Christian Warrior Tattoos: How We Identify Ourselves

I’m not sure how many times I’ve wandered into the local tatoo shop to pick out a tat. Every day brought me new ideas. For a while I was *really* sold on the Linux Penguin tattoo. I came close to getting it. I love computers and open source software so it sort of made sense. I never went through with it though. It seems I couldn’t make up my mind on the body art I wanted to live with. The one time I did make an impulsive decision, the artist was shutting down for the day so I ended up leaving the ink mill as clean as I entered.

I’ve looked at every possible tattoo: religious tattoos, the ever so typical tribal tattoos and let’s not even mention those awful diy home designs that I came up with. It seems there’s no limit to creativity christian tattooand, with all of the choices, I failed to make a decision. The more I think about it, the more I’m happy about it. I can’t regret what I was born with but I can certainly regret what I do with it.

Of all the tattoo types, my favorite are the religious tattoos. I love those christian warrior tattoos that feature flaming swords, Christ on the cross and once I even saw a mini Last Supper. Talk about “wow”. I mean if you really want to make a statement, tattooing the Last Supper somewhere visible on your body does the trick.

Is it biblically permissible? A lot of believers are quick to reject ink-art on the basis of Leviticus:

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

The statement above is pretty blatant and I tend to agree with it whole heartily. Then again, we are *not* under Levitical law so to call it binding upon gentiles is a bit unfounded. My failure to get a tattoo never had anything to do with Scripture though. Really, how I identified myself over time kept changing and I didn’t want to get something that one or two years later I loathed.

I think it’s safe to say that most people who get tattoos are looking to identify themselves. Whether it’s publicly as a statement or whether it’s a private tattoo that only you and your significant other are aware of. Such identity efforts probably fall into the category of foolishness.

A lot of Christians fall into modes of identity crisis where they start to reach out for things to bolster “who they are”. They’re trying to reinforce their identity. When we get into that trap, we’re usually forgetting who Christ is. Reaching out to grab the latest in Christian jewelry, Christian bumperstickers or inking yourself with a Christian warrior tattoo won’t help one bit. Forget who you are. Spend a little bit of time in fasting and prayer to help you remember who Christ is.

If you’re having a christian identity crisis, then just remember Christ. I know that sounds a bit over simplified but that’s how simple it is. You don’t need external things (except your message as an Ambassador) to serve as reminders of who you are in Christ. You need to keep your eyes on the prize and remembe how valuable that prize is. Those external things, like tattoos, only serve as temporary distractions from the battle you’re waging with yourself.

3 Responses to Christian Warrior Tattoos: How We Identify Ourselves

  1. bruce j kokko

    September 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    All this reminds me when I worked at a Christian summer camp way back in my college days (I mean way back). My friends and I decided to wear the star of David and become Jewish in our Christian focus. It was just as you said, a way of separating ourselves from the herd. We abandoned the whole idea after about a week. Jesus is our identity, and that’s enough for an eternity.

  2. Jon Kokko

    September 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    That kind of comradery seems to be the norm in during college days. My pastor in the Philippines has a small tat on his shoulder that he and the other graduating pastors had inked on. It’s nothing outlandish so he has no remorse over it but he laughs when tells the story.

  3. Maurice Lindsay

    February 24, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Wonderful post Jon,

    I relate to this very well as I have many tattoos on my body from before I got saved. I didn’t know who I was but I knew who I wanted to be so I would get tattoos on me of portraits and phrases of the image of the type of person I wanted to be portrayed as.

    Years later, now saved, I regret many of the tattoos I got when I was young and lost. I’m on a mission now to remove them now, as Leviticus 19:28 rings bells in my spirit.

    Thanks for a great read, this article really hits home!

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