Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Christians Have Become Walking Billboards For The World


We've all seen it. Most of us have participated in it. Some have discarded the practice while most continue with these displays of love and affection. What am I referring to? Branding.
Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business. Effective branding gives a business an edge and increases sales, so if a business can get customers to love their brand, then their customers will unwittingly become free walking billboards for them.

Just sit down in any high traffic area, and do a little people watching. More specifically, look at what they're wearing and what they're carrying. What does it say on that t-shirt? On that hat? On that handbag? On that canvas bag? On their cell phone cover? What message are they attempting to communicate with the general populace? "I love this team, this entertainer, this athlete, this video game, this movie, this quirky saying, these animals, this drink, this food... this brand." They're also sending messages like, "I'm humorous, I'm sexy, I'm angry, I'm patriotic, I'm antisocial... I'm pro-abortion... I'm with Stupid." Now, how many people do you see wearing an article of clothing that shouts, "I love Jesus... Jesus is the most important thing in my life... Jesus died for you... I am a born again believer in Christ!" Yeah... not so many. Most likely, not even one. Why is that? Why is branding yourself to the world okay as long as the message being displayed in no way points to Jesus?

We can understand when the unsaved wear this type of clothing. They're part of the world system and have a herd mentality. Christians, on the other hand, are supposed to be different. We're not supposed to reflect the world, we're supposed to reflect Jesus. So why do we still wear these items of worldly affection? We're not supposed to blend in with the herd, but stand out as a peculiar people. I guess branding is like anything else. We've done it for so long that it's just natural. No one gives it a second thought. We've allowed ourselves to believe that the reasons the world uses to wear these things is a valid reason for us, as Christians, to wear them as well.

If we want to show our support for our favorite sports team or athlete, we wear the team jersey. If we have something to say, we find a shirt that expresses that thought. If we have a favorite brand, we like to wear it and declare our devotion to it. If we support a cause, we shout it out to the world so that hopefully they will get on board and lend their support as well. So, where is our devotion to Jesus? If Jesus is such an influential part of our lives, why is there so little (if any) branding for Him in our lives?  

Wearing clothing that includes branding conveys a message. It says that this message is so important to us on a personal level that we feel the need to share it with everyone else by wearing it out in public. If I asked you to inspect the clothes in your closet and in your dresser drawers, how many items of clothing would you be able to find that had some sort of Christian message on it? I'm not talking about something you only wear to church or to Christian events. I'm talking normal daily outerwear. A vast number of Christians would say that they had none. Now look again and count how many articles of clothing you own that has some type of branding on it (sports, movies, products, etc...)? Did you find any with the Nike swish, the logo of your favorite sports team, or Star Wars plastered across the chest? Why is the message of the world so much more important to Christians to display on their chest, on their back and on their head than the message of the cross? We need to think about that.

Here's an example of something that happened to me years ago. I'm from the Northeast and folks around here are great New England Patriots fans. I needed a new hat, so I purchased a Patriot's hat. Well, don't you know that from the moment I put that hat on, Patriots fans began striking up conversations with me about how the team and individual players were doing. Here I was, a walking billboard for the Patriots brand and I wasn't even a football fan, but the hat was all people needed to see. Do you see where I'm going with this? What if I were wearing a Jesus hat or a Jesus t-shirt? I'd be a billboard for Jesus and maybe, just maybe, I'd get some people coming up to me to talk about Him.  It wouldn't even matter if I received a positive or negative reaction because who knows how many other people standing around us would hear a bit of the gospel during that conversation and have a seed planted in their heart?

My brothers and sisters, please listen to me. We have one message to proclaim to the world, and that message isn't about how much we like a particular brand, movie, actor, athlete, entertainer, animal, etc... The message we're supposed to be proclaiming is salvation through Jesus... believe and repent.

Now, I'm not saying that you have to wear Christian clothing every time you leave the house. What I am saying is that if we're going to be wearing any branding, it should be something that points the sinner toward Jesus.  

I have a hat that I wear for work. It has the company logo on it. When I'm not working, I don't wear it. Why? Because I don't want everyone's eyes and mind to be focused on a worldly brand.  I work for the company, but the company isn't my life. Instead, I wear a black hat with a simple black cross on it. When people see my hat, their eyes and mind are focused on Jesus, even if it's only for a few seconds. The Holy Spirit can do a lot in a few seconds. Every once in a while someone will comment on the hat as they walk past me. That's great, but I also think about all the others who saw it and didn't say a word to me. What was going on in their mind and in their heart as they walked past me? Only God knows.

We need to come out from the world and show them that our love for Jesus is greater than our love for worldly branding. Wouldn't we rather brand Jesus at a sporting event, a company BBQ, the beach or park, amusement park, county fair, or any other setting where there could be tens, hundreds or even thousands of people around us rather than branding something of this world that is here today and gone tomorrow? Wouldn't we be more productive as born again believers in Christ if we invested in the advancement of the kingdom of God which lasts forever!  

Let's get back to early church branding and declare who we are in Christ.

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Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!