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.