By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35
In business, branding is a way of identifying a product or an organization. A brand is more than just a logo. It is the way customers experience and recognizes the business or the product. Corporations spend millions of dollars to create, market, and protect their brand. When branding is done well, it adds meaning and clarity and honors people’s sacred values.
Developing a brand requires intentionality, consistency in the messaging, and a commitment to the organization's core values. Naming and nomenclature are critical components of an effective brand strategy. Brand design (i.e., logo, color, graphics, imagery) is also essential to branding well done.
In the Christian life, love is the way of identifying our discipleship to Jesus Christ. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is more than just a religious experience. It is the way people experience and recognize Christ through us. Agape love is our brand. When love is done right, it adds meaning and clarity to our spirituality and our relationship with others and honors Almighty God, who called us to love others as he loves us.
Some Christians confuse their title with the Christian brand. Others think their logo (denomination or religious tradition) is their brand. During the Medieval period, many of my Catholic brothers and sisters had a reverence for the images (Saints, Icons) of the Catholic Church because they thought it was the brand of the Church. Others think the Papacy is the brand of the Catholic Church. But, love is the brand of the Church (Catholic or Protestant).
Our service to God is part of God’s branding strategy for his Church. Our roles and responsibilities, the biblical language we speak, the songs we sing, are but parts of our branding. We do all these things because we love God, and we are his agents of love. Our denomination or religious affiliation is but part of the brand design we created. They do not necessarily add meaning and clarity to our mission as disciples of Jesus Christ.
In today’s text, Jesus tells the disciples that love is his brand and the brand of all his followers. Love requires intentionality, humility, and a commitment to represent Christ in all aspects of life. If the world does not see the love of Christ in us, then we do not have the right branding. Thus, the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “If I speak in the tongues of men or angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but does not have love, I am nothing.”
When I think of Jesus, I think of John 3:16. The world expects us to be merciful, humble, compassionate, and forgiving because they know that love is our brand. Non-believers are often dismayed when the action or decision, position, or affiliation of a Christian violates the Christian brand. They expect consistency between our orthodoxy and orthopraxy.
Some people pay much money to wear certain brands (Gucci, Polo, Armani, etc.). Others pay a lot more to drive certain luxury automobiles because of their brand. Jesus already paid the price for his disciples to bear his brand of love. We have been branded by Almighty God to love. Our branding may not be as popular as it should be; however, it is the right brand.
Prayer- Blessed Lord, thank you for branding us to love. Help us to be consistent in our ministry of love so the world can see you in us.