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The Christian Palette, Issue #001 -- Perception
April 22, 2015

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Do we view our creative gifts as God would? As artists, perception is fundamental to the process of making art. We create because we perceive something that begs to be expressed. It may be an inspired idea or something we saw that we itch to recreate in our favorite medium. When that urge strikes me, my passionate working on canvas, paper or clay, is an attempt to transfer that perception into something that can be expressed visually.

But what if our creation falls short of what inspired us, as it often happens with me? What if someone who viewed our art saw something entirely different, or something that we had never intended? It can be a frustrating experience when our efforts to communicate fail, either because of our ineptitude or because of the filters with which someone else views our work.

Jesus experienced this frustration of communication. Despite being the greatest communicator in history, those He spoke to only understood snippets of what He told them. It was inconceivable to them that the cross would be the final outcome of His journey here on earth. Today, although we understand some of His marvelous gift of salvation, we still don’t understand it in its entirety.

When He walked on earth, those who heard Him understood that the concept of a kingdom required a king and a domain he would reign over. All they knew was the physical domain they existed in, so they jumped to the conclusion that this was the kingdom He would rule over. As king, they expected Him to overthrow their oppressors. Jesus was, however, describing something vastly different. His was a kingdom that began in the heart.

On the throne of a yielded heart, His kingdom would work outward to eventually transform the world! This error in perception happened not because of His failure to communicate adequately, but because of the filters through which the hearers of His words perceived them.

Are we guilty of the same today? Do we consider the gravity of our calling as artists, or do we trivialize it? Are we guilty of craving something from our artistic pursuits that God never intended? Could there possibly be specific objectives for our creative gifts?

How do we discover His kingship in this area of our lives? When we take up our brush and begin to create do we first submit to Him? What filters distort our perception?

As Christian artists, I believe our faith and our creativity should be inseparable. If you’ve subscribed to this e-zine, you are aware of this and are on your own pursuit of His will in your art.

To live this out, I am learning that we ought to do just what Jesus did. When He faced with confusion in the perception of His mission on the earth in His hearers, He withdrew often to be alone with His Father.

"When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. Jhn 6:15 KJV

He went to a mountain alone. It was time not spent entirely alone, because it was spent in prayer with the Father. There, away from the opinions of others, He was encouraged. There, in solitude, He poured out His concerns to the Father. There, alone, He was filled once more with vision and purpose. His Father imparted the wisdom that He would need to steadfastly carry out His mission. It is only in quiet time away with our Father that we can find His purpose for our creativity. As I write this I too am searching my heart for the Lord’s leading on how best to live this blessed life as an artist.

Take time away from the noise of the world. Only in solitude will you and I hear clearly. Time alone with God is priceless for staying on course, for not being discouraged, and for sensing that our purpose may be entirely different than what we first believed.
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