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“You were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” – Ephesians 1:13

Upon completing an Ironman Triathlon, many of my Ironman triathlon friends get an Ironman tattoo. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but are always built around the original Ironman USA logo (an "M" with a dot on top), and normally put on the calf muscle on one’s leg. It is considered a ‘rite of passage’ signifying the enormity of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and then running 26.2 miles all under the 17-hour limit at one setting on one day. Having completed my own Ironman Triathlon at Tempe, Arizona in November of 2018, I’ve been asked if I was going to get an Ironman tattoo signifying this accomplishment. My answer is “no”.

My main reason for not having this done is mostly because I don’t want any unnecessary pain, but the second and more important reason is that there is a ‘mark,’ or if you will, a ‘sign’ that I belong of a different order. And that is the sign that I belong to Christ, with is the promised Holy Spirit placed into my life at the time that I became a Christian.

Rather than announcing, showing, or proclaiming my own accomplishment (although no one does an Ironman Triathlon ‘alone’), I would rather proclaim something that was done for me, the salvation of my soul by the Lord Jesus. And the ‘seal’ or ‘sign’ of that is, as mentioned above in Ephesians 1:13, which is the promised Holy Spirit.

Instead of having something on the outside to show what I have done, I have something far better and yes, far more outlasting than a tattoo that will show my forever loved and honored status in the Lord my God by the Holy Spirit.

I’m not against anyone getting a tattoo. If you want one, go for it! But have you considered receiving the “eternal tattoo” by the Holy Spirit … the promise and the guarantee that you will be with the Lord forever and ever. And that’s even after you’ve died, and your physical tattoo has long since faded and shriveled up and become dust in the ground. Now that’s something to think about!

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Thanks for the great words Pastor Ken. I told my highschool son that if he ever got a tattoo, I would get a tattoo across my forehead. My son, after his first deployment to Iraq got a tattoo and many more since. I have not put a tattoo on my forehead. I give thanks daily for the gift of the Holy Spirit and trust that my son, and all my loved family, are "marked in Christ with the seal of the Holy Spirit". An eternal tattoo. Amen.

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