Man seems to be naturally inclined to create things. Toddlers with markers on walls, seamstresses with needles on threads, authors with words on paper: all of them create something to be seen or used by others. It feels good to make something and be able to point to it and say, “That’s mine; I did that.”
God’s people especially seem drawn to creating. Two of the first people in the Bible identified as having the Holy Spirit upon them were Oholiab and Bezalel, the craftsmen in charge of building the tabernacle (Ex. 31:2–6).
While it’s amazing to be able to create, it’s also a great responsibility. As Christians, our calling is to share Christ with others, and one of the ways to do this is through our creations. With the gospel as our guide, our minds will be transformed, which will improve our creation’s content and quality.
The first thing the gospel will affect in a Christian creator is his mindset. When we put our faith in Christ, our hearts and minds are transformed into his image (2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 3:10; Rom. 12:2). We’re commanded to think on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable (Phil. 4:8), and these thoughts will do more than sit in our head.
These changed thoughts show themselves in a changed life and changed works, for what we do proceeds from what we think (Matt. 15:18). A composer focused on lies, injustice, impurity, and hate cannot compose things like Handel’s Messiah, and an author thinking on God’s goodness, justice, mercy, and truth cannot write such things as Mein Kampf.
A composer focused on lies, injustice, impurity, and hate cannot compose things like Handel’s Messiah, and an author thinking on God’s goodness, justice, mercy, and truth cannot write such things as Mein Kampf.
These changed thoughts will also make the Christian creator distinct from the world’s creator. While the world’s creators are focused on self-glorification, the Christian creator will be focused on God’s glorification. While the world’s creators are focused on fame, the Christian creator will be focused on God’s name. While the world’s creators are focused inward, the Christian creator will be focused outward.
Although the Christian creator is in the world, his mindset will differ from the mindset of the world, and this will directly affect his work.
Good, True, Beautiful Content
By affecting the mindset of the Christian creator, the gospel will also affect the content of the Christian’s creation. As the lights of the earth, Christians are responsible for letting Christ’s light shine so the world might give to God the glory due to him (Matt. 5:14–16).
The Christian’s creations point to Christ by being profitable and by presenting the world with good and wholesome things. The Christian creator’s work might directly extol God by speaking explicitly of him, or it might indirectly point to him (e.g., an allegory), or it might simply testify to a hope beyond this world.
In creating good content, we must live peaceably with our neighbors (Rom. 12:18) and love our enemies (Luke 6:27). This means the Christian’s work will not be hurtful or spiteful toward others. Instead, it will be marked by kindness and respect. The Christian blogger shouldn’t say things to harm or defame others, and a Christian journalist will not promote libel.
However, this doesn’t force the Christian creator to accept everything and remain silent in the face of the world’s lies. There are things that need to be spoken against, things that maybe only the Christian will speak against, things that Christian creators are best suited to oppose; but fire is not fought with fire. We must speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), neglecting neither the truth nor the love.
Finally, the gospel will affect the quality of the Christian creator’s work. Because the Christian is to do all things as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23), his work will be drastically transformed. The Christian creator will not produce ill-made products; rather, what he produces will be well-crafted. Instead of defective products, he will produce durable wares. Rather than cut corners, he will seek to produce good-quality work. The Christian will not haphazardly create something; instead, he will put in extra work to ensure his creation will benefit others.
Our work is a testimony of God to unbelievers. If they see flimsy, overrated work with exaggerated utility, they’ll likely turn away from this evidence of brokenness and disappointment. Contrarily, if they see a beneficial product that performs its purpose well, they’ll be looking at a picture of Christ’s redemption—a little of the world as it was meant to be. The quality of the Christian creator’s work proclaims something about God.
Reward and Responsibility
Being a creator is rewarding, but it’s also a responsibility. The Bible begins with God creating everything (Gen. 1). It’s a wondrous thing to be able to follow after him and change the world with our creations.
God also declared all he created was perfect, and to mirror just a little of this perfection is no light task. No matter what our creations are, whether a painting or a cabinet or tonight’s dinner, they ought to hold a glimpse of God.
By allowing the gospel to take hold of our lives, we’re allowing it to take hold of our creations. We allow it to change not only our mindset but also the content and quality of what we create. Our creations must testify to a dark and broken world about a great and awesome God.