© updated 2017 by Lauren Taylor

Old Covenant

2010, Oil on Canvas, 39in x 32in

My strokes are not my own.  The palette knife and paint are mere tools as I am a malleable tool in God’s mighty hand. Revealed on the canvas and displayed in my life, I seek to live out the words of Paul in Colossians 2:2-3:

“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

 

Painting is a form of gratitude for the blessed gift I have received and serves as a platform for interacting and sharing the mystery of Christ with those who encounter my work.  I embark on a journey of inspiration, memory, and revelation when I begin painting.  Control proves to be the root of frustration and disappointment.  Allowing the process of discovery and enlightenment to drive the direction and purpose of each painting, I surrender my desire to control. Seeking wisdom and inspiration from the Word of God as I work, I grow in my relationship with the first artist who created the heavens and the earth.

Each stroke, color, mark, figure, object in my paintings contain a message and are packed with emotion waiting to be discovered by the person willing to dive into Scripture and walk through the door of salvation that heals spiritual blindness.  None can see or understand the Truth who have not yet asked, searched, or knocked at the door of salvation.  Jesus is waiting to unleash His grace, forgiveness, and mercy. 

 

Galatians 3:23 states, “before faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.”  Without a key, a locked door becomes a barrier. Before the new covenant, the door of communication with God was locked.  The world was held prisoners by the law of the Ten Commandments established by Moses and forgiveness for sins called for strict, holy sacrifices to God.  God sent the key of truth to unlock the door of communication between our world and the heavenly realm through sending His one and only Son.  Jesus came to prove that the locked door established by the Old Covenant was no longer a barrier.  Bringing the key of Truth, which is the Word of God, He came into the world “to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind.” In John 20:19, Jesus physically demonstrates this new freedom when he appears to his disciples after His resurrection “when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews.”  A week later, “though the doors were locked, Jesus came [again] and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’”  Faith was revealed through the coming of Jesus Christ, and there is no longer a lock on the door that leads to God.  The lock has been replaced by an invitation found in Matthew 7:7-8: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

 

The door. What is a door? Is it a passageway, an entrance, an exit, an opportunity, a barrier, or a security?  Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”  He meets us where we are. In all our shame, guilt, sin, loneliness, heartache, brokenness.  He comes clothed in light to reveal our sins and to cleanse from all unrighteousness those who surrender their lives to Him.  When we come to the door, we encounter light. Most people do not see the staircase in Old Covenant, 2010 because they are not looking for it.   Congruently, many are not able to see the Truth because they are not seeking it.  When attention is directed to the presence of the illuminated staircase, it is blatantly seen.  Once the truth is exposed, there is no way to hide from it.  For some, it may require standing further at a distance from the painting to see the stairs.  Often it is easier to see the big picture when details are eliminated or we step out of our current circumstance.  Worldly distractions and temptations continuously pollute our minds and sight, blinding us from the light.  Once we see the stairs or our eyes are opened to the truth, the contrast between light and darkness is blatant. 

 

The illuminated staircase on the door reveals the effect of spiritual light when we seek and knock on the door of salvation.  C.H. Spurgeon clearly describes this experience:

“When the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual light and opens our eyes to behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, we behold sin in its true colours, and ourselves in our real position; we see the Most Holy God as He reveals Himself, the plan of mercy as He propounds it, and the world to come as the Word describes it.  Spiritual light has many beams and prismatic colours, but whether they be knowledge, joy, holiness, or life, all are divinely good.”

 

Sin exposed to light either drives us to Christ or away from him.  God is light and there is no darkness in Him.  He sees us in all our sin and darkest places.  Because of His great love for us He offers the gift of spiritual light, wisdom, and salvation to those who are willing to confront their true colors and confess their sins in the presence of the Lord. 

    

I began painting from a mundane photograph taken in Santorini, Greece of a door.  It is a simple image.  In the process of painting, the door metaphorically became Jesus, the passageway to salvation.  The concept of simplicity remained consistent.  The truth is simple; salvation comes down to one prayer.  In order to gain eternal life you must believe in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, confess you are a sinner in need of salvation, and surrender your life to the will of God.  The only way to God is by walking through the door of Christ.  While the image is simple, the act becomes more complex.  As I began painting this straightforward, uncomplicated image of a door, layers of complexities began to unfold as I examined the door more fully.  Seeking meaning, physically applying the paint, harnessing the energy of color, and taking the inevitable risks were just a few components that contributed to the increasing complexity of the process.  In the same way, along the journey to the door of salvation, people acquire layers of life experiences and worldly desires that make the act of giving up control and walking through the door of Christ undoubtedly complex.  Allowing the spiritual light to reveal our true colors in the presence of Christ and choosing to lay our burdens at the cross of Jesus in order to walk into His eternal glory is the ultimate challenge.  While the image is simple, the action is complex, but the reward is indescribable joy.  A finished painting.  An eternal home. “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  

 

The truth is simple. Letting go of control is the struggle. Painting leads me into this battle of pride verses humility and directs my conquest to seek truth and grow in my faith.  I want to carry out my purpose, which God has predetermined.  I have learned that the process of creating a meaningful body of work is more important than the finished product.  Painting is the easy part.  The struggle is attempting to understand how to use this gift to the fullest and to discover who I was created to be and what my purpose is. I can never see the finished painting before I start it.  I do not know what tomorrow holds or the color of my next stroke, therefore, I fix my eyes on Christ and paint from the heart.  I declare the words of Paul in Acts 20:24, 

 

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace”