Romans 12:2 reads, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
Well, what is the current shape of “this age”?
We could think about it or talk about it - but wouldn’t writing down our own thoughts give us the most clarity and understanding?
The first impression that comes to mind may not be what I conclude after I do the work to write out my answer to the question.
For instance, I find that when I write, I’m forced to clarify what I think, how my thinking fits together, and what research or Scripture or experiences (etc) justify my perspective.
Sometimes writing changes my mind.
And by sharing our thinking with others - via writing - we open ourselves up to learning more. It can be an act of humility and vulnerability. “Here’s my best take - help me understand better.”
If the goal is to renew our minds, and writing enables us to think clearly… then can writing serve as a spiritual discipline?
“My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” (Psa.45:1, KJV)
In Charles Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, he had this for a commentary on Psa.45:1c about writing,
"My tongue is the pen of a ready writer, not so much for rapidity, for there the tongue always has the preference, but for exactness, elaboration, deliberation, and skilfulness of expression. Seldom are the excited utterances of the mouth equal in real weight and accuracy to the verba scripta of a thoughtful accomplished penman; but here the writer, though filled with enthusiasm, speaks as correctly as a practised writer; "
Personally to me, even to a higher degree than singing (or whistling gospel hymns and sacred music), writing down my thoughts is a practice directly related to my spiritual wellbeing. My regular writing habit is to journal my personal devotions. And the richness of what I would write is almost reflective of my spiritual depth.
And by writing, I mean manual writing, as typing seems to me to brings some gap between the flow of thought and the conscious tracing of keys.
Yes, writing can be a spiritual discipline. After all it is a mode of expression and synthesis of knowledge. I started deliberately writing down my thoughts and the things I learnt as a regular practice about 5 years ago. It started as a required exercise in a spiritual formation course - something I have continued to do since. I write down not only what I learn from scripture, but also short spontaneous prayers, quotations from books that have spoken to me, dreams and words from the Lord to me and so on. It is important to date what is written.
It is a useful practice because
- It clarifies my thinking (as you mentioned) because it forces me to delineate my thoughts and concepts. I also find that newer insights come as I write, rather than just when I think.
- It acts as a written record which I can always go back to - a treasure that I can dip into in dry times, in times of confusion and when I need to speak to someone.
Matthew 13:52 - And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
- Yes, like you mentioned, it also opens up avenues to share the material with others.