August 6, 2007 Ration

John 12:49-50

“For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has Himself given me a commandment – what to say and what to speak. And I know that His commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

When Jesus went out from the presence of the God the Father into the world, what did he say and speak? Jesus spoke what the Father had told him. In fact, the reason Jesus went out to say anything is because the Father told him to go. And by going, Jesus would glorify the Father by faithfully demonstrating that his pleasure, his allegiance, his satisfaction, his delight, his strength, his provision, his joy was solely in God the Father whom he has seen and known and is now making known! Jesus did not go out to glorify himself, but to glorify the One who sent Him. And in order to glorify the One who sent him, he must be faithful in saying what the Father had given him to say.

There is so much to learn here as I think about this verse and going out as an artist. First, am I even being sent out by God, or am I just sending myself out? Communion between Jesus and the Father happens first before any going or sending takes place. Am I going out to make a name for myself so that I can enjoy popularity, or praise, or riches, or a list of good works to lay before God, hoping to earn His favor by showing off my “righteousness” to Him, and others, in my artistic pursuits? Jesus seems to have this end in mind in his going out: his enjoyment of the Father in being faithful to Him.

When the Father says “go,” Jesus goes. When the Father says “this is how you will go and what you will do,” Jesus says, “not my will, but Your will be done.” When the Father says “say this,” Jesus says, “Your commandments are eternal life. I will say what You tell me and I will not fear man or concern myself with their thoughts towards me.” Jesus’ faithfulness to his Father’s bidding is motivated by his enjoyment of the Father, and his enjoyment of the Father is directly affected by how faithful he is to his Father’s bidding. Jesus loves the Father above all, which is the foundation from which he can truely love anyone else!

So I ask myself, is the content of what I am saying through my artistry from my own extremely limited understanding, or is it from the all-sovereign authority of the Father? God knows what is truly true. I am learning what is truly true. What God says is truth. What I say is true only if it bears witness to what God has already declared to be true. And what God says is eternal life!

Artists, it would serve us well to take a major step back in our artistic pursuits and ask God some questions like: God, are You sending me out into this arts arena, or am I just going out on my own initiative? Do I really know and listen to what You have said in Your word, or might I have so many traditions of men and religion and culture clouding my understanding that I am only articulating and enjoying a portion of truth, and not eternal life?

God, show us what motivates us in our artistic pleasures: our enjoyment of our temporal human glory, or our enjoyment of Your everlasting and unrivalled glory! Give us faith that we would be faithful in what you send us out to communicate just as Jesus was faithful, so that we can enjoy You just as Jesus does.

Jason Harms


© 2007 The Gaius Project