Prosperity? Tattoos? Alcohol? What does the Bible say about these things, and why are so many Christians arguing over the interpretation?
1. Plans For Good
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”—Jeremiah 29:11
While I do believe that Jesus has plans for good and prosperity in all of our lives, our definition of “good and prosperity” needs to be defined before further understanding this passage. I believe prosperity in the eyes of God simply means that we have love, hope and grace in an abundance, while the world’s view of prosperity is found in money and titles. Are money and titles wrong? Not at all. Do they make lousy god’s? Always.
I believe God’s called each of his children to a prosperous life, but this doesn’t necessarily mean in the form of money, jobs and materialistic items. Godly prosperity is found in the worth and value that God places among our lives, something that this world could never offer us.
And while “plans for good” doesn’t mean that God is going to allow everything to go the way you’ve planned it, it does mean that God is good no matter the circumstances. He will always be there to encourage you, protect you, love you and forgive you. Your prosperity is found in God, not your bank account. What are your thoughts?
2. Do Not Put Tattoo Marks On Yourselves
“Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.”—Leviticus 19:28
While I strongly believe God yearns for us to take care of our mortal bodies, I also believe the motive of our hearts are more important to him in the end. See where I am going with this?
But as clear as this text may seem, without context and background this text can be taken out of context in many ways. In fact, it usually is.
This text is directed towards a group of pagans who would violently cut and mark their bodies as a sign of worship to their gods. The tattoos or markings one would find on their bodies would most like resemble the god or gods in which they were worshiping. Pretty different from the tattoos we see today, right? Yup.
While I do believe that any tattoo obtained to worship something other than God is sinful, I also believe that 95% of the tattoos we see in today’s culture are not due to idol worship, but instead creative expression or artistic value. It’s not the actual tattoo or marking that is sinful, but the motives in which each tattoo or marking is obtained. Who are you worshipping?
Don’t get me wrong. Tattoos are not for everyone! My only hope is that you realize the motives of your heart mean more to God than the ink on your skin. I don’t see anything biblically wrong with Christians having tattoos, but then again, this is just my interpretation. And for all you kids still living under the roof of your parents, whether or not you get a tattoo is up to them, not you.
Your body is still a temple, and to treat your body with disrespect is to treat God in the same manner. Whether you are debating getting your first tattoo or your fiftieth, I pray you will seek God for wisdom, guidance, and evaluate the motives of your heart.
We may not all reach the same conclusion, but that doesn’t mean we are not all loved by the same God. What are your thoughts?
3. Do Not Get Drunk
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”—Ephesians 5:18
While the Bible does say “don’t get drunk,” it never once says don’t drink. Has alcohol destroyed the lives of many? Yes—which is why one needs to be mature in the way they consume it. Addiction and drunkenness can be deadly.
The reality is that Jesus himself drank wine, but this doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Everyone is allowed to make their own decision as to whether or not they will drink, but don’t you dare judge someone’s view towards alcohol based on a conviction of your own.
If you don’t want to drink, then don’t drink. If you enjoy wine and frequenting your local brewery, then enjoy it. Regardless of which side you land on, make sure you are showcasing maturity and staying true to what the Bible says about this topic, not your opinion.
Would I ever encourage someone to drink? Never. Would I ever tell someone that drinking is unbiblical? Not a chance. Drunkenness is the issue at hand. What are your thoughts?
4. Hate Your Father & Mother
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”—Luke 14:26
I believe Jesus uses the word “hate” to properly instruct the importance of putting Christ before anything else. He follows the statement with a parable furthering explaining himself. I believe the word “hate” was used to not only grab the disciples attention when Jesus was teaching, but also paint the importance of how Jesus should be our priority and every else should be arbitrary.
1 John 3:15 debunks the question as to whether or not Jesus was encourage us to truly hate our mother and father. And while I know this scripture is always up for further interpretation, this is where I have landed through my studies. What are your thoughts?
5. I Can Do All Things Through Christ
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”—Philippians 4:13
Can we really do “all things” through Christ? If we decide to take this passage literally, then I want to learn to fly, shoot spaghetti from my fingertips and be the top scorer for the Los Angeles Lakers. Those things will probably never happen.
This is a passage of scripture that is constantly taken out of context, as well as debated among Christians around the world. While I do believe that the power of Jesus is capable of accomplishing anything and everything that stands before it, I also believe that their is a sovereign God who stands in control of what will and will not happen. What those things are is up to him.
Will I ever be the top scorer for the Lakers? Not a chance. Is the power of Jesus capable of accomplishing this in my life? Yes. Will this ever come to fruition? Probably not. This white boy can’t jump.
Will I ever learn to fly? Not a chance. Is the power of Jesus capable of accomplishing this in my life? Yes. Will this ever come to fruition? Probably not—plus I’m scared of heights. Get where I’m going with this?
All things are possible through the power of Christ, but we must also understand the realistic side of what Jesus will and will not do through each individual person. It’s up to him, not us. What are your thoughts?