Several years ago, a major US automobile manufacturer ran a marketing campaign spearheaded with the following slogan: “Gx – Mark of Excellence” (you fill in the missing letter). Any car or truck built by Gx bore a metal sticker with these words visible on the vehicle’s door frame. The idea being that the cars and trucks produced by the company were built with integrity, craftsmanship, quality and dependability in mind. The saying is catchy, and in hindsight, can be applied in the area of one’s spiritual walk.
There is a saying in the sports world that “records are made to be broken”. What championship sports team today has not advanced physically, mentally and tactically from previous seasons? It is an undeniable fact that unless the professional sports teams of today break beyond the performance baselines and benchmarks they now enjoy, in just a season or two they will fossilize and be the laughing-stock in the sports columns and media outlets of the world. Excellence in sports is essential.
Excellence is also fleeting. What is coined “excellent” today may be just good enough for tomorrow’s “mediocrity”. This holds true in living for God. We must periodically check our spiritual pulse and reassess where we stand in God’s scheme of things and strive for Heaven’s excellence.
The apostle Paul used the word “circumspectly” in describing the manner of his walk on earth:
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil”. Eph 5:15-16
The word “circumspectly” is translated to mean: “exactly”, “diligently”. In other words, to walk with “excellence”.
To Paul, there was also a mark of excellence that was for ever set before him and one that he strove to attain:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Php 3:13-14
The Scars of Love and Forgiveness – The Mark of Excellence
We are careful with who we allow to see and handle our scars – and we all have them. All of us. And usually the hidden ones are the most hideous and painful. If not totally healed, these areas are still raw with emotion, bring back painful memories and cause an awkward recoiling on the inside. We only allow those we really trust and feel safe with to handle and see them.
Perhaps Thomas was not thinking along these lines when the master spoke these words:
Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. John 20:27
There are and there will be situations and events in living for God that leave scars. It is inevitable. It happened to Jesus. It happened to the apostle Paul. And it will most certainly will happen to me and you:
“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God”. Acts 14:22
In the Old Testament it was a man named Jacob that was also familiar with this phenomenon of being marked. Jacob’s encounter with God in Bethel left him with a permanent reminder of heaven’s call for excellence. The wrestling with an angel of God resulted in him walking with a halted step for the remainder of his life. We are never the same spiritually or physically when we really have a divine encounter with the Almighty.
The Eternal Mark of Excellence
The good news for us is that ours scars will one day be completely healed. It is only Jesus who will bear his scars throughout eternity. How do we know? The word of God tells us:
And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. Zec 13:6
In eternity, there will be one in heaven (and only one) who will bear the marks of the former heaven and earth. All the redeemed of heaven will have been resurrected with glorified, perfect bodies. But Jesus will forever bear the mark of excellence from a place long and far ago in history called Calvary.
The Mark of Desolation
Is it not interesting that sometime during the endtime that a world system ruled by the antichrist will also require a mark? We all know about it, the Mark of the Beast – 666, written about in the Book of Revelation. We have the option to choose which mark we will take. We can have God’s mark of excellence gained through the salvation of Jesus Christ or be marked with a curse originated from the pit of hell and destruction.
May the Lord keep us on the path that leads to his mark of excellence.