Galatians 6:17 “From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”
I was able to interview a Chinese man, Paun, (not his real name) who had two life changing experiences in the 1980’s. He was privileged to have been a part of one of the first underground Bible Schools that started up after the cultural revolution within China. Every day in the Bible School there would be hours of prayer, and studying the scriptures. The hearts of the students glowed with excitement about the forgiveness, the peace and the strength of God, His word and the life of Jesus within them. This experience caused Paun to become convinced of the reality of Jesus Christ in his life and on-fire with a desire to help others know Jesus Christ. God’s touch upon him, marked him, he was changed. He wanted to be helpful to the poor, the needy, to show the love and kindness of Jesus to all.
But there was another marking that was left upon Paun. One day the police raided the Bible School and his home. Paun was sent to prison for three months. There he was beaten, tortured and constantly interrogated, nine others from the Bible school were also arrested and the Bible School was shut down and under constant surveillance, lest it would start up again. Three times since then his home was raided by the police all his possessions were permanently confiscated, even his marriage license and personal identification was removed. He is on the “watch list”, which means that the police constantly watch his every action. They pull him aside three or four times a week for “tea”, a polite word for questioning. Because of his faith and because the police are watching him, it is difficult for him to rent an apartment, he will never be able to own a home or have major amenities that we in Canada consider common and everyday items.
As Paun would speak about his past and his present situation, you could tell that God had significantly worked in his life. There was a Christian depth and godly maturity that only intensified in the face of the outward pressures as Paun continued to submit himself to the Lordship of Jesus. Yet he also knew the realities and the costs that were present in following the Lord. Paun would talk about always looking over his shoulder to see if he was being followed. There would be a flinching when he heard a siren on the streets. He feared what might happen to his wife or children if he or they were arrested. He was concerned about the other believers in the area if they would be associated with him.
Yes Paun bore two marks upon his mind and heart. Yet the mark of Christ is greater than the fear of others. In the face of risk, knowing the truth and life that comes from Jesus, Paun continues to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Leading people into a relationship with the Lord Jesus, he continues to strengthen and encourage the Christians in China. Why does he continue in this way? Because the reality of Christ in his life is greater than any threat that people or political systems could ever put upon him.
Ask God to increase the reality of your faith and to strengthen your walk with Him. Take extra time for prayer and for reading the word of God so that you too might be strong. Hebrews 13:6 says, “We may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?””