Art is a big part of culture. In this article by Whitney Hopler, Crosswalk.com contributing writer, the subject of using art to glorify God and invite people into the Christian sheepfold is discussed. The following is a report on the practical applications of Douglas Mann’s new book, The Art of Helping Others: How Artists Can Serve God and Love the World (IVP Books, an imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2014).
All Christians are artists, in the sense that God calls all of us to creatively incite people to discover more about him, their Creator. We can do so by sharing the Gospel message in creative ways as we relate to others during our daily lives. Whether or not we create traditional artwork (such as songs, stories, paintings, or sculptures), we can live artistically by showing people glimpses of God’s redemptive work in this fallen world and inspiring them to connect with the Master Artist who wants to transform their lives.
Here’s how you can live artistically for God:
Humbly accept and learn from the suffering you experience. Suffering is an unavoidable reality for everyone in this world that sin has broken – and Christians, especially, must face that suffering rather than trying to avoid it, because what we learn from suffering helps us become stronger people who grow to be more like Jesus Christ. But in order to learn from the suffering you go through, you must overcome pride that deceives you into thinking that somehow you should be above human suffering. Pray for the humility you need to trust God when he allows you to experience suffering. Seek out the wisdom you can gain from going through difficult circumstances while relying on God. Then take what you’ve learned and use it to help other people who are suffering in the ways you’ve suffered. As you do, the Holy Spirit will empower you to create conversations and projects that will help bring hope and healing to others.
Answer God’s call to serve as a creative inciter. Jesus was a creative inciter: someone who used creative energy to bring about positive change in the world. God calls all Christians to follow Jesus’ example by using our God-given creativity to be an agent of change in whatever situations we encounter. Any work you do to creatively help solve problems in the world and help people move closer to God is a way of expressing your artistry as a Christian. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you give of yourself from the uniqueness of how God made you. Just as Jesus used artistry in how he communicated with people (from telling creative stories to solving people’s problems creatively), you can communicate in creative ways that point people to God and help change their lives for the better.
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We feel art can be used in many ways to bless God’s people and to promote Christ in culture. Use your talent to the best of your ability and God will help you reach people who can be reached in no other way.