I play piano.
I play guitar.
I draw…well, doodle.
I paint…well, have painted.
I can’t cook, unless mac & cheese counts.
I build stuff.
I can take pictures.
I can do graphic design.
I shoot and edit video.
I am a strategic thinker.
I can lead.
I create elaborate plans.
I design ways to achieve vision.
I don’t consider myself an artist. What’s your excuse for not creating?
Did you know the Bible doesn’t have one single good verse that addresses art? However, the Bible speaks clearly to what it means to create. I think art and artists are really descriptors not identifiers. Let’s put all that aside and focus on what it means to create.
In Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, we find that God has pre-wired each of us – given us the materials we need to create.
Ephesians 2:10 reads, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” In this verse we find three key words that need unpacking; two materials and one evaluator.
Material 1 – The Ability
The Greek word here is “poiema” and it is only used twice in Scripture. The other reference is in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. He says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made (workmanship), so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
Every one of us is pre-wired, hard-wired to create. God the creator (In the beginning, God created…) has designed each one of us to create. It is in our blood.
You have the most important material you need to create…the ability to create! And, it is God-breathed into your very being.
Material 2 – The Holy Spirit
The second word is “created” which is “ktizo” in Greek and actually doesn’t have to do with creating per se like “workmanship” does. Rather, this is about what is being created IN YOU. The word literally means to form, shape, to completely change or transform.
We need the Holy Spirit to create. If we don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus and stay in relationship with the Spirit transforming us, our creations will fail or at minimum need to be redeemed.
“Art lost its basic creative drive the moment it was separated from worship. It severed an umbilical cord and now lives its own sterile life…In former days the artist remained unknown and his work was to the glory of God…Today the individual has become the highest form and the greatest bane of artistic creation.” – Ingmar Bergman
Think about that; art separated from worship is meaningless…sterile! We need to keep our creating connected to Christ…otherwise we risk what Bergman is talking about here.
As people who create or ‘creatives’ – it is even more important for us to have a deep personal walk with Christ. Because we dabble in the hard questions, we explore the edges and test the limits. We bump into dark, shadowy and sensual things. All this reminds me that it is critical we remain close to Christ. We have a huge responsibility as people who create.
You must stay deeply connected to Christ in your own personal walk…to keep this material alive. When we create to the glory of God…we are reflecting Christ to others. Remember Romans 1:20? It tells us that God’s invisible attributes, power and nature are clearly seen, but they are understood through US! What a responsibility we have as disciples of Jesus who create.
When we create we are helping others understand who God is.
I hope you recognize your creative DNA and relationship with God through the power of the Holy Spirit are the core materials in creating. So when you create, how do you evaluate if you’re using these core materials? You look at the product or the “good works.”
We know we have created using God’s materials when we look at the “product” – the “good works” which would be “agathos” “ergos” in the Greek. Literally meaning anything created by hand, art, industry or mind that is useful, agreeable, upright and of good constitution bringing glory to God.
As disciples who Love Jesus, Serve Others and Share the Story we create to that end.
How does our creation reflect our love for Jesus?
How does it serve other people?
How does it share the story of the Gospel?
This is what makes Jesus known!
You have the DNA, you are hard-wired to create (created in Gods image).
You have the Holy Spirit – stay close to Jesus and let Him transform you.
Then, look at what you create and offer it as a sacrifice of worship to God.
Our greatest calling as ‘creatives’ is to take the materials God has given us and to create to the glory of God so that the world may understand God’s invisible attributes, power and divine nature.
Now, go create!