a diary. It might be used artistically, to compose music, create poetry or write a book. The boxed pen was full of great potential.
Keeping with the theme of Psalm 45:1 we can say that the Christian is God’s pen. Our lives are an instrument for publicising the Gospel. Our lives are an instrument for communicating, God’s love, God’s message and God’s truth. But here’s the question.
Are we the type of pen enclosed in a pretty display case? Not working? Not writing? Not used? Boxed potential?
Or are we the pen used in the divine author’s hand? Are we creative? Productive? Expressive? Working? Publishing? Communicating?
The boxed pen is a picture of a restricted life. Circumstances are allowed to impose restraint, and surround the Christian with crippling doubts, fears and problems.
If not resisted these negative forces will box us into a life of mediocrity. Surrendering to temptation always stifles potential and hinders our capacity to serve God. Christians should not box in their potential.
Too often we are confined to victim mentality, bound by the past or enslaved with bad habits. If this is our experience, it’s time to spring out the proverbial box and live in greater freedom. The pen of a ready writer is not in the grip of a fallen world. It belongs to the freelance journalist, Jesus Christ. Satan has no copyright on your soul or destiny.
But if you sense that your life is inhibited don’t despair, here are four keys to unlock the box of mediocrity.
• Remember the Christian life does not have to be lived in restriction.
John 8:36. Pray and ask God to set you free from any snare. God rescues
His people. Psalm 18:17.
• Despite previous unfruitfulness and failure, accept that you
are still useful to God. Philemon 10. Onesimus was ‘useful’ also. 2 Peter 1:8.
• Realise that you have great potential in your relationship with Christ. The
pen itself can write nothing, but in the author’s hand it produces literary classics.
Pray yourself daily into God’s care and He will do something beautiful with
your life. Hebrews 11.
• Frequently tell the Lord that you are available to bless others and bring honour to His name. Acts 22:10.
The pen only flourishes in the author’s hand.
But what kind of Pen? Ancient pens were basic. Ink was applied to a brush made from frayed reed. By the 6th century AD the pen was made out of the tapered stem of a bird’s feather, otherwise known as the quill. This instrument was repeatedly dipped in and out of ink. Eventually metal nibs fixed to wooden stems largely replaced the quill. But the problem of dipping pens in and out of ink wasn’t solved until the invention of the fountain pen. The fountain pen was uniquely designed with an ‘inner reservoir’ of ink. Its capillary action enabled the ink to flow and the pen could write continuously.
The quill resembles a Christian life prone to frequent bouts of spiritual dryness. Does your enthusiasm for the things of God quickly run dry? Are you merely dipping into the word of the Bible and claiming the odd promise now and again? This is quill Christianity – only dabbling in God’s blessing-whereas fountain pen faith lives off an inner reservoir.
Does the spirit of Pentecost flow in your heart? You may have the Holy Ghost but does He well forth in your Christian experience? There’s a difference between a river and a swamp, both contain water but the river flows supremely.
If a little Tippex gets into the end of a ballpoint pen it stops the flow of ink and the pen is unable to write. Likewise, small-unconfessed sins, little white lies, morsels of bitterness will stop the Holy Spirit working effectively.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23. The pen of a ready writer is not a quill, but a fountain pen flourishing in God’s hand.
My youngest son, Nathan, aged about four at the time picked up a biro and scribbled on his bedroom door. Guess what? I was reminded that day that a pen leaves a mark. The gloss white painted bedroom door was changed by a spray of blue squiggles. When ink flows through the tip of a pen it inevitably leaves a mark. What kind of mark are you making on the world?
What are we writing with our lives? Bad press? The good news is all our mistakes are cleansed by the blood of Christ. When we repent every wrongdoing and mistake is rubbed away never to be seen again. Thank God for Jesus the editor of all our sins. Thank goodness, we are in God’s hands. We must continually ask God in prayer, faith and repentance to wipe away all the bad marks we make. We must also thank God for the grace which he has given us to make good marks too.
Making a mark is an ancient practice for people who cannot write, and in old documents the mark was a sign of a cross. The cross of Christ is a mark and sign of God’s profound love for the world. Calvary is the hallmark of God’s grace. A message of hope written in blood. Jesus Christ has left an indelible mark on history as did his disciples.
For, the Jewish leaders, noted the disciples had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13. They made their mark on people’s minds.
Are you making your mark? In spite of the errors we make do people still note we are instrumental in following Jesus?
Bible commentator Matthew Henry said, “We call the prophets the penmen of scripture, whereas they were but the pen”
It’s inconceivable for a pen to tell an author what to write – likewise it’s absurd for the Christian to tell God what to do.
A novelist is qualified to set down the details in his play because he knows the plot. Similarly, God knows everything about your life, from beginning to end, and so he has made plans for you to follow, given strategies for you to use, and ordained pleasures for you to enjoy. There are sacrifices that God wants you to make and He has dreams for you to fulfill.
Don’t try and force God’s hand to rewrite events, erase details that should not be erased or change the circumstances of your Christian calling. God knows the plot. The pen of a ready writer flows with the author’s inspiration. Every Christian life is a testimony that will write history to the glory of Jesus Christ.