Art and the Holy Spirit- Making Space for Creativity

Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of FigsThis is a post I’ve been thinking about for a while now, needing to get out in words.  Do you know who was the first person in the bible to be filled with the Holy Spirit?  His name is recorded in the beginning of Exodus chapter 31.  Bezalel.  And quite simply, he was an artist. It says that he was filled “with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship to devise artistic designs…”  There were other artists, including Oholiab, also appointed and given this ability to make and create the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant, the mercy seat, and all the furnishings for the tent.  This also included creating the altar and the holy garments for Aaron, the priest.

Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of Figs

If you’re reading this I’m assuming its because you’re interested in home design.  Maybe you like to play around with decorating your own home and maybe you’re great at it. Maybe you come here for inspiration because you’re not sure what to do with your house but you’d like to do something.  Maybe you’ve found my “decorating with beauty and purpose” tagline interesting because you are a believer and you’ve felt the tension in the same way I have.  You love to enjoy beauty, but sometimes it feels a little selfish, it often costs money, and you wonder if it has a purpose.

Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of Figs

Bezalel and Oholiab had Holy Spirit inspired artistic gifts.  But couldn’t the Tabernacle have been a simple tent?  It seems possibly a much better use of resources.  Why did it need to be ornate?  Why did a skilled craftsman need to be the one?  And yet, God chose them.  Bezalel made the ark out of acacia wood.  He made lampstands out of pure gold, extremely ornate, which you can read about in Exodus 37.  The curtains were made of “fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns with cherubim skillfully worked.”

Now I’m in no way comparing my limited skills in design to the inspired skills of Bezalel and Oholiab here!  Nor am I comparing my home to the Tabernacle of the Old Testament.  But I do feel a kinship to the passion they may have felt.  Its a thrilling thing to worship the Lord through your gifts, to serve him with your talents.  Even if those talents don’t feel quite so practical as preaching and teaching.  The bible shows us we can worship him through the arts!  Is the Lord himself not the ultimate Creator?  The ultimate artist? Are we not reflecting Him when we create? I’m still working through how that looks for me.  How do I use my love and passion for design and offer it up to Him?

Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of Figs

I didn’t grow up knowing that I was an artistic person.  I’ve learned a lot of that from my husband.  He creates space for creativity.  I used to think that was a waste of his time.  What’s the point??  Its taken me years, but now I am seeing.  It can open our eyes, our hearts, and point us closer to God.  Creating a beautiful and meaningful space can be a form of worship.  Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of Figs

I want to leave you with this passage from Mark 14.  Do you remember when Mary Magdalene, who had been forgiven so much, took a jar of expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet?  Then she wiped his feet with her hair.  The bible says the house was filled with the aroma of the fragrance of the perfume.  It was an extravagant gift. But there were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and give to the poor?” Jesus said, “Leave her alone.  Why do you trouble her?  She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

This is what I think of when I think of giving myself fully to the Lord.  It means that it will not always be the “practical” thing from others’ perspectives.  Of course Jesus always cared for the poor and the marginalized; the least of these, and Mary Magdalene knew that she herself was one of these. Her response was one of of worship with abandon, beauty, and extravagance for her Lord.

So what is your “art?”  What does this look like for you?  I think for some of you, the connection between creativity and spirituality is so simple, you’ve been connecting them all your life, maybe because of your personality or the denomination you grew up in and I’d love to hear from you on this!  But are there others of you like me out there that have struggled with this?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as well!

Thanks so much for reading.



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11 Responses to Art and the Holy Spirit- Making Space for Creativity

  1. Elizabeth McMahon August 18, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    I’ve been struggling with that question: “What is my art?” I LOVE that you have found your art and it is apparent at how you’re flourishing in it! <3 <3 <3 Love you and everything you have to say!

    • Bethany August 19, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

      Thank you, my dear friend, that means so much. And you are SO creative and have been one of the influences that has allowed me to explore my creativity more freely. xoxo

  2. Christine Rothchild August 19, 2015 at 7:41 am #

    YES! Beautifully said! I feel this way about the creative things I do but haven’t been able to articulate it the way that you did here. Amen. God is the ultimate at creativity, so it only makes sense that our creative endeavors can be acts of worship- that is why there is such joy with them and sense of fulfillment. Thanks for this post. ?

    • Bethany August 19, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

      Thank you, Christine! I am still working through this articulation and want to explore it further. I’m sure there are books on this subject somewhere, haha! But thank you for your affirmation- I look up to you and that means so much to me!!

  3. Teri Dufilho August 19, 2015 at 8:30 am #

    wow, how I love this, Bethany!!……I understand exactly what you are saying and it goes right in line with the fact that in every believer, there’s not a “secular/spiritual” divide in our interests, actions, vocations, etc……everything we do and the gifts/talents/abilities we have flow from the Spirit of God in us!……I love that you find joy in this gift He has given you, and the beautiful by-product of that, is the way you bless others with your creativity…..beautiful post!

    • Bethany August 19, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

      Thank you, and yes I love that- everything we do as believers flows from the Holy Spirit! Thank you for the encouragement!

  4. Kathy Carter August 19, 2015 at 10:29 am #

    Beautifully said!

    • Bethany August 19, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

      Thank you so much!!

  5. Joni August 19, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

    Love your thoughts here, Bethany!! I definitely understand and struggle with that tension, and you articulate it so well!! I’m so blessed by the way you and Paul have let the Spirit lead you in your beautifully expressed acts of worship!

    • Joni August 19, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

      I was just thinking about your post again as I was reading Yancey’s book – ‘Pilgrim, activist, artist – whatever our calling, we join together to proclaim the good news that God has commissioned us to announce to the world.’ You are an artist, Bethany, using beautiful spaces and your beautiful words to bring glory to the great Creator!

      • Bethany August 20, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

        Yes, Paul read that and I remember him reading that exact quote to me!!! I love that so much!

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