A Heart of Worship
Creating art without developing a heart of worship, is a meaningless exercise for Christian artists. Acquire the habit of viewing all artistic endeavors through the prism of eternity.
“For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” 2 Cor10: 18
I have encountered two kinds of worship in the art world – the worship of the art itself, and the worship of the artist. Both are distasteful in the Lord’s eyes. In fact, He gives some rather stringent guidelines for worship. Developing a heart of worship is so important to Him, that the Bible is peppered with examples of genuine and spurious worship.
As artists, we have enjoyed creative moments when our hearts soared and worship was effortless. Having tasted its sweetness, beware of excluding Him when creating art, or looking elsewhere for ways to worship.
Deut 12:29, although addressed to the Israelites, highlights a principle relevant to us today,
‘... be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.”
Seeking direction for our artistic journeys from others who hold a different worldview, is no different than inquiring ‘how they serve their gods’. Heeding their instruction (except for learning technique or use of materials), valuing their opinions and following their definitions of ‘great art’, is to overlook the One who created it all.
Developing a heart of worship is a deeply personal journey. It takes its shape, from our most private conversations with God. To express our individual hearts of worship, wordlessly in the language of art, is a unique privilege.
Our worship is a private conversation with God. Private conversations are not meant to be shared, and when eavesdropped upon, are often misunderstood. Conversations that are meant for His ears only, when spoken for everyone to hear, lose their intimacy. Their integrity also becomes suspect.
Have we ever spoken openly to someone, knowing that others were listening? Have we not then tempered our conversation for the larger audience? Therefore a heart of worship, as expressed in the language of art, must be inherently private, to be genuine.
As vital as the integrity of a support is to a work of art, I believe that true worship is the foundation on which great art should be built.
A bumpy, ragged, poorly stretched canvas can never deliver excellence, as a carefully prepared, wonderfully smooth canvas. On such a surface, the brush is not hindered, but dances freely at the impulse of the artist. Approach the creation of art with a keen sense of worship in our hearts.
What is conceived in secret, completely affects what is birthed in public.
Art that consumes the art world is very public in nature. Art 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, is there a place for the Christian artist? It is my firm conviction, that the Christian artist has a most relevant role. Our role is not to stay silent, or even worse, to imitate.
Instead, with our collective heart of worship, why not carry the lessons learned from our private, divine conversations 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..”1Ch 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. You may be surprised as the quality of your work begins to shimmer with His blessing and presence.