The Sanctity of Art

I have four great loves in life: my Savior, my husband, my family, and art.

My Savior is the source of life, my All in All, the very reason why I live. My husband is the greatest gift I’ve been given- apart from Jesus. My best friend and constant supporter, I love him more than words can say. And my family are my people– the ones who truly get me and love me just the same.

But as for the fourth love on my list, for years I denied its presence- or at least felt guilty about it. Older Christians I respected encouraged me to lay every passion on the altar of Christian service, to deny my own desires and take up the vow of a missionary- living in some far off jungle. They told me that if there were lost people somewhere, I was called to go; it didn’t matter what my heart felt. My heart was not to be considered.

While I now understand their good intent, the damage they caused was swift and deep. I am not putting blame on these well-meaning leaders. I know their hearts were in the right place- and I am ultimately responsible for knowing God’s will myself. But as a young Christian, earnestly desiring to do the will of God, damage was done.

I spent the next ten years of my life trapped between confusion and pain. I knew what I loved- art- but was told this love was incompatible with my call to be a Christian. I knew what I wanted to do- write and champion the arts- but was never encouraged that this longing and gifting could be God’s very purpose for me.

Churches will spend hours and hours extolling the virtue of missions. But will they even give 10 minutes discussing the holiness of art? To every Christian artist, this lack of discussion, this lack of appreciation seems to be shouting “Isn’t art a pagan thing, filling big city museums and corrupting minds? Filled with the sensual, stirring up passions, opening up our souls, how can any good thing come from art?”

Not all art is good. I acknowledge this sincerely. But art can be holy. I affirm this ardently.

Art can reach through hardened hearts and darkened minds- like a single shaft of light escaping into a darkened room. Words, music, paintings, sculptures, dance, art, touch a place where sermons and religious catechism never reach. Art touches the human soul. This soul place is the very bridge between our earthy bodies and supernatural spirits. How can we neglect this heavenly portal? How can we forget this passageway?

Obviously, the soul can quickly become murky and trapped in humanism. But let us redeem this sacred place! Let us not toss away the babe with the bath water. Let us fight for this sacred battleground.

Art can be a weapon in the eternal war. A mighty, irrepressible, powerful weapon. Pushing back the lies of darkness and declaring the holiness of God. But for these spiritual weapons to be wielded, they must first be acknowledged and extolled.

Let us not forget the first human to be filled with the Spirit of God: Bezalel. Bezalel was an artist and craftsman, working with gold, silver, bronze, jewels, and wood (Exodus 31). God called him and inspired him to do this artistic work for the building of the tabernacle. A holy purpose indeed.

God has called many of us to be holy artists, too. Be reassured today that if you are committed to Christ and yet still find art filling your heart, God probably put it there for a reason. The world needs your art. This spiritual battle needs your thrust. Feel your call is not “sacred” enough? Tosh!

Never forget the sanctity of art.

Monday Morning Encouragement

It’s Monday morning again and I know you’re probably thinking:

“Ok, Elyce. I read “Destiny Today“. I’ll be patient, I’ll work hard, I’ll be faithful in today, yada yada. But let’s get to the good stuff. Tell me about the destination- tell me how to get there. That’s what I really wanna know.”

Well, are you ready for this? It’s not something we really want to hear. But it’s truth.

“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday….Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…” (New King James, Psalm 37:5-7a).

Our roadmap is to commit our way to the Lord, trust in Him, rest in Him, and wait patiently for Him. And He shall bring it to pass. 

We’ve heard this before. It’s familiar, almost dull. But oh how rich with marrow and life this way really is! And that’s the heart of the matter. As my pastor reminded us yesterday, it’s not just about an end result. It’s about a way. A way of thinking, a way of training, a way of living in God and His kingdom.

We’re on a journey with God. Each day is a destiny day. Someday we will get to the end of our lives and, hopefully, see a wonderful completed picture of the great plan God had for us. But each day along the way is just as great; each day is just as important. Each faithful day will help yield the finished picture.

Let us learn from the Israelites. Weary from their desert wanderings, it is recorded that

“…the soul of the people became very discouraged (impatient) on the way” (New King James, Numbers 21:4b).

The Promised Land might seem a thousand miles away today. Your destiny might seem impossible, your future hopeless. But don’t be discouraged, don’t be impatient. Embrace the process. Cling to the way. God is faithful. He is worthy. He is to be trusted.

And He will do it.


Destiny Today

We love the idea of destiny. The idea that God has crafted a call just for us. An exciting, fulfilling adventure- written in eternity before time began.

As modern believers in this entrepreneurial age, we are conditioned to be ever looking for the next thing. The “this is where I am but this is where I am headed” syndrome. And while I am a huge proponent of goals and passion and pursuing purpose, I think we sometimes miss our destiny today.

We might not know what we are called to in 5, 10, or 50 years. But if we have a job we can know what we are called to right now:

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.” (New Living Translation, Ephesians 6:5-8)

Deep respect.
Sincere service.
Serve as Christ.
Integrity (being the same when they see you and when they don’t).
Doing good.

Doing this as an accountant, nurse, teacher, mechanic, parent, etc. might not be as exciting as going to Africa to save the children. And it might not be as personally fulfilling as pursuing our passion. But it is what we are called to today.

Don’t miss today’s destiny in tomorrow’s dream.

Prime Real Estate

3,500 square feet.
Vintage oak beams.
Granite counters and great rooms.
Great Rooms.
What makes a room so great anyway?
(The people in it.)

4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms.
Hand brushed nickel.
Vaulted ceilings and prime location.
Prime Location.
What makes a location so prime anyway?
(The proximity to love.)

This potluck of plaster and stone and beams.
This place for which we sweat and bleed and break our backs.
This image we strive for in living display.
A blessing.
But always remember- people make a home.