July 30, 2007 Ration
[God] disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.
Why does a worthy instructor train his pupils so very intentionally in the foundational principles and disciplines of a particular artistic discipline? Is it not for the pupils good and pleasure in that the greatest potential of joy could be known through that artistic endeavor? The instructor has experienced the pleasure that is had when the fetters of ignorance and sloth are not crippling the pursuit of joy. The instructor knows because the instructor has seen! So we sign up to be his pupil because we want to enjoy what the instructor has enjoyed and demonstrated to be enjoyable.
This instructor/pupil reality does not come from nowhere. God disciplines us for our good so that we may share in what He enjoys in His holiness! That is where it comes from. The inexhaustible enjoyment of the holiness of God is already enjoyed by God Himself, and countless other heavenly beings, and God calls us to be sons so that we may share in His enjoyment of His holiness! This discipline is truly for our good.
The reality of participating in the disciplines of the zealous study of music or dance or film or painting in order to know their potential pleasures, where God takes pleasure in them, is not the ultimate end or purpose for learning the disciplines of artistic study. Nor is that participation, as God has designed, a hollow or valueless pursuit, forbidden to be enjoyed. But we can truly end up empty handed where we do not learn from the images of being artistically disciplined, how to know or enjoy the discipline of the Lord in order to realize the greatest and lasting pleasures of the holiness of God. God is the ultimate End, the ultimate Pleasure, of every pleasure He has ordained for our enjoyment.
God must discipline us until we understand what His holiness is, especially in regard to what holiness looks like as He puts us in a life in the arts. What would it profit us to gain the whole artistic world and lose our soul forever because we didnt participate and endure in the discipline of the Lord? Artists, be careful not to miss what all the images of discipline in this life are teaching us of the invisible God. Be good observers.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed(12:11-13). Our current cultural handling of artistic expression suffers in it's lameness, but God is able to heal. So artists, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him lest we find ourselves put out of joint, never to experience the unexpressible pleasure of the holiness of God!
O God, discipline us in our artistic desires and pursuits that we may know and share in Your joy in the pleasures of Your holiness as emanated in creation! Conform us to the image of your Son, and have mercy on us, as we are but flesh.
© 2007 The Gaius Project