Summary: Do you see yourself as a creative person? God is the first creative Person, and He has made us to be creative. We can be creative as Christians, but will you take the challenge to create great art for Jesus?
In my last post, I taught on how to think like Jesus. In this post, I talk about how to have Christian creativity and a renewed imagination.
Do you like to write, draw, paint, build things, play and write music? There are many ways we show our creativity. Can we trust our imagination when we become Christians? You were different before you met Jesus. Christians have different perspectives on the Christian imagination and if it can be trusted.
The imagination, and our creativity, is a function of our minds. If we don’t have a renewed mind, then we can’t trust our imagination to be “Christian” creative. We used it before to do all sorts of things that may have been positive Christian creative pursuits and products. So, it’s important to address the Christian imagination, and not too many people talk about it. Let’s get started.
You Are Creative
Do you see yourself as creative? There are a lot of people in this world who don’t. Most children are super creative. Somewhere along the way, we allow our imaginations to dwindle. Soon, they are so dull we don’t do anything creative. My suggestion is that you find something, a hobby, that opens your imagination and gets your juices flowing.
Why am I convinced everyone is a creative? Because our Creator is creative. From the very beginning of Scripture, the first thing we learn about God after His existence is that He is creative. In fact, the fifth word in English Bibles, and the third word in the Hebrew Bible is “created” (Genesis 1:1).
The Bible follows that by telling us how God created with His voice. The creation narrative is written in a poetic form. So in one fell swoop, God is creative with his voice, speaking the world into existence. And He does it in the most beautiful way. It is a beautiful, functional creation that has lasted for thousands of years.
We take on that creativity in just about everything we do. No one person is like another in the way they approach their art. The subject matter, techniques, tips and tricks they have learned, and every other part of the creative process is unique to every individual. We can learn from one another, but only you can create the art you create.
That’s not the only place you see creativity in the Bible. Jesus was a carpenter. In the Old Testament, when God gave Moses the blueprints for the tabernacle (and later the temple), He ordained creative artisans to do everything from weaving cloth to making the furniture of the tabernacle, and later the temple.
“The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent,” (Exodus 31:1–7, ESV)
Later, a man named Hirem from Lebanon and the workers with him would build the temple for Solomon. There are many other creatives in the pages of Scripture, and the background of Scripture’s story. I could say that all the prophets were creative, since they wrote Scripture as inspired by the Holy Spirit.
With that settled, that you are a creative person created by God the Creator, to do creative things, where do you see yourself as creative? Do you do something that you don’t think you are good at, and so you haven’t done it for a long time? I encourage you to pick it up again, learn from others who do that craft. Keep at it.
The only way you can’t trust your imagination to be creative in ways that please God is if that imagination still works off of a depraved mindset. I am making the case in this post that when Jesus says new creatures in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17-20), this includes the mind, and by extension, our imagination.
Jesus doesn’t do things that way. He doesn’t make you a new creature, but leave your mind to be the same as it was before you met Him. That doesn’t mean that you can be a Christian and always have a Christian imagination.
Jesus does a complete work in you. But your mind must be continually renewed so that it doesn’t conform to the ways and principles of this world. If your mind needs renewal, so does your imagination. The creative things you do come out of your relationship with Jesus and what the Spirit is doing in your mind.
When you think like Jesus and let your mind be renewed by the Spirit every day, the things you create will glorify Jesus. What do I mean by a renewed imagination? It is your creative imagination set on fire by the Spirit to create works of art that have at the center of them Jesus and His Kingdom.
Before you knew Jesus, you created things that satisfied your fleshly desires. The characters in your stories, the objects of your painting, and so forth, were shipped the devil and were things that pleased your flesh. In contrast, when your mind is transformed and renewed, your imagination soars with how to convey the thoughts of Jesus in your art.
Now you write and paint, or whatever you do, spiritually has a different purpose. You are creative in a Jesus pleasing sense because you no longer are interested in the things of this world, your flesh, and what the devil wants you to paint, write, build, and sculpt. Every product of your creative imagination aims to glorify Jesus.
I’m not saying every piece you may glorify Jesus, or you set out to glorify Him, but that they won’t be what this world, your flesh, and the devil encourage you to produce. The dark things running through your creative pursuits are gone. They no longer interest you, and therefore, you will not include them in your art.
What you think about and experience comes through in your art. If you renew your mind to think I’m good and godly things, that is which will produce with your imagination. When you dream, you have visions and dreams from God instead of focusing on the lusts of the flesh and the world. What does heaven look like? What does Christian art look like that is different from worldly art?
That is up to you and the Holy Spirit to explore. And that’s just it. Explore your imagination and what it means to be Christian and creative. As a Christian, the art you produce will be different from what it was before. Only you can explore this with the Holy Spirit and your individuality as a Christian. What is He telling you to produce?
Christian creativity can be a very positive thing. But I have noticed, and heard many discussions and conversations about Christian art that are negative. It seems Christianity itself, and especially Christian doctrines have made it very hard to be a Christian and a creative. Christians argue about art and how it flourishes, or it doesn’t flourish, with the current Christian mind.
You have seen it too, whether you realize it or not. Christian art in paintings, writing, and I’m sure many other places, have been limited to certain themes that become repetitive. The themes of redemption, salvation, forgiveness, and other things Jesus taught us are the best ideas to fuel our imaginations. Creative approaches to sharing these in Christian art seem to have the same approaches and results.
The Christian story and message are the most powerful ones in the world. And we as creative’s have to find the most interesting and unique approaches to these themes as possible. I dare say &sometimes we just get a and don’t try to make a creative approach to these themes, and others. Christian creativity displayed in art is only as good as our best efforts.
Your goal and challenge as a Christian creative is to think outside the box. Creativity does not come down to m. It’s about communication. How does your art draw people to Jesus? Can you pique their interest with your craft in a fresh and exciting way? Creativity can be a mundane activity we are used to doing. But it should be much greater than that. It should be the kind of thing that moves a person when they see your art.
Let us all endeavor to be better creatives for Christ. How can you draw people to Jesus through your art? We also need to make it a discipline to renew our minds and imaginations so we can do our very best to represent Jesus in the creative sphere. People will not be moved by average approaches. Your art is just as good as secular art.
How can you stretch the boundaries you think are surrounding your creativity? Challenge them by creating your art and showing it to others. You don’t have to consider your self Rembrandt, da Vinci, or any other artist of any form you consider to be the greatest.
When you are learning the new craft or activity, do you compare yourself to the best at that activity? If you start shooting hoops in your backyard, do you compare yourself to Michael Jordan? When I was a kid, I used to shoot hoops and imagine myself as one of the greatest basketball players ever. I wasn’t. Never even played on the team for school.
That didn’t stop me from imagining myself to be the best. So, if you don’t have any confidence in your craft, your creativity, and imagination, use it to imagine you are the best at it. Let that be your confidence. Start somewhere, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and be teachable to learn from others. While they can give you the skills and the techniques to do your craft, they cannot create what you create, or even conceive what you conceive for your creations.
God puts in your heart what you are going to create. He gives you the ability along with the imagination to do great things for Him. What are you thinking of as you read this? Let your creative juices flow. If you need a muse to help you create, use it. You get an idea from viewing someone else’s art? Use that.
As you create, stretch the boundaries and don’t let your art look like anyone else’s. You may copy things as you are learning how to do your craft, but then let the Lord use your uniqueness, individuality, and creativity to do things no one else has ever thought of. Go and create in the name of Jesus.
How can you become more creative, more engaging, more suspenseful about the message of Jesus in your art? If you don’t think you are creative, you are. God made you that way. You just have to find how to express it.
Now that we have addressed Christian creativity and imagination, I will ask talk about the Christian attitude.