Self-expression is very highly esteemed in our society. We all want our creative liberties, and we feel jilted if we do not have leave to express them. We just want to let the world know what is inside of us.
There is one little problem with self-expression. Humanity, apart from Christ, is not very pretty. What do you end up with? Just for a small sampling of this, think of the lyrics coming out of mainstream music. You’ve got your hateful rants, tales of heartbreak, an expressed desire to just kick around and have fun, mopey introspection, consuming lust, or an optimistic wish to buy the world a Coke. We end up with a lot of noise, a lot of fluff, and a lot of ugliness, and nobody is better off for it. Not even the self-expressed.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m into the arts. I’m all for people making use of the creative outlets they’re gifted with, and putting out stuff that has their style or flavor on it. But the more I see of it, the more I’m becoming disillusioned with self-expression — specifically the kind of self-expression that demands other people pay attention and respect what you have to say.
As believers, what are we expressing? What do I profit anyone if I release a poem that gives people a glimpse into my soul, and that’s all they walk away with? Do people I have little or no relationship with really need to know my inner turmoil?
I really believe we are called to a higher level of expression, to that of expressing Christ. Does that mean every poem, painting, or song must be explicitly evangelistic? No. Does that mean that we need to incorporate a Bible verse verbatim into every work? Of course not. But that means we are doing more than venting our inner life upon a hapless audience. That means we are the fragrance of Christ to them, speaking His heart, testifying of His beauty, and pointing to Him as a refuge and deliverer. The cry of the forerunner is not, “Look at me!” but, “Behold the Lamb”.
So there’s your random thought for the day…