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Updated: Sep 22, 2020

By André Nelson

In my limited experience, there is no feeling so associated with the Holy Spirit as a lack of control. My approach, as an artist, has gradually moved towards having less control while painting, allowing the final image to emerge from a series of serendipitous “accidents,” with a life that I have not deliberately given it. This change has accompanied a growing awareness of the Spirit’s influence on my work, not only in developing the gift I believe God has given me, but even in orchestrating the actual outcome of my artistic efforts.

This is not to say that my artwork is an accident. Indeed, my paintings take a great deal of thought and pointed effort. That being said, they are made special by qualities far beyond my control. “Grow Where You Are Planted” is a fine example. The subtleties of shape and color in the sky-blue background, plus the crisp and effectively random “leaves” in the tree, could not have been planned; they are the result of the medium, watercolor, which is characteristically loose and uncontrollable.

Trusting my painting not to end up looking like third-grade refrigerator material doesn’t come naturally, nor does releasing control to the Holy Spirit in the rest of life. But it wouldn’t be worthwhile to exert control over my work because the result would be unsatisfying. It would be the fruit of my efforts alone, and without that special quality the Spirit brings to endeavors which yield to Him, it would be lifeless. I find the same goes in the day-to-day of life; as I try to micromanage my world and my circumstances, I also begin to feel lifeless, but when I yield myself to God, He prompts me to do the unexpected and impossible. Unsurprising, that the presence of the living God would engender such vitality.

“Grow Where You Are Planted” is evidence of God first gifting me with artistic talent and then going a step further to bestow an artistic beauty that cannot be commanded. As a mere sapling, made in the image of the towering Father, I divert all praise to Him.

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