While at a Robbie Seay concert I saw a guy with INVICTUS tattooed on the underside of his arm. It was inked such that the letters began at his wrist and read down toward his elbow. That way it would be shown off when he held a microphone. It looked cool, but I think the message is foolish, especially for a Christian. It seems safe to say he professes Christ since he works for a Christian radio station.
Invictus, Latin for unconquered, could be tolerated if one meant to communicate that because of Christ they are victors, not conquered by sin, Satan, or death. If that is what the aforementioned person means, my apologies for referring to his tattoo as foolish. But that is not the popular idea behind the word today.
The word’s current popularity is no doubt due to the film, which, by the way, I really enjoyed. I do admire Nelson Mandela, and I love Clint Eastwood as a director / actor, but Invictus, well, it’s a lie. The popular meaning is informed by the poem by William Earnest Henley.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
I think Herod would have loved this poem. I bet he had an invictus tat too.
Outside of Christ we are not conquers but conquered – in bondage to sin and death. Yes in Christ we have victory, but it is His victory, a victory that we enter into by grace. Christus Victor! – that is our battle cry, not Invictus!
So will you seek the King? Will you bow? Will you submit? Will you give your treasures? Will you worship?
Don’t fail to recognize how you may be similar to Herod. Do you look at the humility of Christ and see it as an opportunity to exploit Him? Do you tolerate or excuse sin by presuming upon His grace? Do you treat Jesus as a ticket to get to some other main attraction? Do you think you can dissect Him and take Him only as Savior and reject Him as Lord?
Woe to those who think they can conquer the unconquerable King. There is only one man who legitimately wears Invictus; it is written down His thigh, “King of kings and Lord of Lords.”