To watch an artist at work is an inspiring pastime, for an artist creates something from nothing.
A blank canvas would scare me.
I know this, because though I am not a painter, I am a writer. My canvas is an open notebook, or a crisp white screen and a flickering cursor. As words and commas—then phrases and sentences—begin to pile up on the page, ideas are discovered, perspectives are born, and things that have always been are, once again, made new. Or at least, that is what happens when an accomplished author creates.
To write is to create.
That is why it should not surprise us that our God is portrayed as a writer. After all, it is in His nature to create.
After drawing our attention to a long list of men of faith, the writer to the Hebrews then asks us to lift our eyes to the God of faith:
Hebrews 12:1–2 (ESV)—1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
I first memorized these verses in the KJV, where it says, 'looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith'.
I find it so liberating to see the gospel in all its glory in these few verses. After having an entire chapter devoted to highlighting the faith of our fathers, we are naturally inclined to ask, "What must I do to gain this type of faith? How do I achieve what they achieved?"
Enter the wonder of the gospel.
The gospel informs my questioning heart that I am the blank canvas. I can't grasp at faith. I can't make it appear. It is God who writes faith into our lives. He lifts the crimson pen and scripts a story of love and tragedy across the manuscript of my life. It is his beloved Son who stands as the hero of this grand narrative, and it is to this hero that my eyes must turn.
Jesus is the founder of my faith—the author of my all in God.
Every piece of advice I've ever read concerning improving as a writer says this: 'Do not self-edit!'
Editing involves shaping the content, fine-tuning the structure, lifting the mist, and elevating the core message.
A good editor is as important as a good writer—they are rarely, if ever, the same person.
Apart from Jesus—as Tim Keller might say, 'He is the new and better editor!'
Jesus wrote your faith into existence, he is also the divine editor—the one who perfects and finishes that which He began. It's why Paul could so confidently say to the Philippians:
Philippians 1:6 (ESV)—6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
So know this.
God has written faith into existence. You may not see the end of the story yet—we cannot flip to the closing chapters of our lives—but we do know this, He will finish it. Your story of faith will reach its glorious conclusion.
And what must you do? Prepare the canvas. Throw off the junk that gets in the way—but leave the faith writing to Jesus. Fix your eyes on him, the founder and finisher of your faith.