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Seeds of the Kingdom

Shall I do it?

by Grace Bull

17 February 2014

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“Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.”
Leviticus 19:28, NIV

Have you ever wondered if you might get a tattoo? They used to be a sign of a sailor or of a rebellious, angry person. But nowadays, because it`s fashionable, even Christians sometimes go through the pain of having a tattoo. The tattoo wording might be something like “I love Jesus” but I wonder how Jesus himself feels about that? Are we honouring God by doing something he has told us he doesn`t like? Does it really honour God if we do something he has asked us not to do? In today’s verse God states it as a clear command – “do not put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord

Suppose when I was young my mother had said that she doesn`t like tattoos and asked me to promise I would never get one. It certainly wouldn`t honour her if I went out and got one, even if it said “I love my mum”! She would feel dishonoured and sad that I had deliberately ignored her wishes. She would probably wonder why I didn`t love her enough to make a choice that pleased her, rather than pleasing myself. In the end, she would feel less loved by me, although she herself would still love me.

Jesus said several times – if you love me you will keep my commands (John 14, v 15, 21 and 23). God isn`t blessed if we do something that he doesn`t like, even if we say we`re doing it for him. Even more so when it isn`t necessary, it isn`t saving our life or essential in some other way. It can even put our physical health at risk, and a glance around the average tattoo parlour`s picture choices would clearly show ungodliness.

People sometimes quote the verse that we are “engraved on the palms of his hands” but engrave is a very different word to tattoo. We are indeed engraved on his hands. The scars of the nails in Jesus` hands are the most precious thing in heaven. They will be there through all of eternity, reminding us of just how much he loves us and that he was willing to suffer torture for many hours on the cross as a choice, in order to buy our freedom.

Jesus didn`t have to do that. He chose to do it because he loves us. What sort of choices are you facing today? What choices am I facing? Whatever those choices are, shall we choose to show God that we love him – in the way that means the most to him – by obeying his commands? It`s not always easy, but I`d like to try. Will you join me?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you so much for what those nail scars on your hands mean. Thank you for loving me so much that you suffered pain and distress on the cross to set me free. I`m sorry for the wrong choices I`ve made in my life. Please forgive me. Thank you for washing me clean and giving me a new start. Please give me your Holy Spirit to help me choose the things that please you. Thank you. Amen.

Grace Bull is a member of the Ellel Ministries team, working in course development and the support of Ellel centres worldwide, having previously been a full-time GP (family doctor) for 15 years. Her passion is relationship with God and doing anything that will help other people to find that close relationship too.


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