How To Use Full of Eyes…And How Not To Use It.

Posted by on Aug 28, 2015 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

 

 

“And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, al the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them…”

– Deuteronomy 4:19

“Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of His might, and because He is strong in power not on is missing.”

– Isaiah 40:26

 

My Intention

In this post, I want to take a few minutes to talk about how I pray that you will “use” the pictures and animations that Full of Eyes creates. Many people believe that art should be fluid, that it should be subjective, that it should speak differently to different people. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that….but that is not my intention with Full of Eyes. I have an agenda, I have an objective purpose for each image I create…and there is a way to “use” a FOE image incorrectly. However, before I dive into that, let me quickly discuss the verses quoted above and explain how they apply to our discussion.

 

What Stars Have To Do With It…

In Deuteronomy 4:19, Moses is warning the people of Israel not to fall into idolatry. YHWH had no visible form when He inaugurated the Mosaic Covenant (unlike when He inaugurated the New Covenant), and so the people were not to attempt to give Him a visible form by creating statues etc. Moses adds to this the warning of verse 19, telling Israel not to lift their eyes to the heavenly bodies and “bow down to them and serve them.”

So right away we see and eye-to-heart pattern that is to be avoided. God’s people are not to see something and then, having seen it, to worship it (either in their hearts or physically by bowing down). Well then, it might seem best never to look at the stars, since we might be tempted to worship their beauty, right? No. See what YHWH says in Isaiah 40:26:

“Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of His might, and because He is strong in power not on is missing.”

Here the Lord commands His people to “lift up your eyes on high and see.” He commands them to do what He warned them not to do in Deuteronomy – with a crucial distinction. They are to see the sun and moon and stars and, in seeing them, be taught something about God (in this case His might and power), and then to worship Him because of what they have been taught.

Do you see the difference? In Deuteronomy the warning is “do not see and worship what you see.” In Isaiah the command is “see and worship because of what you see.” This is the difference between worshiping creation as God or worshiping the God of creation….where the affections of our heart stop upon seeing something determines whether we are idolaters, or faithful worshipers of the one true God.

Now, with that principle established, we turn to the imagery created by Full of Eyes.

 

How Not To Use Full of Eyes Imagery

For FOE, I draw pictures that represent the person and work of Jesus Christ. These are spiritually and emotionally charged scenes that I am attempting to depict, and in doing so there is the danger that people’s emotions would stop at the picture itself. I desperately want to prevent that from happening.

If the emotions of your heart stop with a picture representing Jesus that I (or anyone) have created, then one of two things is happening, the first being preferable to the second:

  • The picture is simply whipping up “good feelings” that are vaguely spiritual, but not anchored down to anything. This is what I would call “emotionalism.” The picture is ultimately just an “espresso shot” for your emotions and hasn’t taught you anything. In a few minutes or hours, the “haze” will be gone and the picture’s effect will be over. I am hoping for more than this.

 

  • The more dangerous result of having the affections of your heart “land” on a picture and not go beyond it is what Moses warns against in Duet.4:19, namely, idolatry. If we ever begin to feel that an image channels or focuses or “draws near” the presence of God in such a way that our relating to the picture is our relating to God….then we have stumbled into an idolatrous posture of the heart. If you find this happening the best course of action is to repent of the act and be forgiven by God’s abundant mercy in Christ and then to avoid such imagery until you can receive it in an Isaiah 40:26 way, which is what I’m going to address next.

 

How To Use Full of Eyes Imagery: Pictures Like Stars

Emotionalism and Idolatry are the two dangers I desperately want to avoid in the creation of imagery for Full of Eyes. But if these pitfalls are present, why work with pictures at all? The answer there is that I want the pictures of Full of Eyes to function in the same capacities that the stars are functioning in Isaiah 40:26, namely, as visual heralds pointing away from themselves to someone else.

Like the pictures from FOE, the stars could simply give someone a vague sense of the grandeur of the universe (emotionalism), or they could move someone to pray to or worship them (idolatry), however what the stars are meant to do is to be witnesses of the Lord’s creative power and infinite strength. When we see the stars with Christian eyes, we learn from them who it is we are to be worshiping….and we learn from them some new sliver of why we are to worship Him.

That is my prayer for the pictures and animations of Full of Eyes. I want them to be visual heralds that teach – in whatever meager way they are able – something true about the One whom we are to worship with all that we are. And the central part of that teaching I want the images to accomplish is to drive the viewer to scripture.

A truth someone learns about the Lord only from a picture will evaporate when they need it most. However, if the picture reminded them of or solidified or drove them to a passage or teaching of scripture, then the picture will have done – in my estimation – lasting good.  That is the heart behind each and every one of my pictures, that they would faithfully represent a scripture-born truth about God in such a way that those who see them would be reminded of, struck by, or driven to His word in a fresh and lasting way. Ultimately, it is in His word that we know Him, and having seen and known Him there we can see and know Him everywhere else, free – I pray – from emotionalism or idolatry.

 

So What?

So what does this mean for you? My hope is that, having read this, you will have a bit clearer idea about how to utilize FOE resources in your own life and in ministry to others. A good exercise might be, when looking at a picture or video about the work of Christ, etc (either by FOE or by any other artist), to not allow yourself to leave that moment until you’ve linked what you see and feel to a passage or teaching of scripture. If you can’t think of a linkable passage, perhaps you can go searching for one….and if one doesn’t exist, then the picture or video should be of little emotional weight (at least as far as teaching you about the Lord goes).

There are other implications and applications, but I won’t take up either of our time right now writing them out. Suffice to say this: Full of Eyes creates pictures that represent Christ and His work not so that people can have emotional “shots in the arm” and not so that people can “see” or “feel close to” or “commune” with Him through them, rather, Full of Eyes creates pictures that represent Christ and His work so that the truths about God revealed in scripture would pierce, move, and haunt hearts in ways they might not have otherwise done.

May our hearts move from these images to the scriptures, and there may we see what an unparalleled God we have in the dying and rising, living and interceding, reigning and soon coming Jesus Christ. Amen.

3 Comments

  1. Jose
    August 28, 2015

    Amen. Wise words of caution and encouragement brother.

    Reply
  2. Philippe Paquette
    August 30, 2015

    FOE, do not worry about the few that may misunderstand your art work.

    What you Produce is most unique and very powerful. You are changing lives by being so Christ-centered (Christocentric).

    Please please, continue what you do for Christ and be bold. As bold and courageous as HE will lead you and your blessed Team by our Blessed God the Holy Spirit.

    FYI, FOE (you) have been named the Artist of the year (2015) on our 13,500 members of G+ Christian Community called CHRISTIANS.

    Go have a look.

    You have armies behind you but more importantly, the Lord leads you guys and we thank HIM for your Vital and Valued Ministry. Be of good courage!!! As HE would say, “Do not fear” or as the vulgar Koine Greek says: “Stop being afraid”. And as I said, be bold 🙂

    Phil

    Reply
    • Full of Eyes
      September 1, 2015

      Phil, These words are extremely encouraging to hear. Thank you for taking the time to share this with me…its an answer to prayer and a reminder that the Lord is at work for HIS name and renown through these attempts to “illustrate His glory” (as Calvin once said). Thank you.

      Reply

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