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Developing a Heart of Worship

Creating art, without developing a heart of worship, should be considered a meaningless exercise for Christian visual artists.


Once bound, we are now free! How can we not worship? If you've experienced liberty in Christ and the wonder of His Zoe empowering you—then worship is birthed out of gratitude. It need not be forced, but should flow unhindered.


There are two kinds of worship in the secular art world—that of the art itself and worship of the artist. Both these could arguably be considered glorified appreciation rather than "worship" as Christians would view it—yet they are not without fault.


Lauding the work of our hands is distasteful to God, as much as excessively commending artists who create skilled works of art.

 

Developing a Heart of Worship: God's Ways, Not Our Own.

 

“...that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’  Deuteronomy 12:30


Although addressed to the Israelites of the past, this verse highlights a principle relevant for Christian artists today,


When art is a slick form of expression, devoid of any consideration of God, it speaks a different dialect. It also serves different "gods"—gods of self expression, acclaim, monetary success or merely the pursuit of beauty. Such art is skilled and breathtakingly beautiful, yet lacking that which pleases God because it excluded Him.


Seeking direction for our artistic journeys from others, who discount the pursuit of God in their creativity, is akin to inquiring "how do they serve their gods?"


Valuing their opinions of what constitutes 'great art’ is to callously overlook God, who initiates creativity, and will partner with you in it.


As artists, we've enjoyed creative moments when our hearts soared with joy. Our language of worship is most authentic when it flows in response to our awe of God. Art then develops the vocabulary of the praising spirit. When that unique language is formed in you, you'll know and sense its precious worth! Having tasted its sweetness, beware of excluding Him or looking elsewhere for ways to worship.


Developing that heart of worship is of utmost importance to Him. The Bible is peppered with examples of genuine and spurious worship. As a deeply personal journey, it takes its shape from our most private conversations with Him.


To wordlessly express our individual hearts of worship in the language of art is a unique privilege.


Private conversations are not meant to be shared, and when eavesdropped upon, are often misunderstood! Conversations meant for His ears only, when spoken for everyone to hear, lose their intimacy. Their integrity also becomes suspect. Have you ever spoken openly to someone, knowing that others were listening? Did you not modify your words for the larger audience?


As vital as the integrity of a support is to a work of art, I'm convinced that true worship is the foundation on which great art is built.


A ragged, poorly stretched canvas can never deliver excellence, as a carefully prepared, wonderfully smooth one. On such a surface, the brush is not hindered, but dances freely at the impulse of the artist. Approaching the creation of art with a keen sense of worship in our hearts is much the same. It is beginning with the best—the precious content within us seeking expression through our medium of choice!


What is conceived in secret affects what is birthed in public.


Ultimately, by its very nature, art is public. It speaks in a loud, strident voice – boldly expressing opinions held fiercely by their creators. Art shouts from walls of galleries as the outpouring of personal tastes, opinions and philosophies of the artists.


In such a forum, should not our voice as Christian visual artists also be heard? Our role is not to stay silent, or even worse, to imitate. Instead, why not carry the lessons learned from our private, divine conversations with God to the public arena?


Then we can, in the words of David,


"serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you..” 1Chronicles 28:9


So I urge you to make every effort to develop a heart of worship. Spend lavishly your most valuable resource of time on this one pursuit, through which you will surely find God in unexpected ways. The quality of your work will begin to shimmer with His blessing and presence.


May our collective heart of worship result in a resounding symphony of visual praise— each voice unique and necessary in a world starved for His presence.


“For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” 2 Corinthians 10: 18

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