When I was a kid, I loved McDonald’s. Not that I can’t still enjoy myself a Big Mac from time to time, but as a kid, it was a treat. Not only did a kid get that great cheeseburger and fries, but the prize was always so wonderful. It was truly a HAPPY meal. When we would travel on long trips to see family, I knew that any time I saw those glorious golden arches, there was a McDonald’s and I wanted to stop. I couldn’t even read, but I knew those arches. Over the years, McDonald’s has been masterful at maintaining and promoting their brand.
There was an old Eddie Murphey movie called “Coming to America.” I wouldn’t recommend it now. There are too many inappropriate scenes. Nevertheless, the movie was played out around a family whose name was “McDowell.” It was clear from the story that Mr. McDowell had stolen the operating manual of McDonald’s and he was running an unofficial McDonald’s but it was called ‘McDowell’s.” He had stolen the brand.
What would be Christianity’s brand and can it be stolen? Many times brands revolve around logos. And we certainly have many logos in Christianity. We have the cross, the fish, the crown of thorns, the alpha-omega symbol. James Avery has made a killing putting these logos on their jewelry. Yet, all of these are used and abused by secular rock stars and anti-god groups. Marilyn Manson will often wear a cross. In fact, an antichrist person recently responded to one of my Facebook posts with a picture of Manson wearing not only a cross but a crown of thorns in a very demonic graphic. It was startling. And we have all seen the bumper stickers that say “coexist” with all of the symbols of different religions. And the Darwin fish with legs has attempted to steal the Jesus fish many have on their cars. If a logo can be stolen, used in a negative way, then it cannot really represent Christianity. I can’t tell you how many times, I have seen a car driving like a bat out of Hell while donning a Jesus fish on the back.
Whole churches have been stolen when a pastor goes a little wacky. Can anyone say “Jim Jones?” In fact, there are religions attempting to hijack Christianity in its entirety. If you have ever had a Mormon come to your house, they will often start with the question, “If there was more to know about Jesus Christ, would you want to know?” They ask this question leading into the Book of Mormon, but it is obviously designed to attract Christians into Mormonism. But there is one logo, brand, a symbol of Christianity that can never be stolen. And that leads us to our Verse of the Day:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Love. I don’t mean the worldly version of love that even pagans can do (Matthew 5:46-47). No, I am talking about loving people with the same love that Christ loves us. He loved us and died for us even as we were rebelling and rejecting Him. He has forgiven more times than we want to admit without condemnation. He never leaves us and His kindness pursues us even in the throes of pure rebellion. I am talking about loving one another like that. It is a love that forgives before forgiveness is requested. It is a love that stays even when others are not loving us. It is a love that speaks the truth without flattery and says everything in a way that builds up the other person.
This love comes from God and out of the Holy Spirit. The devil, the world, not even Marilyn Manson can steal this love because it is not accessible except by the Holy Spirit. It is this love that is the true brand of Christianity. If we have not love, we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2).
To take on the name of Christ, but not love like Christ is like Mr. McDowell stealing the McDonald’s brand. We have to remember living like a Christian is first and foremost loving one another with the love of Jesus Christ. And this love is not easy. In fact, it can only be truly seen when others are responding to us with anger, insult, betrayal. Our reactions to them will reveal the love of Christ or it will reveal that we are not loving like Him.
To love like this, we need to spend a great deal of time being filled up with His love so that we don’t need the love of others. We can want it, but if we need to be loved in order to return that love, we are like McDowell’s. To love while being mistreated, we must be filled with the love of Christ so that we can then dispense the love of Christ in those most difficult moments. This is the true brand of Christianity-loving one another with the love of Christ.
If the way we loved is to be a logo that represents Christ, is your life the real brand or a counterfeit? How well do you love others?
May the Lord help us all to seek out the love of Christ, be filled, then open our hearts to let His love flow out of us!
Leave me a comment and let me know where you struggle to love like Jesus.
Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!