Enthusiasm is necessary when it comes to developing and using talents, but our motives also come into play. We should desire God’s presence more than His blessings and the Gift-giver more than His gifts. Putting Jesus first and growing in our relationship with Him will increase our sensitivity and availability to minister to others.
Creative expression can change like the wind—the purpose, the method, the mood, and even the results. The difference will depend upon what we are going through at the time, or by what we want to accomplish. That’s why we should search our hearts, every now and again, to make sure our motives are still pure. There is nothing wrong with recognition or popularity, but if we are not careful, these things can divert our focus and open ways for pride to creep in. God desires to use our talents and is pleased when our efforts prosper—except when we allow our abilities to take preeminence over Him.
Sussi has a fantastic voice and loves singing for the Lord. There came a time though when she felt compelled to lay her gift aside. She didn’t know for how long, but her desire was to obey the leading of God’s Spirit. Motivational issues seemed the probable cause since Sussi lacked confidence. Consequently, she found her self-esteem in the approval of others through her ability to sing well. Nevertheless, Jesus wanted Sussi to find her worth in Him so that when she sang, it would bring glory to her Maker and minister life to those who listened. She sought counsel from her Pastor concerning the situation and together they agreed it would be advantageous to lay her gift aside for a season.
At first, Sussi didn’t sing at all, not even in the privacy of her own home. However, it wasn’t long before discouragement lingered to the point of mild depression. Praying about this, she realized there was nothing wrong with singing and lifting her voice to God. Singing wasn’t the issue, the need for an audience was. A year passed before she began accepting invitations to sing again, but this experience brought personal growth, along with a pure heart of worship.
Our Christian walk has a lot to do with matters of the heart, which in turn, affect our creative outlets. Jeremiah 17:10 tells us, “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” When our artistic expression pleases the Lord, He will bring the increase. But when we make it about us and what we can gain, we limit our effectiveness on an eternal scale, even if we find success in this life.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)
We see by these verses that God expects works, but they must be done in a godly manner and with a right heart attitude. David cried out in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” This is a prayer that we should pray often, that we might serve the Lord to the best of our abilities.