In Faith, Life and Spirituality

In my first vlog, "My Least Favorite C.S. Lewis quote" from August 5th, 2015 we discussed a quote by C.S. Lewis from his book “The Great Divorce”. It states:

“Every poet and musician and artist, but for grace, is drawn away from the love of the thing he tells, to the love of the telling till, down in deep hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him”

Implied here is that the person who is drawn away from their love for God towards the love of what they do for God will be unaware of the shift. C.S. Lewis is giving us an important warning that is also found written in The Bible:

The heart is deceitful above all thing and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. (Proverbs 16:2)

Let's be honest: Identifying our exact motives is especially difficult for us artists. I would argue that it's impossible to know our own motives when we are so motivated to win the approval of people. But the artist would argue that he must win the approval of an audience if he is going to survive as an artist, right? And we convince ourselves that we only gather our audience in order to glorify God. But it’s so easy to be totally convinced that our motives are pure when they are not.

My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 1 Corinthians 4:4

I’m sure most of us have prayed prayers at the side of the stage before a church service or a performance that go something like this: “Lord, it’s ALL for you. It's not for us, God. It’s all for your glory…”.

But is it really?

I discussed this question in a recent interview with legendary Nashville artist manager Mike Smith.

I believe that, if the artist is to minimize the damage of the platform pitfall, they must recognize that they are already affected - that they are already on the slippery side of a steep and deep pit. Rather than trying to "stay pure", we must see that we are not pure and cannot know if we are anyway. Our only hope is God and His grace.

Artists, let’s be honest and real - or to use an Aussie term - let's be fair dinkum. If we are honest with ourselves and are being authentic, we have to admit that we are polluted to some degree. To some extent we are indeed in love with doing things for God. If I am being fair dinkum, I have to admit that my purposes and motives are not yet entirely pure, are not solely for God’s Kingdom at this point.

So considering this, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to pray something like this?

“God, here we are, we are going to step up on a platform that’s a bit higher than everyone else. They are going to put more light on us than everyone else. Peoples’ eyes are going to be on us. If we are going to be fair dinkum, we hope people think we rock, we hope people are marveled by our production, our presentation… we hope people buy our CD’s, our T-Shirts. We hope to be successful in these worldly ways, and we recognized that these hopes and dreams and passions are not pure…. but please use us anyway. Use us despite these impurities.”

“We need to stop convincing ourselves that it’s all for God now. We haven’t arrived. We have not yet been truly transformed. We are still broken. We are still messed up. We are still running this race. We are being filled, but we are not yet completely full of who God is and His grace.”

That would be more fair dinkum.

Watch this 3 min 14 sec vlog here.

This video excerpt was recorded as part of Mike’s online artist management course.
More info from http://michaelsmithandassociates.com

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