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Art in personal devotion

Reflections on 1 John- A self Portrait (pencil sketch)

The sun streamed through the door of my office, casting shadows across my desk and with a burst of spontaneous creativity I took the opportunity to draw and reflect on what I had been reading in the book of 1 John.

1 John is so rich with teaching on the nature of God, the identity and saving work of Jesus, the reality of sin and both who we are as God’s children and who we are to be. And it contains some immensely powerful verses that naturally lead those of us who are visually inclined to imagine. Verses like…

1 John 1:5 – God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

1 John 5:19 – We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

1 John 4:15-16 – If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.

So as I gazed out of my door, squinting into the sunlight, some of these ideas powerfully came together for me. This is my self-portrait and accompanying blurb in reflection on 1 John:

Isn’t the world a messed up place? Globally, locally and even when I look in the mirror? So often, it’s the imperfections, the shadows that catch our attention and in fact hold us captive. That is unless you are looking at the light. And I don’t mean the sun or the stars or the angels or a light – I mean the one who is light. Get a glimpse of his glory and your world is forever changed. Bathe in his light and darkness fades. Believe in his truth and hope is certain. You may see a woman caged in shadows – but I, the woman, see a God in whom all shadows are destroyed.

By Jenny Hanslow


1 John is the focus of the “The Creative Space” this month for young people (ages 13-25). If you are young and creative, check out the following link for ideas on how you can read God’s word in creative ways. We would love to see what you have created in reflection on the book of 1 John. https://www.zenosmedia.com/thecreativespace/

If you art interested in having a speaker come to your church or youth group to run a workshop on the use of visual arts in personal devotions, stay tuned for the details in our ‘Art in August’ campaign.


All Scriptures taken from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.