“Thou shall not call the name of the Lord thy God in vain” Exodus 20:7. This is one of the commandments of God to the children of Israel and subsequently, every believer. However, over time especially in the area where I live, this statement has been misinterpreted over and over again. When I was a child attending the children’s church, a teacher of ours said calling the name of God in vain was calling him without attaching any prayers…something like just shouting “Gooood” or “Jesus!”. His interpretation was totally wrong. If I find myself in a scary situation and I call “Jesus” without attaching a prayer, it does not mean I’m calling His name in vain. It means I’m calling on The One who can help me out. What then does it mean to call God’s name in vain? When a person swears by the name of God for something he knows isn’t true, he has in fact, called God’s name in vain. Another example is an unbeliever who does not believe in God, calling on God for the fun of it…as in, without any form of reverence or belief in His power. Involving the name of God in activities that impugn His character or dishonor Him or even disregarding the power in His name by any means is tantamount to calling His name in vain.
To eat or not to eat? This is an issue that apostle Paul hammered on in virtually all his letters. Are there really some foods that Christians should not eat? The answer is no. All foods are made by God and in the beginning after God made all things, He said everything was good. Peradventure, you are a convert from another religion to Christianity and you aware of the kinds of pagan rituals performed before certain foods are served in certain celebrations and you happen to be at such celebrations for one reason or the other, there might be a little confusion arising on whether to eat this food you know has been earlier sacrificed to a false god or not. Do you know what to do? Go with your conscience. This is what Apostle Paul under the influence of The Holy Spirit, tells us. For some people, they are convicted in their spirit not to eat those type of foods and really, it’s okay…don’t try to convince them otherwise because if you do, and they eat the food without conviction from their spirit, then you have caused them to sin. For some other people, they eat these foods just as well as they eat non-sacrificed meals. This is fine too. The bible makes us understand that God Almighty the creator of the whole universe is the One and Only true God. That means, every other god, is actually non-existent and made up by people’s imagination and craftiness. Eating those sacrificed foods carry no weight because in the real sense, they have been sacrificed to no one. But, as I said earlier, each person is to keep with their own internal convictions. Some persons may not eat such meals probably because they are new in the faith and are only beginning to crawl…a little external force could cause them to fall, some people may be stronger and have no conviction against eating such foods but people telling them “not to eat it that it is a sin”, could confuse them and cause them to sin too. Therefore, in your eating and drinking, be careful not to lead anyone to sin…do it all to please the Lord. (1 Corinthians 8; Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 10:31).
What comes to your mind when you see a person with tattoos? In my country, the first thing that comes to the mind of most people is “wayward”. Because of this myopic conclusion that anyone with a tattoo is wayward or rebellious, it is unmentionable for a Christian to have a tattoo. I know some of you might be thinking of Leviticus 19:28 but the fact is most people who think it is wrong for Christians to have a tattoo do not even know about this bible verse. Now, I’d take us down history lane quickly. In the olden days, as at the time when God gave this law to Moses, body art and tattoos were associated with pagan rituals. As a result, God wanted His people to stand out from the people around them. If the pagan worshippers ate bread (this is an analogy, this is not an actual happening) the Israelites were instructed not to eat bread. Hence, several thousands of years ago, it was a clear no for God’s people to get tattoos. Right now, tattoos do not hold pagan ideologies as they did before and there are so many untattooed unbelievers. For this reason, not having a tattoo is not enough distinction. Nevertheless, if you as a Christian are considering getting a tattoo, weigh it on what I call “the holiness scale”.
Consider first, “why am I getting this”. Are you getting it for the attention or for fun or what is the exact reason?
Then remember Philippians 4:8…evaluate your choice on these words.
Think whether what you are about to do is beneficial in any way to you spiritually. Think whether it brings glory to God.
Some people may argue that they are tattooing a bible verse to their body but go-ahead to get the tattoo placed on their lower back. This obviously not a way to bring glory to God.
Think, is it really necessary? Remember all things must be done in moderation. Also, don’t forget to evaluate and reevaluate its effect on your health. As a child of God, you have to understand that all things (which are not sinful) are permissible but not all things are beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23). You might get a tattoo and not feel bothered in your spirit but how about the other believer who sees you with a tattoo but doesn’t know how much evaluation you have done before getting it? What of if he goes on to get so many and puts himself in health challenges or worse, trouble with God? Even though there are some instructions that God gives us in His words that are later updated, none of them are outdated. Getting a tattoo these days may not stand for what it used to as at the time when God gave instructions on it…but it is certainly a good instruction that a child of God should not get a tattoo. Don’t get yourself worked up if you already have tattoos though, since you gave your life to Christ you have become a new creature…2 Corinthians 5:17 (Romans 14:16; Romans 14:19; 1 Corinthians 6: 12; 1 Corinthians 10:23).
Moving on to one of the most controversial topics of all time; can a Christian get divorced? Well, the answer is yes, provided it is based on scriptural reasons…although, the bible advocates strongly for reconciliation instead of separation. In Matthew 5:31-32 Jesus corrects the previous norm that a man could divorce his wife for any reason. He says a couple can only get divorced if one of the partners has been unfaithful. Apostle Paul goes further to tell us that a divorce is also permissible when an unbelieving spouse separates from the other. These two grounds are reasonable enough but there is one other reason that seems uncovered. What if my spouse is beating me? A man who beats his wife has already separated himself from his spouse by so doing. He makes the marriage unbearable for the woman and God is not pleased with such people. God does not permit injustice and so He would never be pleased with a marriage that causes one partner so much pain. How could the name of God be glorified in such situations? Because the issue of divorce is very delicate especially to Christians, it is important to take such matters to God. Though the bible teaches more on reconciliation, (1 Corinthians 7:11) in cases where a reconciliation could be a recipe for disaster, a divorce is permissible. A Christian is not allowed to get a divorce on any other ground except for unfaithfulness of one’s partner (which also encompasses physical abuse) and abandonment by one’s partner. For any other reason, counselling from the right sources and talking it out with your spouse could resolve the situation.
I pray the good Lord keeps giving us insights to see the part of His words that we have misconceived in Jesus name. Do you know any more misconceptions in the Christian life? Feel free to share with me in the comment section. If you read this post up to here, thank you…God bless you!