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

Galatians 6:17

If we’re truly His, there should be enough evidence to convict us if we were put on trial for our faith.

Shrinking back from and seeking.

Those are the two extremes to be avoided—at least from Paul’s point-of-view in today’s Manna.  His use of the word “marks,” which comes from the Greek word “stigmata” and basically means “to stick, prick, incise, brand as proof of ownership, etc.,” clearly demonstrated that he’d “suffered for the Savior.”  And, his testimony in II Cor. 11:23-30 substantiates his claims, particularly when we realized he’d received 195 stripes during his three missionary journeys (v.24).

Yet, again, he was not boasting in his sufferings; he was “glorying in his Savior” (v.30; II Cor. 12:9-10).

And, dear Pilgrim, we should never glory (or gloat) in what we’ve suffered for Christ—which, for most of us, is very little in comparison to other saints (Heb. 11:32-40).  Christ has not called us to be masochistic martyrs who seek others’ verbal and/or physical abuse because of our obnoxious or overbearing ways.  A thousand times no!  Yet, neither are we to shrink back from suffering when our beliefs and actions, which are firmly rooted in God’s Word, are under attack.

Paul knew he was going to suffer for Christ when he started “preaching that Jesus is the Son of God in the synagogues” (Acts 9:20-21).  Evidently, the Lord had already told him such during the three days he was without food or water after his conversion experience on the Damascus Road (9:8-9, 15-16).

Yet, there was no way of knowing what he would suffer.

And, neither can we.

But, like Paul, that shouldn’t keep us from “entering into the fellowship of His sufferings and being made conformable unto His death” (Phil. 3:10b)—for, in reality, that’s really the only way we can “know Him and the Power of His Resurrection” (Phil. 3:10a).

So, the question is “What marks/brands/scars are you bearing in your body that prove you belong to Christ?”  Or, perhaps we should ask, “What things have you ‘counted as loss for the excellency of knowing Christ’ and considered them as dung or garbage in comparison to that glorious experience” (Phil. 3:7-8)?

Let’s face it:

Most of us have suffered little for Christ.  Too often we fear the tongue more than the sword.  But, such should not be, Pilgrim—especially if we claim to be a follower of Christ.  Therefore, ask the Holy Spirit to show you today any areas of your life where you’ve compromised on your faith and been more of a “man-pleaser” than a “God-pleaser” (Gal. 1:10).  Then, ask His forgiveness and commit yourself to being the same type of bold believer that the three Hebrew teenagers were that day when facing the fiery furnace (Dan. 3:13-18).

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated November 9, 2010

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