This post was contributed by Jeremiah Chandler, currently a student of Biola University and former intern at sho.resh. We are so excited to have him share with us today!
So, I recently perused through some old high school papers and found one written in my art class about revelations. I know, a peculiar class to discuss revelations, but bear with me. ALSO, keep in mind that I went to a private, religiously-affiliated high school, so it was not tooooo out of the ordinary. I wrote about two distinct revelations in the paper: General Revelation and Special Revelation.
The paper defined General Revelation to be seeing God and his workmanship through His creation, through the minute details in plants and the quirky impulses of a newborn baby. The uniqueness found in the natural things all around us grants a deeper understanding of the character of God while revealing the unfathomable mystery of His greatness. I quoted the book of Exodus where God fills His people with His Spirit. Because this was written by high school Jeremiah, he failed to cite the source so I’m going to do that for you right now:
“And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship”
God’s Spirit manifests itself through many ways, one being a thing of beauty and art (are you starting to see why it was in my drawing class?). If you fill someone with God’s Spirit, you fill them with a spirit of art.
Insight for the Artist
Trust me, stumbling upon a paper discussing such a theological topic in a drawing class confused me just as much as it confuses you now. However, it offers beautiful insight for the artists. The paper continues.
God’s people give glimpses of his workmanship because of His artistic Spirit shining through their creative expressions. The word of God promises to fill us with His Spirit. Being filled means to be full to the point of spilling over, filled to the brim. Or, as defined by my high school self, “to fill someone is to fill the missing piece of God in their soul.” Dramatic, but still holds true. We have a want and yearning for God, creating an empty chasm that we cannot fill on our own. In the Bible, God has His people build a temple for a purpose, to glorify Him through their workmanship.
The Israelites pooled their talents and possessions together to build the temple. 1 Chronicles 29 says that “whoever had precious stones gave to them,” “all the work to be done by the craftsmen,” and ultimately revealing that “the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, with their whole heart.” God wanted His people to apply whatever they could offer to fulfill their sole purpose, to show God’s greatness. The reason why God gives everyone a set group of talents is to spread His character and His awe-inspiring majesty. Therefore, applying one’s artistic ability (the Israelites’ workmanship) to produce an artistic work (the temple) glorifies God, ultimately filling the chasm created by the desire for God.
Art: A Higher Calling
Artists have a higher calling, and they play a crucial part in God’s story. The Bible says God created us in His image, filling us with His Spirit. He lives inside of us and people actually witness him through the talents and gifts He’s given us!! How cool is that?? My drawing teacher assigned this paper to encourage us, students, to continue to practice our art. After doing research on art in the Bible, we learned to not hide our skills, but use them to exemplify our Father.
I miss my drawing professor. But, I will never forget her passion for using her talents to showcase the character of God. What truly made her amazing was her desire to push her students to do the same.
So, I will ceremoniously pass on the torch to you, urging you to simply make art! APPLY YOUR SKILLS, because God gave them to you! Rest, take some time to whip out those watercolor paints collecting dust somewhere in your house. Channel your inner artist! This time you set aside can even be in response to a scripture you read. I urge you to take it a step further and post your art, urging others to make art! (and tag DeepRoots because it would make my day to see your art!)