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Are You A
Snap-Shot Christian?

Always Remember Jesus
Samuel Tolbert

Over the years I have noticed the many similarities within photography that parallel victorious Christian living. Though the first part of this article may be a bit technical for some, I want to urge you to press through to the main point which will tie in these allegorical photographic insights. I pray, as you read, that you will be challenged to make the decision to press in deeper to what He has provided, and who knows, you may also improve your photography skills just a bit as well. ;-)

Many times after viewing a great photo, people will inquire regarding the type of camera the photographer used, figuring if they buy the same exact camera they will get the very same results. Of course, this type of reasoning is simply just not true. You see, cameras don’t make great images, people do. A camera is really only a machine that will record an image, any image of what ever and where ever it is applied to.

There are great photographic images that touch your emotions and grab your attention, pulling you through the inner reaches of their content to explore the many facets of the beauty that’s been captured, and then there are snap-shots. Anyone can take a snap-shot, just aim the camera and press the shutter release button.

However, to capture a stellar image, one must first be where the image is rendering itself in the best light. They must also have developed an artistic eye to frame the image creatively, knowing what to include and what to exclude as well as selecting the proper angle or vantage point from where best to make the capture.

They must also know the boundaries and limitations of the camera they are using, as well as having the proper knowledge on how to select the right aperture, for the correct depth of field, the right ISO (to keep the noise or graininess at bay while still enhancing the sensitivity of the sensor) and the correct shutter speed.

It is also imperative to have a working knowledge of what f-stop range your lens will render the sharpest image. Most lenses are soft wide open and are also prone to diffraction (the bending of light) which also causes softness at the smaller aperture range. So one must know where that sweet spot is in the middle of this range, to achieve a truly crisp image. One must also note that smaller apertures produce greater depth of field, the range from that which is closest to that which is farthest that is still in focus within your image. So having an understanding of these factors will help the photographer select the right settings which the image demands.

It is also helpful to have an understanding of color saturation and how it is affected by exposure compensation and when to underexpose so as to get the color saturation just right. One must also understand color temperature regarding artificial light, sunlight and how daylight changes in color temperature throughout the day. With this in mind, they must have a working knowledge on how to set the white balance as well as color saturation within the camera.

Do you want to blur the subject, as in a waterfall or stream, to reflect motion? Or do you want to freeze the subject motion to show detail? Your knowledge of shutter speed will determine this. But again, learning how to see creatively, developing an artistic eye is a major key coupled together with the understanding of your camera’s functions that produce images that catch the eye and touch our emotions.

It’s similar within the Body of Christ. Many believer’s are content to be just snap-shot Christians, but deep within their hearts they’re not really happy with the results of the image they have developed. They’ve learned how to navigate within the basics of point and shoot faith, but don’t really want to put forth the extra effort to move into the more advanced menus within the Word of God that will bring forth the multifaceted image of the blessing and the vividness and saturation of His grace.

During our Easter musical this last year, there was a woman sitting right behind me with a small digital point and shoot camera. She would take a picture of the drama within the musical and then show me the image, obviously pleased with how wonderful they were. In actuality, the images were highly washed out, rather dull and lifeless. But to her they were stellar. I asked her if she would allow me to take a couple of pictures with her camera. She obliged.

The first thing I did was to turn the flash off. I then took the camera off the automatic setting, switching it to shutter priority mode and experimented with underexposing a few images in different increments until I found which setting caused the colors of the stage lights and costumes to really pop. I braced the camera on the top of the pew to eliminate vibration and shake and proceeded to capture a couple of really nice shots. I then handed the camera back to her and asked her to take a look at these images and see how they differed from her own.

She was shocked and greatly amazed that her camera was actually able to perform at this level. After the service she wanted to know how I was able to get those images to look like that! She then told me she has had the camera for a couple of years and uses it often but has never been able to get the results that I did within those few couple of minutes. I tried to explain it to her, but I could tell she really wasn’t interested in all the details. She really just wanted a quick and easy setting to switch to, so she could just continue doing what she was familiar with. As I was explaining what I had changed, she stopped me in mid sentence and told me it all sounded way too complicated and just walked away. In an instant, she had made a conscious decision to settle for those snap-shot images she’s been used to and would just continue doing the same old thing while all along desiring different results.

Unfortunately, that’s the way some Christians are regarding their walk of faith. They want the stellar spiritual results they’ve seen in others and have heard about, but don’t want to embrace the discipline to obtain it. There’s only one way to bring spiritual change into our lives; we’ve got to decide to set time aside every day to get into the Word and into His presence through praise, worship and prayer. It must become a daily endeavor and it’s got to become a non-negotiable exercise that we will refuse to compromise.

We need to finally come to the realization that it’s in that place of His presence, sitting at His feet, within His presence that brings about the manifestation of where the colors of the blessing of life begin to pop! Galatians 6:8 reminds us: “For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” When we sow to the Spirit we will reap His everlasting, ongoing, life and the multifaceted and immensely colorful benefits that have no end. It’s a spiritual law. His life is the fullness of life, and is meant to be experienced in the here and now. It’s the abundant life of Christ, that rich and victorious life, that He intends for us to experience and enjoy. It’s the cry of every Christians heart, the cry of the Spirit within that desires to develop the image that we’ve been predestined for!

When we begin to grow and mature in His grace, sowing to the Spirit by daily feeding on the Word, feeding on His presence, the fear and insecurity that blur our self image, that causes us to see only a bland and lifeless, dull tomorrow, will give way to a new and exciting image of success and victory. Church, there’s more, way more that’s been made available to us! Don’t just settle for being a snap-shot Christian. Allow the Lord to begin to show you how to take your life off of the automatic setting and move into the rich saturated, colorful areas of His abundant life that He has ordained for you! Yes, there’s a slight learning curve, but the results are simply stunning!

Dan Downey
All Rights Reserved (c)
Dan Downey 2013

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