What’s the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear the word, “art”? Many of us might immediately think of our favorite paintings or drawings, but what about your work? Do you think of your work as being “art”? Often times we tend to have a very limited view of what constitutes art and artistry, but when we expand our vision to see art in a larger context, something truly wonderful happens to our work and lives.
Jaques Barzun defined art this way: “Art is power; it can weaken or destroy a civilization that created it. It can enlarge or trivialize the imagination.” The oxford dictionary adds that art is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination…producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty.”
You are an artist—one assigned with the marvelous task of painting the beauty of your Redeemer to a dark, hungry world. This takes us back to the beginning—why did God create you? The simple answer: to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever (Westminster Catechism). That is the beautiful reason you exist. We know that sin has made everything more complicated and corrupt. While work may be a challenge now, it’s important to remember that work was given to mankind before the fall (Genesis 1:28). When God made man and woman, He made them to be His image-bearers. They were to display His beauty and magnificence to the world—this was their job and this was their work. When sin entered into the world, the image was marred but not erased, and God’s purpose for mankind did not change. He made you to reflect Him through the way you live your life. He has called you to this and there is no greater pursuit because He is altogether lovely and the source of all joy and eternal satisfaction (Psalm 16:2).
Therefore, we are the artists who are truly free; we are free to paint His splendor and worth on the boundless frame of all areas of living: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).”
When you start to approach your work as your opportunity to express His greatness and glory, it changes your perspective and lets you flourish with a deeper sense of meaning, joy, satisfaction, and creativity in whatever you do, in the unique way only you were made to do it.
Author and thinker Nancy Pearcey writes about this in her book, Saving Leonardo:
“The God of Christianity does not erase our individual identity but actually affirms it, calling us to become ever more fully the unique individuals we were created to be. Contrary to Eastern mysticism, the goal is not to suppress our desires, but to direct our desires to what truly satisfies—to a passionate love relationship with the ultimate Person.”
We get the pleasure of living distinctly creative lives, always pointing others back to God and His infinite glory and grace. Whatever you do, see your work as art; as the canvas you’ve been given to make Him known.
For, in the words of C.T. Studd, “Only one life, twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Are you really free to be creative? What’s holding you back from freely embracing your identity as a creative person?
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