Why art? As a Christian who has been doing art most of her life, I have often wondered about the purpose behind creating it. There have been many times in my life where I have been angry and discontent with the fact that I have been created with an inclination towards art as opposed to academia or athleticism. Many of my family members have been doctors and/or missionaries and seeing the impact they have made for the kingdom can sometimes make me feel inadequate or less than. This question has been on my mind even more since starting college and taking art classes. I am grateful for the skills I have developed and for the people I have met during this time. However, there have been many days I have gone home depressed at the realization that much of what we are required to do is of no eternal value. I am in no way questioning the credentials of my professors, but as a Christian, some of these practices can seem unproductive and mindless in view of eternity. Here are a few things I have learned from my questioning
First of all, it is not my place to assume that God has made a mistake in making me the way that I am. He makes no mistakes, and I am no less, or more valuable than any other person, regardless of the gifts and abilities given. My worth is not found in the ability to paint a flower; I have none apart from Christ. Anything He has given me, has been given with the purpose of using said thing for His glory. So… how do I do that?
I am reminded of a quote from Paul Washer, (technically he quoted it from someone else) “God didn’t make trees to grow Bible tracts”. I might have just butchered that, but you get the gist. I don’t have to paint Bible stories to bring God glory through art. Some alternative options for glorifying God through art include but are not limited to:
Looking at art through the lens of the Gospel. When told to evaluate a piece I can ask myself, “what do the appearance and intentions prove about the fallen nature of man and truth of the gospel”. It sounds cheesy, and perhaps even over the top, but this is something that has helped me to keep focused on things that are important, and to not be sucked into the worldliness that is so prevalent in the art community.
Another way I can glorify Christ through art is by offering my creative service to people or share my beliefs with those I am surrounded by in the art community. I have already been given some opportunities to do these things, for which I am grateful.
Last but not least *drumroll*I can glorify God through art by enjoying it. I have been given freedom to practice something that is not my own. As humans, we are created in His image, and He is the ultimate creator! He has given me a tiny glimpse into His creativity through letting me create. This, I think is the most valuable lesson I have learned from my questioning. It is a beautiful thing to realize that the act of making art is a reflection of God’s ability to create. I don’t claim to be a professional, or even great. Then again, there is no comparison to the beauty God has made. Nonetheless, I would like to encourage those who have been given the desire to make art, to do it! Create art humbly with the knowledge that you are reflecting the father Himself, and you will bring glory to Him by doing so.