I remember laying on my bed as a kid and realizing there was a tag affixed to my pillow. My pillow didn’t need a tag so I reached into the pillow case and ripped that tag off. It was then that I read the tag: DO NOT REMOVE UNDER PENALTY OF LAW.

My kid brain kicked into gear and I got scared. I had just committed a crime. What’s going to happen to me? Are my parents duty-bound to turn me in? Can I finish the third grade while in lock up? Will I ever find out if Gilligan gets off the island? (I told you it was a kid brain.)

Now that 50+ years have passed, I’m going to get this off my chest: I tore off a DO NOT REMOVE tag and lived to tell about it.

Those tags do serve a purpose and they exist to protect us, the consumers. Well over a hundred years ago, those who made and sold mattresses and pillows would stuff them with most anything. Nowadays our pillows and mattresses come with things like polyester and memory foam., but back then … hoo ,boy, filler was filler. Anything would do. We might think of feathers and even horse hair, but the bedding manufacturers would also use old rags and even discarded food. They might even repurpose stuffing from old mattresses!

As an added bargain, these mattresses and pillows came with a lot more than just disgusting forms of stuffing. The stuffing came with lice, bedbugs, and other unsavory varmints.

The government came up with a solution. They started requiring the manufacturers to include a tag that listed what the pillow or mattress was made of. This didn’t completely solve the problem, because the salespeople would just rip the tags off, so the buyer wouldn’t know the difference between a good mattress and a bug-infested mattress.

The problem was fixed with the addition of this statement on the tag: DO NOT REMOVE EXCEPT BY THE CONSUMER. This was to ensure that we, the consumer, were getting a safe and legitimate mattress free of old rags, discarded food, and a bedbug or two. That tag ensured that the only food in your bed were the Doritos crumbs that fell off your pajamas.

So go ahead. Reach under your mattress and rip that tag off.

If you are a follower of Christ, you have a tag, so to speak. You’ve been tagged and marked by God’s Holy Spirit.

“In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed” (Eph. 1:13).

The beauty of this “tag” is that it does not read “DO NOT REMOVE;” it says, “CANNOT BE REMOVED.” When you come to Christ, He claims you as His own. Humanly, we often fear we will do—or have done—something that irks God. That fear leads to the conclusion that, if we irk God enough, He’ll check out of our lives. Not so. We belong to Him. Through Christ, we are secure.

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29).

“I will never leave you or abandon you” (Heb. 13:5).

What about those who willfully walk away and abandon faith? I content they never had a relationship with God to begin with. People can claim a relationship with Christ—they can look good on the outside—but theirs is a superficial faith.

“They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us” (1 John 2:19).

If you have surrendered your life to Christ, rejoice. Be glad that He has come to live in Your life. You are sealed and kept by His Holy Spirit. You are not left to live the Christian life on your own; His Holy Spirit dwells in you to lead you, help you, and empower you.

Others may not see the “tag,” but the fruit of your life will point to the fact that the Spirit of Christ lives in you.