What is this inspired art thing?

That's not even in the Bible, is it?

 

What is Inspired (a.k.a. "Prophetic Art") Art?

"What on earth is "prophetic art?" you may wonder.  I have to admit the word prophetic is probably over used to describe the things of God. Prophecy involves a number of things but it isn't necessarily that everything is "prophetic" as in understanding prophecy as an uttered word from God.   I use the term loosely (and I think it is probably used loosely) to describe the process of working with the Spirit of God in doing whatever I am doing just as Jesus did.  

For me, my original design with God was to be a particular (or peculiar depending on your perspective) kind of creative.  I enjoy painting, writing, designing, and creating things.  I also am built to be a creative problem solver. On my own, all of this looks like it would for the world.  It would be based on my own design choices, training, inspiration, and natural skill. With God though, things turn upside down and on their ear. To be a creative in a prophetic way means to be focused on the design plan of God which means humbling myself to His will and His creative process over my own in my flesh and natural skill set. In this case, it's an anointing; an "outpouring of His Spirit" if you will.   It also means the output comes by both His power and in His rest.  While God most assuredly gave me my "natural" skills, they are for His use, not my own.  In this way, we partner together in the Mind of Christ with the Heart of the Father through His Holy Spirit.  

Is There a Biblical Basis for "Prophetic Art" or "Inspired Creativity"?

Yes, there is!  Many Christians believe that the Bible is "inspired."  That means, the individual doing the writing was inspired by God to write God's words down.  Let's take Moses.  Tradition holds Moses met face-to-face (or literally perhaps mouth-to-mouth) with God as the Word of God states.  Numbers 12:18 (AMP) reports:

“With him I speak mouth to mouth [directly],
Clearly and openly and not in riddles;
And he beholds the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?”[1]

We know in this case, the Law of Moses and the activity of Moses with the people Israel was primarily based on mouth-to-mouth (or face-to-face) discourse between God and Moses.  Moses even beheld the "form of the Lord!"  In this case, God is making a distinguishing remark.  He speaks directly to Moses but to others He speaks in riddles.  But my point here is largely God spoke to Moses and God inspires.  Prophets are probably our biggest source of information as far as recording the words of God.  We know writing can be "inspired" by the Spirit of the Lord.  This type of inspiration is the biggest and only distinction.  It's who is inspiring; that is the Lord must be the initiator of inspiration to the person much like a prophet lived in Old Testament times of Israel (and before as we know others walked with God too).

But does that answer our issue with creativity?  Not yet, but inspired creativity as I partake is best seen in Exodus 31.

Exodus 31

In examining Exodus 31 we see the story about God giving Bezalel His Spirit to build things for the Tabernacle. The Holy Spirit gifted this man with wisdom, understanding, knowledge and skill to do a variety of crafts (Exodus 31: 2-3, NLT).  Who says men don't do crafts, eh?  The point is, this man was to be involved in constructing the congregation tent and furnishings (e.g. the Tabernacle) (see Exodus 31:5) and He was fully equipped by the Spirit to do so. The Lord then appointed another man named Oholiab to assist Bezalel (see Exodus 31:6).  Now, what is exceptionally cool is the Lord then gifted all of the artisans with the skills that were needed to make everything that needed to be built according to God's instructions (see Exodus 31: 6-7).  I have found this to be particularly important on a number of levels.  First, God had a plan and within that plan God also had a specific blueprint for this particular request.  God shared both with Moses. 

 

Then God gifted people with what they needed to fulfill the plan and the blueprint right down to the smallest little jot and tittle.  God chose the lead guy and his assistant. And at least in Bezalel's case, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord (see Exodus 31:3).

Now, we know God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow  (Hebrews 13:8) so this process is not outdated or confined to the Old Testament. It is actually how Jesus operated and is consistent with God's character and nature from Genesis forward.  He did what He saw the Father doing (John 5:19).  We also know He didn't do anything on His own initiative (John 8:28). Jesus demonstrated a lifestyle 100% devoted to the worship of the Father and a life fully submitted to the point He was like a mirror. He reported what the Father did, He did as well (John 5:19).  He did this with the Holy Spirit too.  In fact, to see Jesus was to see the Father (John 14:9)

We are all supposed to live like Jesus (1 John 2:5-6).  In fact, Jesus even talks about this principle briefly 3 verses down from John 14:9 at John 14:12 (AMP) bolded emphasis added by me:

"I assure you and most solemnly say to you, anyone who believes in Me [as Savior] will also do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these [in extent and outreach], because I am going to the Father."[2]

How Does it Work?

We know all things with God work by faith so you have to have some faith first.  Unbelief in the gifts of God sufficiently creates a relational AND power vacuum.  Unbelief (or a lack of faith) is both quenching of the Holy Spirit and grievous to the Holy Spirit.  Faith is our first ingredient. If you don't believe God is still active gift wise and He has something to say to you or ask you to do, you're already in trouble with unbelief.

A growing relationship of intimacy and fellowship is the ongoing water.  This looks many different ways depending on the gifted strengths of the believer.  People who love the Word are often found reading it all the time. People who love worship or prayer, are often doing those things too and also meet God.  A growing level of intimacy and learning to discern the leading of the Spirit is key.

How does being creative with God work?  The same way it is demonstrated in the written Word.  God has the plan.  God has the blueprint. God will gift it out and be the power behind it all so it is all followed. Probably the most significant difference is that everyone is a Bezalel - filled with the Spirit of the Lord (See Acts 2).  Now we are able, because of the sacrifice of Christ, to be like Him and to commune and follow the Father in like manner.[3]  We now have that connection restored so those who believe and have His Spirit, are able to do things with Him with a right heart instead of just for Him. This is what it is like for me.  I pray and draw near to God.  It is written to "Be still and know He is God" (Psalm 46:10, NLT).  He reveals some of His plan (or whatever He wants). He reveals some of the blueprint.  Then we do it together in fellowship guided by His Spirit and vision.  It starts all over again while all along He is teaching me to love Him, be like Him, and love everyone else in like manner. It is called being "Spirit-Led."  As a result, I get to create with the Creator.  Who cares what the world says about it all! It's just fun to do what He is doing and thus, that is what Zayin Hope is all about - glorifying the Father through being creative and doing creativity in fellowship with Him and through Him.

"Prophetic" art and creativity are only one aspect of God although His creativity is simply found anywhere and everywhere when we open our eyes. Whether it's nature, music, or math, God can be found in it having a dilly of a time being creative.  After all, Elohim means Creator/Judge and is a "face" of God pointed out in the Word of God through His name (see Genesis 1 and 2).  We only need to decide to be in fellowship and to be humble forgoing our own way and our understanding and pick up His (like picking up your cross!).  

7 Mountain Prophecy & Creating Culture

The 7 Mountain Prophecy is a particular prophecy the ministry of Johnny and Elizabeth Enlow cultivate.  In addition to the Enlows, several others also promote the 7 Mountains of Culture including Lance Wallnau and in other language Gabe Lyons.  The basic premise of the prophecy is about how to positively impact culture in every sphere of our lives through the demonstrated love and action of a believer.  The prophecy tends to counter some theology that divides spheres of life.  For instance, church is for church time and all ministry usually happens within church.  In fact, the ministry of the believer is only on Sunday's for a few hours.  The 7 Mountains discuss how a believer impacts every sphere of society just by being a believer.  The 7 Mountains is the prophecy I was introduced to through a local ministry I was involved with for a number of years.  From that point, the Holy Spirit would discuss issues around my own work using this type of framework.[4]  There is also another stream through the work of Gabe Lyons.  He is the co-author of "Unchristian" [written with David Kinnaman] and the author of "The Next Christians."  The Enlows and Lance Wallnau are on the prophetic side of the church.  Gabe Lyons is the founder of the Q which is a learning community that discusses similar issues around culture.

These two streams have had direct impact acting as both instruction and in so many ways confirmation of what I hear directly in my own prayer and research time.  From them I've found help in realizing the God-dream for me in both my art and writing.  I'm a legacy retriever and builder as much as I am a bridge builder and peacemaker.  


 
Citations & Notation:
[1] Contextually speaking this section covers an issue between Moses, Miriam, and Aaron where Miriam and Aaron are grumbling about Moses taking a Cushite woman as a wife.  The Lord calls them all to the tent of meeting to deal with the issue.  It is as God is speaking with them we discover this section of the dialogue.  In this dialogue we discover a few more things about God and His relationships with these three people. 
[2] In no way do I suggest someone can build an entire doctrine off of one line of Scripture.  However, it is hard to escape this statement in how believers live their lives.
 
[3] You may ask, "How do you know it's God you hear?"  First, the Spirit of the Lord lines up with what is already revealed in the written word.  In the Bible we receive glimpses of His nature and character.  God is always moving us to look like Him so it benefits us to know the written word of God.  He speaks through it and it's a wonderful way to get to know His rhema voice.  Other ways God may speak are through dreams and visions.  I fundamentally believe it's faith that acts like the bridge in discernment.  God is redemptive, and it's important to understand Christ came to save the world.  The second coming is the one about judging the world.  With that said, discernment is actually learned over time when you seek Him and participate in a living community that is very much like the book of Acts.  I personally have multiple years of listening, testing, and being in prophetic fellowships for training, equipping and more.  
[4] There are a number of people who promote this type of framework about how Christianity can positively impact culture.  Please check out www.lancewallnau.com and the ministry of Johnny and Elizabeth Enlow at www.restore7.org.  See also Gabe Lyons' Q Ideas Community