Leaving Marks

One of the things that I heard often when growing up was the phrase: “That’s going to leave a mark.” I tripped and scraped my knee; “That’s going to leave a mark.” I ran into the barbed-wire fence; “That’s going to leave a mark.” I fell from the top of a tree I had climbed; “That’s going to leave a mark.” And those situations did, in fact, leave their marks. We all have scars from accidents and incidents. We all have marks. But it’s easier to focus on the marks made upon us than it is to focus on the marks we make.

I think of people who fail to guide and guard their families with a clear biblical focus; “That’s going to leave a mark.” People steadily pursuing habits that distance them from an intimate walk with God; “That’s going to leave a mark.” Or when anger, or gossip, or bitterness arises and governs behavior, sullies a life, or destroys a relationship; “That’s going to leave a mark.” We all have marks; we all leave marks. Some are just seen more clearly than others.

In the New Testament, a certain Greek word, tupos, surfaces periodically. The word means “the mark of a blow.” It is the word used to describe the act of minting a coin by striking it with a die or leaving an impression in wax or clay by the application of pressure. It’s the same word translated as “example” in Philippians 3:17: “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” Paul uses the word again in 1 Thessalonians 1:7 to encourage both Timothy and Titus to be examples to those before them.

You will leave a mark. You will make an impression, no matter how seemingly small, that will shape the lives of others. One writer related, “No matter who you are, someone is looking to you as an example of how to believe and how to behave.” Who is watching you? Could it be said of you that you strive to live a life that “strikes the right kind of die” in the lives of others? Is the lasting impression of your life one that shamelessly glorifies Christ and points others clearly to him?

Let us strive to be people who, like Paul, can say to those around us, “The things which you…saw in me, these do” (Philippians 4:9).

That’s going to leave a mark; what kind of mark will it be?

Pray that…

We would follow the example of Christ in the midst of all difficulty and suffering. – 1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

We will live as examples to those around us so that they might see God revealed in us. – Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

We would look to Jesus as our ultimate example, and by following him, would encourage others to do the same. – 1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

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