I’ve been “toying” with the idea of getting a tattoo.
How weak is that? I should just do it or shut up. I associate getting a tattoo with two scenarios:
1) A spontaneous act with little or no thought – perhaps fueled by excessive amounts of alcohol
2) A serious event, entered into with clarity and conviction, with every detail precisely worked out in advance.
In either case, the words “toying with” do not apply. But if I WAS going to get a tattoo, I would get a tattoo that reads:
“A servant of Christ Jesus”
I would have it inscribed in Greek, of course:
That way, if anyone were to ask about it, I could talk about Jesus – a witnessing tool! On the other hand, if I’m acting like a jerk – which sometimes happens – I’ll just say “I’m not sure what it means, I was drunk when I got it,” and they’ll think, “Of course you were drunk, you idiot.”
When I was a new Christian, I plastered my car with Christian bumper stickers. This wouldn’t fly in Portland today – better to just tattoo a cryptic Christian message on your own body.
I soon realized the bumper stickers weren’t a good idea. Evidently Christ had redeemed my heart, but not my right foot. Speeding, tailgating, and pretending to be a stock car racer on LA freeways isn’t the best witness for Jesus.
OK, that’s funny (sort of). But if I ever ACTUALLY, really, maybe, get a tattoo, I’m going with: “A servant of Christ Jesus.”
What’s the point?
If you’re a Christian, you already bear the name of Jesus. It doesn’t matter if you plaster Jesus on your car or tattoo him on your forearm. As a Christ follower, a believer in Jesus, a Christian – you represent Jesus every day.
When you were saved, you confessed the name of Jesus. When you were baptized, it was in the name of Jesus. Colossians 3:17 says that everything you do as a Christian, you should do in Jesus name.
The third commandment is loaded with layers of meaning. “You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain.” Simple – don’t curse or swear using God’s name – I get it. But literally, it reads: “You shall not lift up (or carry, or wear) the name of the Lord — for or in – a manner that is worthless, trivial, or futile.”
Now think about another layer of meaning.
This is one of the great truths of the Old Testament: God placed his name UPON his people (see Numbers 6:27). Israel was the bearer of God’s name, the representative of the true and living God.
The third commandment says this too: be my representative; let your life show the miracle of redemption; let your words and your way of life reveal the truth of who I am to the whole world.
Now, in Christ, we are called to fulfill this Word — in Jesus name! What an honor. What a challenge! Thankfully, we’re not on our own. The Holy Spirit, the dove, writes this word on the heart of every Christian. He plants deep within us the desire, the thrill, and the power to be a rep for Jesus in a broken world.
The tattoo is optional.