Heading into 2019, I generally think most of us are thinking about improving ourselves, making and setting goals and getting back in touch with that “God dream” you had in your heart that still is not fulfilled.
How we go about achieving these goals, dreams and ideas is very much left to how much we invest time and skill in them. While God gives us divine inspiration from the Holy Spirit, it is the partnership of us doing our part that will ultimately see these things come to fulfillment.
As a professional artist I produce prophetic art work that is inspired by the extraordinary visual imagery of my dreams and visions. In the creative process I find myself between trust in the Holy Spirit and putting time into my craft and disciplining myself to get even better at producing these spiritual images to a level that I can see them in my “holy imagination”.
How much do we rely on God compared to ourselves?
What is the balance between waiting on the Holy Spirit and putting time into your discipline? As an artist, and also a personality that likes to push myself in becoming better at what I do, I have found that I have been learning about the importance of putting time into my craft as an artist.
Its actually kind of ‘lazy’ to put all your expectations into what comes forth from the divine. This was a real shift for me when it came to art because I would often stand in front of a blank canvas and allow these pictures I saw form in front of me via my skills and what would come from my brush. I would hardly ever pre-draw or get a clear idea before I embarked on my journey of painting a piece.
I would often say that it was a more powerful a testimony when even I didn’t know what came forth from my brush.
Getting skilled up
Recently I was very fortunate to work with the amazing Christian artist Grace Bailey. She needs no introduction, but she has become more than an expert in her field as a worship painting artist all over the world. Often painting on stage in the Sounds of the Nations conferences and also recently at the huge event Awakening in
Melbourne, Australia. Her images are both divinely inspired and incredibly well executed, and really is a great source to look up to as an artist and is also author of ‘painting with God.
Grace Bailey runs art workshops in her studio in Ballarat and early this year I was very blessed to be able to attend her four-day intensive. My goal was to push myself as much as I could, to glean off the master artist in practical and spiritual areas of her craft and to do the most difficult and challenging things I could do.
Am I a sucker for punishment? Well, no is the answer, but I am the personality that wants to get better every day at what I do, even if it’s a little bit. I think that God wants us to be a better version of ourselves every day.
What happens when we apply ourselves to our craft?
When we apply ourselves and take up the disciplines of our craft – reminding you that your craft could be being a better husband or wife, work colleague, writer, dancer, builder – we stand as a greater testimony of the creative God that lives with in us. If we can execute what he knows we can execute with the mind and body he gave us, imagine what doors can open to His truth and His kingdom.
If we view being more disciplined as a way to reflect our creator even more, imagine how much less we would be lazy. What we do does reflect our creator and it is up to us to draw near to Him to allow him to blow you away with the extraordinary capacity and skills he has put inside you.
Grace, the prophetic artist, said to me that you wouldn’t see a builder turning up to build your house saying, “It’s all good, God will teach me the steps to building a house,” and you walking away thinking it will work out. So why is that in creative circles that we allow it? As I said, this is vast shift from my journey of standing in front of blank canvas relying on something to come to me, to coming to a canvas with a clear, prayed-through and prepared approach that will be a testimony of the creative potential that is with in me.
We reflect his glory
So why does it matter that we apply ourselves to our craft? God will be seen through it anyway.
I can only speak for myself and my walk with God, but I know that on this side of eternity I want to do everything in my power to be able to reflect his glory and wonder through everything I do. If that requires me to shake off the lazy tag to move to greater reflect my King, I will.
So what is the balance of being happy with what I produce with my current level of skills, and seeing if I actually can work toward executing what I can see in my “holy imagination”? I think that if I could execute that, my paintings would even go to another level and would be an even greater testimony of the way he works through me with paint and brushes.
I am reminded at this stage that we are called ‘disciples’ and the root word of this being “discipline”. So as we see discipline as a way of becoming a greater testimony of the God that lives inside you how much more of an impact you can make in your area of craft.
It’s amazing to think that we have the ability to reflect His glory, his wonder and His character in the gifts and talents He has put in you.
Justin Monaghan is currently launching as a professional prophetic artist under the label JR Faith Creations and works as corporate team builder all over Australia. He is married to Liana and lives at the beautiful beach of Port Willunga.