Jump to content






Photo
- - - - -

My First Tattoo

Posted by Mel Hendrickson , 11 October 2011 · 2031 views

I'm really close to getting my first tattoo. I've known what I've wanted for several years, but didn't want to jump too quickly into a permanent inking to my body! But hopefully soon I will be able to read the words, "On earth as it is in heaven," on my arm. It has become my life mantra. No, more than my life mantra, these words from Jesus have shaped the choices I make on a daily basis. And when it comes to my role in global work, these words deeply drive my prayer, motivation, focus, and leadership decisions.

When I think about heaven, the following are a few of the many words & images that come to mind: Jesus, all nations, peace, worship, redemption, no hunger, no pain, no disease or sickness, no prejudices, and forever. When Jesus instructed His disciples to pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, He was revealing a piece of His heart - His yearning that this planet and its people (His people) would return to their original "good," the way it was always created to be.

So I have committed my life to embracing my unique role in making my corners of the world more like heaven. To be honest, I'm terrible at it alone; but thankfully Jesus has given me everything I need to follow Him, and He has also provided a community of people around me with whom I enjoy the journey. Together we seek to find pockets of our world that need a little more proof of the hope of heaven.

God's call on my life to fight for "on earth as it is in heaven" has taken me to many countries, of which our church family now strategically focuses on just a few. We seek to humbly partner with the long-term work already happening in these countries, longing to model the mission of Jesus Himself amongst the nations. So I'll challenge you with some of the same questions I ask myself on a regular basis... Where do you find time to serve the sick? How do you reach out to those displaced or disenfranchised? How does your life prove that you care about orphans & widows? What role are you fulfilling in sharing the truth and grace of Jesus with those who have the least chance to hear about Him?

I'd love to hear your comments about how you and your church family are living out Jesus' prayer, seeing His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

Love, Mel

P.S. As soon as I get my tattoo, I'll be sure to let you all know!!




Photo
Charlotte Gunther
Oct 16 2011 11:13 AM
Will such marking make you godly? Didn't God instruct us not to mark our bodies?
Charlotte
  • Report
Photo
Robert Sanford
Oct 17 2011 05:20 AM
Thanks Mel, I am still thinking of the many ways I can live that phrase. But, to be honest, I could not get to your excellent questions. I was stopped by the sentence "To be honest, I am terrible at it alone." I'm thinking most of us, even myself would agree with you. Yet, our choices feed alone. So I think this is where I will start. You are not alone!

Bob

P.S. Can you download pics on MyCMA? Love to see the art.
  • Report
Photo
Laurie Collett
Oct 20 2011 01:54 PM
Dear Mel, I appreciate and admire your enthusiasm for living your life for Jesus so that His will can be done on earth as it is in heaven; I just don't agree that a tattoo is an ideal way to adhere to that plan.

Leviticus 19:28 says Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

True, this was OT law and we have NT liberty, but to me it would seem to be defiling the temple, no matter how noble the sentiment in the tattoo. He designed and created us in His own image, and although we need to maintain our bodies through health practices, hygiene, and esthetics, any permanent change would seem to say that His design was lacking and needed embellishment.

There may also be practical reasons not to have a tattoo (apart from health risks). If you were to be a missionary to the Middle East or elsewhere that you had to enter through another occupation, your tattoo could reveal your evangelical agenda and could close doors. A less extreme example would be that it might make it difficult to befriend or start casual conversations with nonbelievers, that could ultimately lead to witnessing and even to their salvation, because their guard went up when they saw the tattoo.

Then there is always the risk that it will be misinterpreted -- "on earth as it is in heaven" inked on your arm could lead someone to think that you don't believe you're going to get a glorified body one day, and that you're content with what you have now.

I love wearing T-shirts with Bible verses on them, and sometimes they can be conversation starters, but I'm glad I have the option of changing clothes!

But I wholeheartedly agree that we should honor Him in all that we do, whether it be a formal ministry, witnessing, worshipping, our occupation, menial labor. I wrote a blog post on that recently, God Notices Your Labor!:

http://savedbygraceb...your-labor.html

We can't do anything without Him, but with Him, all things are possible!

Love in Christ,

Laurie Collett, Saved by Grace
http://savedbygraceb...y.blogspot.com/
  • Report
Our bodies are already beautifully and wonderfully made! Just make sure that our Lord has made that imprint on your heart.
  • Report
Photo
Paul W Coleman
Oct 25 2011 10:27 AM
Hi Mel,
It's been a while since your post on October 11, but I thought might add a comment to the discussion with regard to the passage in Leviticus 19:28. What follows is from my blog "Biblegems for Friendship," which answers reader's questions about Bible topics. You can find it at www.biblegems-pastorcoleman.blogspot.com

This is from Biblegems #39, The Bible & Tatoos:

There is only one verse in all of Scripture which specifically addresses the practice of tattooing. The Lord says in Leviticus 19:28, Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD. As always, context here is very instructive. Equally instructive is the lack of other teaching in Scripture concerning this practice. It is always unwise to build a doctrine on the strength of one verse.

For the context, we must begin with the verse itself. Unlike the ten commandments which give unconditional instructions and prohibitions, the proscription against tattooing in Leviticus 19:28 has to do with marking or cutting the body as part of a spiritual ritual in memory of someone who has died. This was a very common practice, along with cutting one’s flesh as an emotional expression of grief.1 God’s instruction to the Israelites was designed to set them apart from the way the cultures around them either abused their bodies or decorated their bodies as a way of remembering loved ones who had died. God’s people were to be different, using their bodies to glorify God rather than memorialize the dead (see Lev. 21:11; 22: 4; Num. 5: 2; 9: 6, 7, 10; 6: 6; Deut. 14: 1).

The command against tattooing is actually just one of many examples given in Leviticus 19 of ways in which the people of God are to set themselves apart from the ungodly cultures around them. God’s Word to His people is be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy (Lev. 19:2).

This is the true message to God’s people for all time: Be like God, not like the rest of the world—in this case, in the way you treat your body. As Paul says in Romans 12:1, Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

The question for the believer today, as it has always been, is one of holiness: Will tattooing your body set you apart as a child of God or identify you more with the ungodly of the culture in which you live? Will tattooing your body be holy and pleasing to God—a spiritual act of worship?

Ultimately, this becomes a very personal matter between the believer and God. Leviticus 19:28 provides an example from everyday life in ancient Israel on how to treat your body in a way holy and pleasing to God that would mark you as a believer. Every generation has its own challenges in how to live as God’s children in the world without being mistaken for being just like the rest of the world.

Personal holiness is the response of an obedient heart lived out in the actions of an obedient life.

1 Commentary on the Old Testament, electronic version, by C.F. Keik & F. Delitzsch, Hendrikson Publishers, 2006. In loc.
  • Report
Photo
Laurie Collett
Oct 27 2011 07:33 PM

Hi Mel,
It's been a while since your post on October 11, but I thought might add a comment to the discussion with regard to the passage in Leviticus 19:28. What follows is from my blog "Biblegems for Friendship," which answers reader's questions about Bible topics. You can find it at www.biblegems-pastorcoleman.blogspot.com

This is from Biblegems #39, The Bible & Tatoos:

There is only one verse in all of Scripture which specifically addresses the practice of tattooing. The Lord says in Leviticus 19:28, Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD. As always, context here is very instructive. Equally instructive is the lack of other teaching in Scripture concerning this practice. It is always unwise to build a doctrine on the strength of one verse.

For the context, we must begin with the verse itself. Unlike the ten commandments which give unconditional instructions and prohibitions, the proscription against tattooing in Leviticus 19:28 has to do with marking or cutting the body as part of a spiritual ritual in memory of someone who has died. This was a very common practice, along with cutting one’s flesh as an emotional expression of grief.1 God’s instruction to the Israelites was designed to set them apart from the way the cultures around them either abused their bodies or decorated their bodies as a way of remembering loved ones who had died. God’s people were to be different, using their bodies to glorify God rather than memorialize the dead (see Lev. 21:11; 22: 4; Num. 5: 2; 9: 6, 7, 10; 6: 6; Deut. 14: 1).

The command against tattooing is actually just one of many examples given in Leviticus 19 of ways in which the people of God are to set themselves apart from the ungodly cultures around them. God’s Word to His people is be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy (Lev. 19:2).

This is the true message to God’s people for all time: Be like God, not like the rest of the world—in this case, in the way you treat your body. As Paul says in Romans 12:1, Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

The question for the believer today, as it has always been, is one of holiness: Will tattooing your body set you apart as a child of God or identify you more with the ungodly of the culture in which you live? Will tattooing your body be holy and pleasing to God—a spiritual act of worship?

Ultimately, this becomes a very personal matter between the believer and God. Leviticus 19:28 provides an example from everyday life in ancient Israel on how to treat your body in a way holy and pleasing to God that would mark you as a believer. Every generation has its own challenges in how to live as God’s children in the world without being mistaken for being just like the rest of the world.

Personal holiness is the response of an obedient heart lived out in the actions of an obedient life.

1 Commentary on the Old Testament, electronic version, by C.F. Keik & F. Delitzsch, Hendrikson Publishers, 2006. In loc.


Well said, Pastor Paul!

It's also interesting that the prophets of Baal cut themselves in a vain attempt to get Baal's attention. Praise God that He hears the prayers of His children who are in a right relationship to Him without our needing to resort to such tactics. Romans 12:1 is such an essential verse to consider each day as we consider how we can best honor God in our body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

May God bless you and your ministry.

Laurie Collett, Saved by Grace
http://savedbygraceb...y.blogspot.com/
  • Report
Photo
Don Sappington
Oct 28 2011 08:48 AM
Let's not get SIDESTEP the heart of the blog - "God's call on my life to fight for 'on earth as it is in heaven' ... So I'll challenge you with some of the same questions I ask myself on a regular basis... Where do you find time to serve the sick? How do you reach out to those displaced or disenfranchised? How does your life prove that you care about orphans & widows? What role are you fulfilling in sharing the truth and grace of Jesus with those who have the least chance to hear about Him? ... [how are you and your church family living out] Jesus' prayer, seeing His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven!"

Don't dismiss the question by agruing about tatoos / marking your body [we can have that discussion another time]. What about the CENTRAL question?
  • Report
Photo
Laurie Collett
Oct 30 2011 08:45 PM
Good point, Don. But I took these to be rhetorical questions because the specifics of how we answer these varies tremendously from believer to believer, based on the environment where God has placed us, the doors He opens for us, and the gifts, talents and resources He entrusts us with. If there is a general answer to the specific question, it is that without Him we can do nothing, and that to do anything of value we must abide in Him and He in us. With Him, and only in Him, all things are possible. (Matt. 19:26; Phil. 4:13; John 15:4-5).
Laurie Collett, Saved by Grace
http://savedbygraceb...y.blogspot.com/
  • Report

April 2020

S M T W T F S
   1234
5 67891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Recent Entries

Recent Comments