October 1, 2007 Ration

I Timothy 4:16

“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

How important this exhortation is to those in the arts. Keep a close watch on yourself, artist. And, keep a close watch on what you are teaching through your artistry, whether that is from the words of your mouth, your artwork itself, or your working creed.

We are encouraged to keep a close watch. But a close watch on what: the pursuit of artistic excellence above all else? No. Artistic excellence alone is not the pinnacle of a man’s worth, nor will it save him. A close watch that we artistically say only what would be easily accepted among the masses (all the while saying really nothing at all as we yield to the fogs of complaisancy, perceived holiness, and time-frittering, hollow pleasures)? No, the close watch of "viewer-acceptability" is most often a careless watch.

We are to keep a close watch on what we’ve been trained in, or should be trained in: the words of the faith, good and true doctrine, having nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths, actively training ourselves for godliness, setting an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, practicing and devoting ourselves to all these things so that all may see our progress in the faith and give glory to God. We must keep a very close watch.

Artists, how are we doing with Paul’s exhortation? Individually how are you doing, and then corporately how are we doing? If we do not persist in a close faithfulness to the truths that God teaches us in His word, we risk being found faithless, proving that we were not really sheep who heard and followed the Shepherd’s voice, but instead, artistic gypsy-goats who followed the sheep’s bleat, hoping to find our comfort in numbers rather than in the rod and staff of the Shepherd.

Save yourself, artist, in as much as it depends upon you! Persist, by the grace of God, in keeping a very close watch on yourself. A very discerning watch on all that is before you in the arts, on all that you study in the arts, and on all that you find pleasurable in the arts. Are the pleasures you find complete, in that they terminate in God? Or are the pleasures incomplete as they terminate on man, or art, or some silly myth derived from man’s proud heart? Don’t lose yourself over a proud work of art. Rather, prove yourself by a faithful articulation of what God declares to be completely and pleasurably true. By such a faithful, artistic articulation – save your hearers, as much as it depends on you!

So persist, artists, against all error and deceit that boasts of great gain, just as Christ persisted in the wilderness against the very same temptations of the devil. Do not be artistically lazy with the truths of God; you won’t make it through the narrow gate in time. Do not be artistically careless with the truths of God, you will find yourself lost on the soft trails of dilution. Do not be artistically tame with the truths of God, gentle and tame are not the same. Do not be artistically loveless with the truths of God, it will benefit you nothing.

Keep a close watch on the truths of God, persist, and you will find yourself in the pleasures of God Himself!

Jason Harms


© 2007 The Gaius Project