I recently heard a song that, prior to listening to, I was incredibly eager to hear because I knew the artist. Upon hearing the actual song, though, I was very unpleasantly surprised. I’ll just say that the content of the song was extremely worldly.
After I listened to the song, I just sat there thinking. I wondered, “Where is this person’s heart right now? What is filling it that compels them to make music that is so counter to scripture, so counter to God?” It made me feel terrible. I was literally sick to my stomach in disappointment. I imagine this is how parents feel when their children stray from the path of sanctification.
The same verse kept coming into my mind from Mathew 12:34, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
It is what fills our hearts that eventually overflows onto our tongues. This is what causes us to praise worthless, worldly things in our music; to sing about sex, hate, racism, or selfish endeavors.
It’s not just music, of course, that is affected by our evil hearts and what fills them, it affects everything we do. For writers (for those of us who like to write) for example, when someone becomes consumed with prejudice in their heart, they write terribly evil and racist things down on paper. For filmmakers, they make movies that glorify sex outside the context of marriage, show mind-altering drugs as fun, and show that exerting power of those who are weaker can be rewarding.
So, the point here is that whatever is in our heart will come out in our art! (No rhyme intended).
And this fact reminded me of an old movie my dad had my family watch when we were growing up. It was on an old VHS tape, and it was called The Picture of Dorian Gray.
The whole movie is about this rich guy who is obsessed with himself, so much so that he has an artist make an oil painting of himself on this gigantic and elaborate canvas. At first, it seems like a regular painting, but that soon changes.
Dorian sells his soul so that the picture will age and decay, but that he will not. He exchanges his soul! (What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?)
So, he essentially sells his soul to look young and beautiful forever… but, there’s a catch. It is the painting that assumes the appearance of his soul. So, whatever Dorian does in a given day, good or bad, causes the painting to change in accordance. If he does something evil, the painting becomes more disgusting. If he does something good, the painting becomes more beautiful.
As the movie moves along, Dorian finds himself taking part in all sorts of immoral acts, since he knows that it will have no effect on his now eternally beautiful and perfect body. He eventually becomes so evil that he hires a prostitute, and he even murders another person. (Sadly, the road of evil has no end). Later on, Dorian notices that the painting, which is now a picture of his true soul, has become completely wretched, where even his hands in the painting are covered in the blood of those he murdered (see image).
This made me wonder… what would our souls look like if they were depicted in a painting? Would yours be a grotesque monster? Would its hands be covered in blood? Would its eyes be rotten from the hours of pornography you have viewed? Your mouth rotten from the horrid things you’ve said and the things you’ve sung?
The scary thing is that God sees you for exactly who you are, for what you think, and for what you say, and if you aren’t covered in the blood of Christ, then you can’t be anything more than a monster corrupted by the desires of his flesh.
No matter what we’ve done in our life, if we don’t have Jesus Christ in our hearts, we look like the rotten picture of Dorian Gray.
No one wants to see themselves this way, but this is what we are. Without Christ, we are rotten carcasses on the inside, monsters, carried to and fro by each lust and sinful desire, until we die from the inside out…
But there is hope.
This is where the beauty of the Gospel is evident. Christ is a living water that changes us from the inside out. He heals the rotten flesh that is our soul; moreover, he gives us a soul covered in the blood of His holy Self, an unearned holiness and righteousness results. A well of living water spews out grace and mercy day by day. Joy and purpose are deposited deep within our marrow.
With Christ, we gain salvation. With Him, we are cleansed, and the words that we sing, after we have been saved and have begun the process of sanctification, will slowly but surely become praises to our Father. The words that we write will rejoice in the showers of grace and mercy that we now reside in. The movies we make will have eternal impacts on viewers for generations to come. Our culture will be revived. Freedom will reign. Racism will dissolve. Justice will come. Our creativity will become the vessel by which Jesus Himself works through us.
Oh, what a glorious thought!
So… will you choose today to continue in your rotting carcass of a soul? (Please excuse the graphic example, but it's the closest imagery I can use to paint the condition of our souls.) Or will you ask Christ to cover you in His blood, so that before your Father you can stand cleansed? Today, consider Jesus and what he has done on the Cross. We always put these things off for another time, but the reality is that there may not be another time.