Someday, I’m going to take off my shirt and everybody is going to stare in wonder and awe, and it will be glorious. Not only will the pecks and huge arm muscles catch their attention, but the massive, “tat” of Jesus, descending from heaven on a white horse to people falling to their knees in fear and worship will definitely get some sideways glances too. I might also get some old English writing across my chest because sometimes I like to think that I’m a gangster.

Off and on again, I have been saving up for a tattoo. I want to get something really awesome and perhaps spiritual that I can show off to people, but I have had the hardest time figuring out what I’d like to get, so I’ve never actually took the plunge. That, and every time I have enough money to get a tattoo, God breaks my car.

I’m waiting to hear, “Well, isn’t that a sign, Jake?” Please. I’ll kill you. Tattoos will not send you to hell. In fact, it seems that there are very few things that will, that is, when you know Jesus. Otherwise, everything brings you one step closer to experiencing stuff beyond my most ridiculous descriptions in that place that never seems to cool down. But we’re not concerned about hell right now, maybe next week. I’ve been thinking about things lately, that we can and can’t do, and why.

In Matthew 12 and again in chapter 23, Jesus yells at Pharisees for weighing people down with rules and choosing to live by laws that keep us from living a full life. So, I don’t want to go around telling people that they can’t do certain things. I think that there are many actions that we shouldn’t take, such as getting drunk or ho-ing around, (even in that order), but those are obvious. What about just having a beer? Or getting my awesome tattoos? Even smoking a cigar? I mean, those things OBVIOUSLY contribute to a full life, right?

Perhaps not. In my past, I loved beer. I mean it. I would drink it for the sake of the taste, not just to get wasted, although, that probably wasn’t far behind most times. If I were incredibly honest with everyone, I probably still love the taste of beer. Oh, even thinking about it…. anyways. That said, I choose not to drink. It doesn’t seem like a good thing to do.

I hear yelling even now…

…But Jesus turned water into wine man! I want my beer!!

Fine. Have it. But do you think that you’re actually entitled to it, or is it OK because the Bible doesn’t say anything about drinking being bad, only drunkenness. The Bible doesn’t mention a lot of things, but does that mean that they’re OK? I genuinely wonder sometimes. I don’t mean to sound all Nazarene, but I think that most people don’t have enough self control to have just one beer, or to know when to stop, so my general advice would be to lay off and have a coke. On the other hand though, caffeine is something that people legitimately become addicted to, so what’s the difference? These gray areas are so difficult! I want a beer, but I don’t want to put myself in a place to make mistakes, but it tastes so good, but….

Being a leader , I don’t think that it’s good to drink. I talk to a lot of people who have struggled with certain addictions, and so it’s best for them to avoid them at all costs, we’re told that we shouldn’t cause anyone else to stumble, (1cor 10:32) so that’s emphatically true of those who shepherd God’s people…

If we all were able to live out balanced lives, then I might have more faith in people to have a drink now and again. But we all screw up a lot, so I’m going to have to put that rule in place, and hopefully someday, we’ll see something different. Even so, I still hate telling people that they shouldn’t do something…