Years ago, I read about a child who was disfigured. He had a huge red mark splattered across his face. But he wasn’t challenged by it at all. In fact, he wore it as a badge of honor. You see, when he was a young boy, his father started telling him that those marks were the evidence of how much he loved him. The child grew up honoring those marks as a sign of his father’s love.
I think that is what Paul had in mind at the end of his letter to the Galatians. He said, “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” Now, I know Paul had some physical challenges and he may have been referring to those. But I am pretty convinced that he had a broader application in mind.
I think he was referring to marks of identification, distinguishing marks that would immediately associate him with His heavenly father. I think those marks are still needed today. So, perhaps this week we could all use these seven distinguishing marks as a kind of check off quiz. It might help us identify how our growth in Christ is going.
I believe a committed Christian:
Has an incredible preoccupation with the Glory of God – he or she is obsessed with bringing glory to His name (Ps. 72:19).
Is wholeheartedly surrendered to the lordship of Jesus – He is God and we are not!
Has a deep devotional life – expressed by spending quality and a quantity of time with God in His Word and in prayer.
Demonstrates an active awareness of sin – keeps a very short sin list.
Shows a vibrant love for God’s people – actively using our gifts to serve others.
Has a real desire to be a faithful witness for Christ – truly committed to making disciples.
Expresses a generous heart – giving regularly to their church, other ministries and those in need.
I believe these are the marks of Jesus. They are openly on display in the life of a committed Christian. With practice and experience, they become very precious to the believer. We bear them with pride.
With those marks on display, we echo the thoughts of Peter as we “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.” (II Peter 3:18)