The Artist’s Fruit of the Spirit

Part 8 in the Series:

The Bezalel Blueprint

By Don Enevoldsen

Bezalel was filled with the Spirit, but that does not imply that he was always staggering around in a drunken state of spiritual ecstasy. Rather he was influenced by the Spirit in all that he did. In understanding what this looks like, the career of Bezalel offers as good an illustration as anyone in the Bible.

The manifestation of the Spirit’s influence is portrayed in the first reference we made to Bezalel.

“I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills.” (Exodus 31:3)

This translation, however, can be a little misleading. In fact, wisdom, understanding, knowledge and all kinds of skills are portrayed here as a result of being filled with the Spirit, not as other entries in a list of things Bezalel was filled with. The New American Standard Version gives a little better sense of this nuance.

“I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship.” (Exodus 31:3 NASB)

In other words, an artist filled with the Spirit will demonstrate wisdom, understanding, knowledge and skill in his or her art.

This makes sense when we consider the reason Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. Near the end of his ministry, he began speaking to his disciples about “another advocate” who would come after he left them. (John 14:16) Many translations call him the Comforter, and that is certainly a part of his work, though advocate is a better description. He would “help” them and be with them forever. He is called the “Spirit of truth.” (verse 17)

A few verses later, Jesus expanded those characteristics. Because we think of the word “advocate” in terms of what Jesus does on our behalf, we often miss the point of what the Spirit does. The word is parakletos. It refers to one who is called to another’s side to aid him, or to plead his cause before a judge. That is the function of Jesus who stands before the Father and pleads our cause. (1 John 2:1)

However, the more general definition of the word is “a helper, succourer, aider, assistant.” Jesus describes the Holy Spirit in this role.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:25-26)

He reiterates this role in the next chapter:

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.” (John 15:26)

The Spirit, then, is not so much an advocate to God on our behalf, but an advocate to us on behalf of Jesus. His primary job is to reveal Jesus to us.

I don’t think I am stretching the point by defining “filled with the Spirit” as being in a state of mind in which we allow the Holy Spirit to constantly keep Jesus and his purpose in our minds as a driving force in life.

For an artist, this means that if you are genuinely filled with the Spirit, your life and your art will portray a godly worldview, as revealed to you by the Holy Spirit in the course of your life. This does not mean that every painting should have a Bible verse on it or that a film is not complete if it lacks a conversion scene following an explanation of how to say the sinner’s prayer. But it does mean that your overall worldview will be in sync with the worldview of God. I don’t mean to imply that your thinking will always be perfect and without flaw, but you will be steadily growing in that direction as you increasingly experience the revelation of Jesus through the Spirit and progressively understand how to apply that revelation to everyday life.

Evidence of the Spirit’s influence in Bezalel’s life was manifested by every aspect of his art, and was indicated by the rest of the characteristics of a godly artist that he exhibited. He had wisdom from listening to the Spirit. He had understanding because he learned from the Spirit. He had knowledge because he studied his craft through the filter of godly wisdom and understanding. He had skills because he devoted his talents to the one who created them. He had creativity because the Spirit was free to inspire him.

To summarize, Bezalel was filled with the Spirit. Therefore he exhibited fruit of a Spirit-influenced life. That fruit dictated the quality and the content of his art. Bezalel was a godly artist, not because he created art devoted to biblical subjects, but because he was a godly man.

Next, Part 9: The Wise Artist

Go to the beginning of the series, The Bezalel Blueprint:  Part 1, The Artist Bezalel

Do you have an additional thought on this subject? Please join the discussion and share your insights.

The Artist’s Fruit of the Spirit
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