As I write this, I am at a women’s retreat where we are all dressed up in western wear. Cowboy hats, boots and denim by the miles. Handkerchiefs, stick horses and rodeos complete the festivities. But there is a clear message here too. The title is “Branded In Christ”. The comparison to animals that are branded, we can carry a brand for Christ or a brand for the enemy. It’s more like the enemy puts the brand on us, like it or not. He takes that ol’ hot branding iron and seers us for all to know who owns us. You know the ones… the branding of shame, addiction, depression, unworthy, betrayed, forgotten, abused, unloved, not needed, the list goes on.
My heart is heavy with the knowledge that I’ve been branded with each and every one of these. I watched women all around the room stand with the admission that they had been branded as well with some or all of these and others. I felt some of these brandings like they had been reburned after a long while of not feeling them. This is just what the enemy wants. For us to open old wounds, to feel the burn of his branding iron all over again. He wants to heat that brander hotter than ever and make us feel that burn as he tries to brand us for ownership once more. I feel that branding iron of blindness when people have to wait for me, do something for me, help me get where I am going, get my food in a buffet line, and on and on. I feel it when people tell me “good job” for doing simple tasks on my own such as walking up or down the stairs on my own like a child doing that for the very first time all by themselves. These people mean no offense in saying this, it’s what I feel and I’m trying to get beyond that particular hurdle. “You’ll never be like them” the devil whispers to me. “You’ll never do things as efficiently or as good as someone who can see better then you”, he whispers again. That branding iron burns a little deeper each time trying to make a mark that can never be healed.
See, while Satan wants to cause us pain to belong to him, Jesus wants to bear our pain to belong to Him. When the enemy wants to brand you, Jesus put His hand in front of that iron and took the marks and the pain for YOU and for me. When Satan whispers “shame,” Jesus shouts “shine”. When Satan whispers “addicted,” Jesus shouts “free”. When Satan whispers “depressed” Jesus shouts “joyful!” When Satan whispers “unworthy,” Jesus shouts “priceless!” When Satan whispers “betrayed,” Jesus shouts “beloved!” When Satan whispers “forgotten,” Jesus shouts “forgiven!” When Satan whispers “blindness,” Jesus shouts “grace!”
For every whisper of the devil, Jesus has a shout of redemption. Jesus took the marks so we didn’t have to, and we still don’t have to! Jesus healed blindness in the bible and He will heal me too, if He waits until I am with Him to heal it… He will still heal it. Friends, Jesus is longing to remove the brands that the enemy tries to mark us with, He wants to only have you marked with His love and acceptance. Galatians 6:17 says “Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bare branded on my body the marks of Jesus.” Let Jesus mark you as His so no one can brand you with anything else ever again!