Where do you see signs of inner renewal and eternal life?
A hundred years ago, a brand was an identifying mark burned on livestock. You could look at a cow and see that it came from, say, the Triangle X ranch. Now a brand is a name, term, design or symbol that separates one product or company from another. When I look around today, I don’t see Triangle X as much as I see Apple and Starbucks.
So, what is the Christian brand? The most recognizable symbol of our faith is the cross, one that appears on church buildings around the world. It is also a symbol that many Christians put on their cars, clothing and jewelry.
The apostle Paul helped to establish this brand when he presented the message of the cross as “the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). He knew that Jesus died on the cross and was raised to new life, and he said that “the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:14). This means that we will experience resurrection and live forever with Jesus. When we see the cross, we are looking at eternal glory.
The Christian brand is one that is stronger and more reliable than anything in the marketplace today. In the words of Paul, it assures us that “even if our bodies are breaking down on the outside, the person that we are on the inside is being renewed every day. Our temporary minor problems are producing an eternal stockpile of glory for us that is beyond all comparison” (verses 16-17). No matter the difficulties we face, the cross points us toward eternal glory.
In a world of Apple computers and Starbucks coffee, the Christian brand offers something far more valuable and long-lasting: Inner renewal and eternal life. It knows the truth of what is said by a character in the novel The Little Prince, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
I love this line: What is essential is invisible to the eye. Love for family members and friends. Justice in our dealings with others. The power of forgiveness. An eternal stockpile of glory. None of these can be perceived with our eyes, but we see them clearly with our hearts. That is why Paul said, “We don’t focus on the things that can be seen but on the things that can’t be seen. The things that can be seen don’t last, but the things that can’t be seen are eternal” (verse 18).
The Christian brand is powerful because it connects deeply with people who want to live with faith, hope and love. It brings about change, inspiring us to transform the world as it is into the world as it should be. And it gives us a vision of God’s eternal kingdom, in which injustice and war are replaced by everlasting righteousness and peace.
God of eternal life, keep me focused on the inner renewal you offer each day. Amen.