Love misplaced?

I love Jesus because he first loved me. I feel very moved that despite my sin and failures he loved me enough to lay down his life for me and reconcile me with God our Father.

However I am bothered by one thing. I am very impassioned by the suffering of animals. I also am blessedly gifted with natural and trained drawing skills. I drew for the earlier 30 years of my life in architecture, then fashion. It’s only in the last 3 years that I seem to have really found my calling n love and that is to draw pet portraits professionally.
I do pray for the lost and am concerned that my loved ones do make a choice for Christ. I pray for China. I draw close to Jesus in my ups and downs of life. I also have poor health.
But This I have to ask: Is my passion for animals and my art misplaced? What does the Bible say about my strong inclinations. I could say I have an affinity in esp loving dogs more than people. In general, I am a kind and compassionate person.

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Hi, Priscilla! First I want to say, welcome to Connect! So glad to learn a little about you from your post! I enjoy art, and I dabble in drawing and painting—although I practiced them more when I was younger. I love to see other people’s work, because it is a reflection of the creativity of our Heavenly Father. I am also an animal lover and have something of a small zoo at home :slight_smile:.

As for your question, one thing the Bible makes clear is that God cares for all of creation, animals included. Like with art, someone loving animals is a reflection of our heavenly Father’s love and care for His creation. So it is not wrong or misplaced to love animals or art—unless we prioritize them in a way that dishonors God or His purposes. God and His call on our lives in Christ should always be our first priority and love. Anything we put before God has become an idol in our lives. If how we handle the art that we do begins to contradict God in its themes or messages, then the love or passion for it has become idolatry. It is also an idol if it prevents us from spending time with God in His Word and prayer. In these cases, the passion for these things would be misplaced.

In the case of loving animals and loving people, people can be harder to love because of what they can and sometimes do with their free will. However, we must remember that people were made in the image of God and that Jesus suffered and died for people, even for those who beat him, cursed him, spit on him, rejected him, saying, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” He is our ultimate example of what our heart should be towards our fellow human beings, that they are the priority. However, we cannot will ourselves to love more. The more time we spend with the Lord in His Word and prayer—and in His presence in silence—the more like Him we become, because through doing these things, the Holy Spirit works in us to help us put on the mind of Christ. We also have to be intentional about serving others out of love for the Lord. Through these things and the convictions of the Spirit in different situations we come to, as we surrender in obedience to Christ, we are filled with the love of God, and that changes our hearts towards others. He gives us His heart for others.

Thank you so much for your question, Priscilla @Priscilla. Praying for peace and God’s guidance as you seek to honor Him with your passions for art and animals.

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@psalm151ls what a great response. I could not agree more. @Priscilla it is great to hear of your love for China. I live there and the country sure could use your prayers. Some of my friends are very much involved in rescuing dogs in China. I very much admire them for their work.

This is my answer to everything, but, I encourage you to read a book called Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright to understand what @psalm151ls is talking about,

The whole creation is groaning in the pains of childbirth we learn in Romans 8:22 for the order of things to be put right again, when Jesus returns.

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Hi @Priscilla,

First of all welcome to RZIM Connect.

The short answer: Your love is definitely not misplaced, esp since you have shown that you care for fellow humans as well.

In fact, Prov 12:10a NLT says “The godly care for their animals…”

According to Gen 2, God designed us to tend to the world and all that is in it, including nature, environment and animals! So, it’s very unchristian to not care for everything else besides themselves in this world.

What about God? Mat 6:26 says God cares for them, but yes, He does value you(humans) greater than the animals. Further proof of God’s attention to animals can be found in Deut 22:6, Matt 10:29 and Luke 12:6.

And God calls us to be like Him in all things (Eph 5:1) and learn what pleases Him (including the animals that He cared for, Eph 5:10)

In fact, you can learn and deepen your faith in God thru learning from the animals:

Job 12:7 NIV
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind

Don’t underestimate what God plans to do through your endeavors with animals, you will be a witness and inspire many and be a Christian voice in both the art and animal/pet industry. You could be the winsome path to repentance for many unsuspecting unbelievers who are animal or art lovers.

May God anoints your passion incredibly, @Priscilla . We are so glad to add such wonderful animal-loving artist among our ranks.

Blessings in Christ,
Roy

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