One of the blog’s I enjoy reading is written by Gary Molander [Twitter|Blog] of Floodgate Productions. It’s called It’s Complicated, and is challenging, inspiring, and encouraging. A few months ago, he shared a list of topics that he wished artists would write about. One of them struck me, and I’ve been thinking about it.
Pride is the origin of sin and the ongoing basis of sin. It’s the idea that I am better than someone else. Pride was at the introduction of sin when Lucifer thought he could do a better job at being God than God could.
Pride is a struggle for everyone, but I think especially so for artists.
Think about it with me. If a creative/artist is doing what he or she does because they love it and not just to get a paycheck, then there is investment, sweat, turmoil, and hard work. The art becomes an expression of who they are. My art is an expression of who I am, whether it be graphic, video, words, music, or a service order.
And in the ministry context, the art is also often an expression of God, truth, and what He is teaching the artist. Whether it’s a song, painting, graphic, video, writing, or speaking.
It becomes easy to become attached to the creation. The expression. We lose sight of the Creator who inspires and become focused on what has been created. When really the first purpose of the creation was to remind people of the truth and glory of the Creator.
This is where pride enters the picture.
It can take many forms and thoughts:
- “Nobody can do what I do.”
- “Look at the awesome thing I’ve done.”
- “Wonder if I could make some extra money or get some national recognition from this.”
- When the artist receives feedback, the thought is that the person giving feedback has no idea what they’re talking about because he or she isn’t an artist.
- “What do you mean we’re not using this? I spent forever on this!”
But when we are creating for ministry in the context of church, submission and service play a role. These are attitudes that are in stark contrast to pride. In the ministry context, we are serving God, the authority He’s placed over it, and the congregation. It’s not just about what we think is best (or cool), but what serves and connects the body, the event, and the flow with God.
It’s easy to become prideful about the art we are privileged to create, and it is a privilege to be able to communicate truth and beauty through art. Pride is a constant presence and battle the artist must be vigilant about.
So, how do we guard against pride?
- It begins with prayer and time spent with the Lord. If we are not growing in our relationship and dependence on God, then we are growing in self-sufficiency.
- It is vital to be operating in the strength and presence of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is empowering us, then we are not operating in our own abilities and will be less likely to think what’s been created is our own doing.
- It means being grateful for the gifts and opportunities God has given us. Remembering that we aren’t privileged to do this because of anything we did or deserve, but because of the graciousness of the Lord.
- It means constantly being humble. As we recognize and confess these tendencies to the Lord, He will honor that and grow a humble spirit. As we keep our eyes on Him and not on what we do, it will be harder for pride to enter the picture. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
In the end, to break the connection of pride to art, we must hold the art loosely.
Recognize Who gave us the ability to create it.
Remember Who is the focus and purpose of the art.
Celebrate the opportunity that sometimes our art will be used to communicate, and other times it might be someone else’s turn to be used by God.
Never forget that the art is just art. It will never be more important that God, His glory, His Word, His church, or His people.
Whether it’s a song, a piece of art, a graphic, a video, a blog post, or even a worship service flow order.
Is this easy? Absolutely not. But by being intentional about this, we grow in Christ-likeness, which is much more important that any created piece of art. After all, if we as artists gain the recognition of the world for the beauty that we create, but forfeit our souls in the process to pride, then what have we really gained?
How have you sought to keep pride in check as it relates to the art you do?