Pushing the Limits

As a Christian Creative, I want my art to spark an interest in Jesus Christ. Whether my art inspires believers to look deeper into their faith or my art somehow intrigues a non-believer to dare to explore what the Gospel has to offer, which is life and NOT death. Yet, I’m constantly on the fence. A fence that I walk dangerously like a trapeze artist in the circus we call life.

I walk the fine line perhaps for two reasons: my desire to express the creativity that courses through every fiber of my being by any means necessary, and my desire to use these various gifts of art to honor the Lord and bring Him glory!

These two desires however, the point which they meet, lies my source of internal war.

The first desire for expression through art can too easily be swayed by thought, emotion, and will; which aren’t bad when my heart and my mind is fixed on the Lord, His Word, and His Spirit. But when I’m too self-absorbed and I lust after the things of this world, all my thoughts, all my feelings, and all my will power can be fueled by sinful intentions and not righteous ones. Therefore, I could create something that impresses people but displeases God, and that is a position I never want to be in.

The second desire, though it seems humble and noble in its quest to have everything I do be for the LORD… I, again, could be too wrapped up in the flaws of my human nature and become some zealous, over-pious, somewhat-arrogant God-pleaser where the Lord may still be displeased with my efforts.

With both desires I am at risk for having the wrong motives in my heart.

Jesus said the two most important commandments were to love the Lord with all your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength and to love your neighbor as you love yourself (Mark 12:30-31). Jesus also said, if we (as believers) love Him we will obey all His commandments (John 14:15-24). And later on, the Apostle John said, to love the Lord was to obey Him, and that His (the Lord’s) commandments were not burdensome (1 John 5:3).

Do you understand what that means?

Our entire purpose in life, is to love God and to love others. But this concept of love isn’t as the world defines it.

Love from the world is selfish, and seeks affirmation to whatever one desires whenever, and however, without being told those self-seeking actions reap consequences for oneself and those around that one individual. And the world tries to co-exist with one another in a broken system of people after their own self-interests. Self comes first in this satanic-inspired-system of the world.

God’s way is the opposite. Completely emptying one’s self out through self-denial and seeking the interest of first God and then, second, those connected to the individual. Self comes last in this divine-appointed-system. All believers are to put first the things of God’s Kingdom (Matthew 6:33, see the entire sermon on the mount) and live in a constant posture self-denial and a sacrificial attitude toward all.

Pushing the limits as a Christian artist can be wildly risky. Not only do we answer to the public, to other saints, but ultimately we answer to God. That’s why I like to live by this expectation I set: DOES THIS CONCEPT HONOR GOD?

Now, even that personal code can be arbitrary depending on someone’s theology. I know many creatives who love the Lord and they are serious about serving God’s people and winning souls, but how they would revere God would be different than how I revere God, and therefore, our perceptions of how to honor God vary, and it all boils down to theology.

As a former hyper-charismatic believer myself, there’s sort of this burning compulsion to win people for Christ and in those circles, they really take “Jesus being friends of sinners” to heart. Therefore, they do all the things to be “relevant” and to be “cultural” to spread the Gospel. Sort of taking on this attitude Paul had about becoming all things to minister to all types of people. And, let me be clear, what I am describing here isn’t bad as long as the saint keeps their lifestyle biblically intact. But when your theology is off, when you think your own imagination is God speaking to you, um… you come up with art that contradicts scripture, comprises your values, but sure, it wins the appreciation of onlookers. Or because faith is more built on anecdotal experiences, the art stems from ideas formed out of bad theology.

Again, I’m not saying God can’t reach someone through these artists with bad theology, but if Jesus isn’t portrayed correctly who are newborn believers saying “yes” to? No one likes to buy a house under false pretenses where information was kept hidden before they placed a bid to purchase the house, right?

Why in the WORLD, would you want to share Jesus with a stranger or a fellow believer, and it is NOT the same Jesus portrayed in scripture?! Remember, scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, that means every word came from God. To alter the image of Jesus, would be like altering God’s word.

Since I spent a decade in deceptive christianity that perpetuated a False Gospel, I have to hold myself to a higher standard to revere God more. That means asking myself a list of questions: does this idea honor God, can this idea be used as a vehicle to allegorically share the Gospel or to literally share the Gospel, will this idea tempt fellow believers to sin or remind them of their sinful, pre-Jesus lifestyle, and does this idea honor God’s word?

All the questions are necessary. I’ll admit, I don’t think I’ve done this well even in the past year. The time has arrived, nonetheless, that I start doing it.

If you’re reading this, I imagine, you’re a fellow creative too that loves Jesus. If you’re not a creative, but still love Jesus I think the questions can be applied to whatever your passion is in life. Whether that’s gardening or volunteering, or being the best employee- is the how you’re doing what you’re doing honoring God, do you take opportunity to share the Gospel, are you mindful of your fellow believers’ former lifestyles, and are you honoring God’s word in your daily actions?

True, doing good deeds can’t save you, rather good deeds are the result of your salvation. And if you sincerely love Jesus, but you lack good deeds, you need a heart check-up. Ask the Lord to check your heart and reveal to you what the problem is. Talk to fellow believers you love and that you trust and just confess your sins, or share your burdens and pray together. Then start praying more on your own and don’t forget to read or to listen to your bible. Find a scripture that lines up with your struggle or speaks to the future triumph you can have, and read and listen to it day and night, and in good time you will start exercising some good deeds because your heart is back in alignment with the Father.

Be like David, have a heart after God. Now, don’t take what I said out of context, your problems aren’t Goliath and you’re not a giant-killer. Save that mess for James and the Giant Beanstalk. All I mean is- be inspired by David in the sense, we have a gift David probably would have treasured given how much he worshiped God. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling on the inside of us, to lead us in the ways of Christ, through the new nature God has given us through Jesus. If David could chase after God with just the first five books of Bible and God’s Spirit locked in the Ark of the Covenant, how much so can you chase after God with Him already present with you by dwelling in you via Holy Spirit?

God doesn’t want us to be perfect. He wants us to be fully dependent on Him, and as broken, flawed people we are precisely enabled to be nothing apart from God, which then means we are perfectly dependent on God.

Now, I’m not suggesting to be over spiritual and weird. I’m simply encouraging folks to find that balance to revere God, to thank God continuously in thought and in action, to bless God by being a blessing to people around us, and to repent right away when we fall short of the glory because we will fall short constantly, and most importantly deny self daily to avoid the snare of pride.

I’ll end on this note… the lifestyle of a creative is the root of his/her art: how he thinks, how she acts, what he believes, how she shares what she believes, how he loves the important people in his life and how she respects others, the God he worships and the God she prays to, all of it and any of it can spark a concept that leads to the art. If Christian creatives don’t have a fully devoted, completely submitted life to Christ, then the art they create is no different than what the world offers… it’s futile, vain, pointless…

Let your art express the greatness of our God which is unsearchable, yet we dare to convey God through what He has graciously revealed about Himself. Let your art speak of the love you have for our Lord and Savior. Bravely push the limits within the boundary lines God’s word has set for us, aka the Holy Spirit set for us because inspired the Word of God.

If you’re a fellow Christian Creative, I want to check out your work, drop a link in the comments or message me a link or email me @ getintouch@briannamonique.blog. Let’s support each other and grow together if we can. Full disclosure, if I have doubts about your doctrine, I probably won’t give you a public shoutout, but nonetheless, I still want to check out your work and give supportive feedback. You are free to share what you find on my blog if you want to, all and all, I really hope and pray this blessed you and inspired you to honor God with your art.

Also, if you’re in the USA, consider buying some BMB Merch (click here) to maintain this blog and fund future indie projects.

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