“From henceforth let no man trouble me—for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”

Galatians 6:17

Scars or stars; the question is “Which one do we relish and glory in?”

That’s the question the Apostle Paul would likely ask each one of us if we sat down and talked with him about today’s Manna.  And, without a doubt he would once again recount his conversion experience on the road to Damascus and how the Risen Lord appeared to him in a most miraculous way (Acts 9:1-9; 22:4-11; 26:13-18).

Yet, it took that Encounter for him to realize that he was no different than the other Jewish religious leaders who’d stoned the prophets down through the years because they disagreed with their message.  That’s why he began “preaching Christ in the synagogues—declaring that He is the Son of God—and now confessed as Savior and Lord the One he’d previously opposed and persecuted” (Acts 9:20-21).

No wonder his former colleagues now became his biggest critics.

Such is always the way of fickle, faithless flesh, Pilgrim.  One minute singing “For he’s a jolly good fellow” and the next minute crying “Crucify him!  Crucify him!”

That’s why we should always seek to be a “God-pleaser,” not a “man-pleaser” (Gal. 1:10).  And, that’s why we should never glory in who we are, what we’ve done or what we have; instead, we should only “glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14).

Paul purposely quit using his Hebrew birth name of Saul and started using his Roman name instead because it means “little.”  And, he, like John the Baptist, realized that “Christ must increase and he must decrease” (Jn. 3:30) if others were to readily see the One that mattered.

He also knew how a conquering commander often chained his captives to his chariot and paraded them through the countryside and city streets after his victory.  Sometimes he’d even brand them to demonstrate his ownership of them.  Even now we can envision this horrific sight as their emaciated, beaten and bleeding bodies staggered behind him as he celebrated his victory.

But, oh, dear Pilgrim, our Master would never treat us like that.

Even though we are His “workmanship (mantle showpiece) created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10), we are not His “prize” or spoils of war.  We are His “one-of-a-kind treasure in whom He delights” (Ps. 135:4; 147:10; Is. 62:4).

And, it’s when we delight in Him (Ps. 37:4, 23; 112:1). . .realizing that God’s “most precious Treasure (Jesus) has come to reside in our cracked, clay pots” (II Cor. 4:7). . .that we realize it’s our scars, not man’s “stars,” that matter in the eternal scheme of things.  Truly, in Christ we are willingly “chained to His Chariot” and want only to go where He goes, do what He would do and say what He would say.  Help us, O Lord, to be captured by Your Love today.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated November 10, 2010

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