Tuesday, January 9, 2018

With Love & Grace, But Without Tattoos, Worldly Styles & Fashions...

With Love & Grace, But Without Tattoos, Worldly Styles & Fashions...

Question 1: Is it wrong to have a tattoo on our body?

Answer 1: The Word of God says in 1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20 like this:
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body”.

So, how can we glorify God in our body by tattooing? Also Leveticus 19: 28 says: You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD”.

Question 2: What if we get a cross or a Bible verse?

Answer 2: I believe the best way to glorify the Lord Jesus, is to live a life pleasing Him to the utmost, through the continuous fullness of the Holy Spirit! At the same time, I am not here to judge or look down upon anybody who has a tattoo. Some people would have put the tattoo in their unconverted days also.

Question 3: What about ear studs, hair styles and fashionable clothes etc?

Answer 3: 1 Timothy 2: 9 and 1Peter 3: 3 clearly instructs against wearing ornaments as part of simple living, and emphasize the inner beauty of a meek and quiet spirit (1Peter 3: 4) and the glorious adornment with good works (1 Timothy 2: 10).

Although it is addressed to women in both contexts, the same principle is applicable to men as well. The principle is to dress modestly and discreetly, not with tight fitting clothes and worldly dress and hair styles and fashions and tattoos to get the attention of others, especially those of the opposite gender. These worldly styles will tempt many to sin and will result in many following worldly models!

This does not mean that we need to dress white and white to be holy. But rather Jesus said that our Heavenly Father would clothe us much better than the lilies of the field (Matthew 6: 28- 30), which, of course, are of varying colours!

Some people might quote 1 Samuel 16: 7 which says “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”. Yes, He is looking at your heart to see why you are wearing what you are wearing. He sees your motives (1 Corinthians 4: 5). The worldliness is not, of course, in a dress or ornament or style, but in the mind which is conformed to this world (Romans 12: 2) which craves for attention and adoration and popularity!

I believe, while on earth the Lord Jesus would have dressed in such a manner that He would not stand out conspicuous in a group by His style or dress. He appeared so ordinary among other people (Isaiah 53: 2), that the Pharisees needed a Judas Iscariot to identify Him clearly from among His disciples, to arrest Him (Matthew 26: 48). Yes, our Lord did not have a halo or even a special shawl!

There we see the glory of the humility of the Lord Jesus Who always wanted to go down and never wanted to exalt Himself before others even by His appearance! Let us follow the glorious, bloodstained footsteps of our Beloved Lord in the midst of a generation of people, especially youngsters who seek to exalt themselves! But at the same time, let us not look down upon and judge anyone like the Pharisees (Luke 18: 9), for God despises no one (Job 36: 5)!

Question 4: How can we obey the Lord in everything and not become legalistic and judgmental in our attitude towards others?

Answer 4: It is a matter of personal conviction in these peripheral matters, and we are not here to judge or condemn others (Matthew 7: 1) because judging or condemning others is a greater sin than the worldly dressing! That critical, unloving and judgmental attitude is the log in your eye, which needs to be changed (removed) before you can see clearly to remove (correct) the worldly dressing styles (the speck in the other person’s eye) (Matthew 7: 5)!

The central thing in our life is to love the Lord Jesus with all our hearts and to love others as we love ourselves (Mark 12: 28- 31). And this is possible only by a continuous surrender to the Lord Jesus as aliving sacrifice (Romans 12: 1, 2) and thereby being continuously filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5: 18; Romans 5: 5)!

Others, of course, will not have exactly our conviction in all matters, because they may not have light in certain areas, but they might have far greater light than us in many other areas! And the “light” we have also is not always perfect! For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13: 12). So let us not judge others who do not see eye to eye with us everything!

Jesus said in Matthew 5: 19: Whoever then annuls ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE COMMANDMENTS, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever KEEPS AND TEACHES them, he shall be called GREAT (Greek word “megas”) IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN”. So let us seek to keep and teach even the least of the Lord’s commandments.

But do you know who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? See Matthew 18: 4, where Jesus says: “Whoever then HUMBLES HIMSELF AS THIS CHILD, he is the GREATEST (Greek word “meizon”) IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN”.

So even while we seek to keep and teach even the least of the Lord’s commandments, let us seek to be HUMBLEST and most CHILDLIKE like our Saviour who did not judge or look down upon others! That is the beautiful and subtle balance of the gracious, self-effacing CHILDLIKENESS and the uttermost, joyful OBEDIENCE that we see in our Forerunner (Hebrews 6: 20)! Yes, He was full of GRACE and TRUTH (John 1: 14, 17).

The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of GRACE in Hebrew 10: 29 and Zechariah 12: 10. And the same Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of TRUTH in John 14: 17 and 16: 13. So when we yield to this Spirit of GRACE and TRUTH to continuously fill us, He will make us more and more like Jesus who had CHILDLIKE OBEDIENCE!

And we will not major on the minors, but at the same time, speak the TRUTH in LOVE (Ephesians 4: 15) - like He did {compare Luke 4: 17 -22 (grace) with the next portion of verses 23 -28 (truth)}. It is like the fruit (grace) covering the seed (truth) (Genesis 1: 11, 12) and flesh (grace) covering the bones (truth) (Ezekiel 37: 7, 8)!

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