Welcome to episode 10 of The Kingdom Art Life.
As I’ve talked to artists of faith in different conversations, two of the questions that often come up are, one, how do I know what the Lord wants me to do in my career? There’s this anxiety about am I doing the right thing. And the other question is a more intimate question that I hear inside of what artists say; and it’s a question that we all face at some point, and have to answer for ourselves.
That question is Do I believe that God’s way will lead me to where I want to get to in my career? Today, I want to answer the second question first because if you don’t, first, believe that God’s way is going to get you where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter what He says to you or how He leads you.
It doesn’t matter whether you know it’s Him talking to you.
It doesn’t even matter if you know that what He’s telling you is the right thing to do.
If you don’t trust that what He’s directing you to do will get you what you want in your career, you won’t do it.
Think about it. We see and commit social injustices against each other in every sphere of society on a daily basis. And we know the right thing to do. But we don’t. Why? Because we do not believe that that thing we know is right is going to get us what we’re after. Nor do we believe that it’s going to allow us to keep the thing we’ve finally gotten, that we really wanted.
We don’t just want to do the right thing. That carries no motivation for us. We will do the right thing as long as it still gets us what we want, and as long as it still allows us to keep what we hold dear.
Think about your own life and choices. How many times has God led you to do something that you didn’t do. Why didn’t you do it?
If you were convinced that His leading was still going to get you what you were after, you would have done it with no hesitation.
But you were not convinced of that.
So, you didn’t do it.
Or, maybe it’s just me that had to confront that harsh reality about myself. So, let’s look at this.
Do you believe that God’s way will get you to where you want to be in your career?
In this podcast we talk about harmony. And harmony is about oneness of mind.
And how can you have that?
How can you be settled and stand flat-footed in full acceptance if you, as a Christian with a secular art career, are not convinced that the God of your Christianity can lead you into your career’s promised land?
As people of faith, there are two critical questions that we encounter. One is finite. The other is perpetual and persistent and constant.
The first question is are you going to live this life with me or not. That is the question of salvation. Jesus says I died on the cross and I rose again and I’ve made this victorious life available to you. I’ve made it possible for you and I to be back in relationship with each other. Do you want it; yes or no?
There’s an immediate response to that. You either receive salvation or you don’t. And once that choice is made, you’re either saved or you’re not. Finite.
The other question is perpetual and it persists throughout the life of your faith walk. In fact, it is the life of your faith walk. And that question is whose report will you believe? Matthew 6:24 says it this way: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon.
In John 14:23 Jesus says “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine but the father who sent me.
So, let’s look at this together.
Matthew 6:24 says you cannot serve two masters for either you’re going to hate the one and love the other. And by John 14:23 we understand that part of love is to keep the word of God. So are you going to do what I’m telling you to do, or are you going to do what they’re telling you to do; because you can’t serve two masters.
You cannot be led and influenced by two people. Let’s apply this to our career.
God is asking this:
Are you going to get connected to that director you’ve always wanted to work with by the way I’m leading you, or are you going to do it by the means you see everyone else doing it?
Are you going to go to those contract negotiations and say what I told you to say or are you going to follow the advice of your agent?
Are you going to say no to that project, like I told you to do; or are you going to say yes to that project because everyone else is telling you that your career won’t survive if you say no?
Are you going to make that phone call to the studio owner, like I told you to do; or are you not going to do it because of your own mind? You don’t understand how it would be possible for them to actually say yes to what I told you to ask them.
Whose report will you believe?
Guys, this is faith coming off the pages, out of our heads, into our everyday life.
I was talking to a group of ladies who I’m leading through a KAI intensive in New York. This past week we were talking about the same idea of trust and I led them through a series of questions. The first question that I had them answer for themselves was, what does it mean to trust someone?
One of the ladies said it was about fully believing the other person has your best interest at heart, and about having the confidence that you could put your life in their hands and be safe.
So I asked her do you believe that God has your best interest at heart?
She smiled. and she said, yes.
Then I asked her do you trust that your life is safe in God’s hands?
She smiled, again, and she said, yes.
Then I asked her if that’s the case, then why is it still so difficult for you to trust him with your career, to fully put your career in His hands and allow your career to be fully led and directed by Him?
And again she smiled, but this time with one of those DANG faces.
She had to pause and think about that one. And we all have to pause and think about this.
Because these are the things that we say.
These are the things that come out of our mouths.
Yes, I love God!
Ok. But, we saw what the bible says about loving God and what that looks like.
And we say yes I trust God!
And in the sharing of this conversation with you that I had with this sister, saying we trust God and walking in trust are two different things.
So the question, again, that were pondering is do we believe that doing it God’s way will get us to the place that we’re trying to go and our career life?
But, this is not only a question of destination.
This is also a question of quality and of experience.
If I do this God’s way, what is my experience going to be like?
Am I going to have to look stupid?
Am I going to have to do embarrassing things?
Am I going to have to do weird and bizarre things in front of everybody; because I don’t really know if I can do that.
And what am I going to have to go through?
Are you going to ask me to do uncomfortable things and look silly in front of people?
These are real concerns. And they’re ones that I, myself, have to confront. The Lord led me to quit my job recently; and even today, it’s a trust walk for me. The other day my father asked me did you even think about this decision before you made it? I’m doing what the Lord told me to do, and He’s asking me if I even thought about before I did it.
Having to look like you are irresponsible, naive, unfocused, or just flat-out disillusioned in front of people… that’s hard. And I imagine Jesus had to go through the same thing when he was talking all of that yim yam about my dad is going to raise me up in 3 days, and you can’t kill me I give my life. I mean he was talking a lot of mess. A lot of stuff.
And we see in the Garden of Gethsemane that even He had to confront this question.
And He had to make a decision about it before he could actually move forward.
Do I believe God that what you’re telling me to do is actually going to pay off?
Is it actually going to end up like you showed me and like you promised me?
Then there’s the question of quality.
When I get there what am I going to look like? What state of being will I be in?
Will I have gotten there and lost everything in the process; where I’m barely drag myself over the finish line? Am I going to get there but my spirit is so broken because of all the things I had to lose, all the people I had to give up doing it your way?
What quality will my being be in – getting there your way?
This, again, is another good question and another real concern. So, I want to encourage you about the quality issue through Daniel’s account with King Nebuchadnezzar.
In Daniel 1, we see the account where King Nebuchadnezzar takes control of Judah and he wants some young men whom he wants to raise up to serve under him. He tells one of his guys to go and get some of the children of Israel, some of the king’s descendants, and some of the nobles. The bible says that these were young men without blemish. They were good looking, they were gifted in all wisdom, they had knowledge, and they were quick to understand. The king wanted to take these boys and teach them the language and the literature of the Chaldeans. Basically, he wanted to indoctrinate them in the way of the Chaldeans living and thinking.
Now, the children of Israel, God’s people, are among some of these young men that are brought to be indoctrinated in the Chaldean way. It also says that the king set them up with daily provisions of food and wine and had training for them. So, for these young men, serving under the king for these young men was essentially living the life.
But in that group you had four young men of Israel: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Daniel makes the decision that he and the other three are going to follow God’s way instead of the Chaldeans’ as much as they can. The Bible says that Daniel purposes in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s delicacies or his wine. Daniel goes to share his decision with one of the chief eunuch’s, and the chief basically says listen, I appreciate your conviction. But I’m scared of the king, I don’t think this is going to work, and I can’t present you to the king looking worse than all the other boys.
So, Daniel says ok, you guys eat what you’re going to eat; but feed us vegetables and give us water. We’re going to do it God’s way. And in 10 days, test us and we will see who looks better.
The four men of Israel are going to do it God’s way and while all the other men are doing it the Chaldean way; and in 10 days there will be a comparison to see who comes out better.
At the end of the 10 days, verse 19 says that the king interviews the four of them and, among all the boys, none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Nobody looked like them.
It says, “therefore they served before the king, and in all matters of understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in his room.”
And later we find out that Daniel continues to do it God’s way, so much so that it leads to the king promoting him and making him ruler over the whole province of Babylon.
This is in Babylon. These people do not serve Jehovah.
This is over all the other young men who are learning and participating in the Chaldean way.
This is over all the other magicians and wise men.
Out of all of them, it was Daniel who was made ruler over all the province of Babylon and he was also made the chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon… because he determined to do things God’s way.
He came out looking better.
There was nobody in Babylon found like him or like the four of them.
So, my question for you to ponder this week with God is:
Whose report will you believe?
Whose way will you follow?
Who’s going to lead you into the promised land of your career?
Is it going to be you and your own understanding and education?
Is it going to be other people whose examples you’re trying to follow?
Is it going to be your agent, you’re a manager, or is it going to be the Spirit of God.
What would a final settling of this question, and a commitment to the answer change for you?
What is the nagging hesitation that keeps you from going all-in?