A Letter to the Creative Christian
Dear Creative Christian,
Yes, I’m talking to you. The woman who delves into the arts. The artist with paint splotches hiding beneath your bangs. The musician whose fingers continually drum to the beat of the song running through your head. The sculptor who has traces of dirt chronically burrowing underneath your fingernails. The poet who carefully weighs words and rhythms and silences. The actress who meticulously puts on a mask to carry viewers to realms of imagination. The writer who creates worlds for your readers to explore. The photographer who freezes breathtakingly beautiful moments in time.
Whether you want to admit it or not, you’ve been given a gift of creativity and let me tell you, it can be stunningly beautiful. I know that sometimes we tell you that your gift isn’t as important because, let’s face it, often times it’s your hobby. It’s not your way of life. It doesn’t bring in a lot of money. It doesn’t pay the bills.
It’s probably not the way you serve in the church either. A few of you might sing on the worship team or do graphic design for your church bulletin, but most of you find other ways to serve.
You practice your art for one simple reason: you love it. It doesn’t bring you money or fame, but you love it all the same. And here’s the deal. God gave us the arts as one of His good gifts. And when we forget that, we need to remember four things about our creativity.
Creativity results from being created in the image of a Creator
The Bible teaches that in the beginning, there was only God (Gen 1:1). And by speaking, he created everything in our world. Then, He formed man out of the dust of the earth. He created woman from Adam’s rib. We see His creativity every time we marvel at a breathtakingly beautiful landscape. Or when we consider the intricate details that He puts into each sunset that He paints. Or when we listen to the orchestra of a thunderstorm.
God is a creator. And we, being made in His image, have a creative side. We have a desire to make something new and beautiful. We envision a picture and paint it. We hear a song in our heads and we write it down. We think of something beautiful and we desire to create it. The beauty of our art gives the world glimpses our Creator.
Creativity reminds us how much greater God is
While our creativity results from being created in God’s image, it also reminds us that we are not God. God created everything ex nihilo, which means “out of nothing.” When God began his creative process, there was no canvas around. There was no precedent for creativity, no rules to follow, no mediums to use. God spoke, and through his speaking, created everything.
And none of us, no matter how good of an artist we are, can mimic God in that way. Painters must have paintbrushes and paints. Songwriters must have musical instruments to play their music. Photographers need a camera. Poets and writers need paper.
While our creativity echoes God’s creativity, it also shows us that we are not Him. We are limited, not only in our creativity, but in all aspects of our lives.
Creativity allows us to creatively express God’s story
People love art. We are mesmerized by the minute details of a beautiful painting. We are enraptured by the melodious sounds that emanate from the symphony. We are captivated by the actor who delivers every word with emotion and precision.
And because this love for art captivates people, what better way to share God’s story? In today’s world, so many people build walls to keep God out. The beauty of art is that it beckons people to let down those walls. C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series is a good example. It paints a picture of a different storyline that echoes Christ to those who have never heard. The reader falls in love with Narnia, while simultaneously falling in love with the overarching story that it portrays. It prepares hearts for the time when the gospel is proclaimed.
How can you paint the gospel? How can you act out the gospel? How can you write out the gospel? God gave you your talents. How can you use them to illustrate the greatest story ever told?
Creativity is a way to express our worship
Our creativity is also something that we can give back to God in worship. The Bible teaches that whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). You know what that means, right? Paint for God’s glory. Sing for God’s glory. Act for God’s glory. Write for God’s glory. By doing so, you offer up your worship to the Lord.
Jesus tells a story in the Bible about three servants. One was given five talents; another two; and another one. The ones with ten and five invested them and doubled the investments. The other buried his talent in the sand. The two who invested their talents were honored by their master, but the other was scolded. This story shows that God expects us to invest the gifts and talent He has given us for His glory!
So, what are you waiting for? If you’re a singer, sing well because it reflects the image of a creator God. If you’re a painter, paint, being mindful that while you create beautiful things, God created out of nothing. If you are an actress, find a way to share the gospel through your drama. If you are a writer, offer up your best poetry and your best stories in worship, giving glory to God. And God will use the creativity He has given you.
Your Creative Christian friend
*Disclaimer – This author is aware that there are many other creative venues than the ones listed in the blog: craft-making, woodwork, graphic design, pottery, architecture, to name a few and in no way wishes to diminish their importance.