“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
Jude 3 (NKJV)
My daughter is the proud owner of eight Radley handbags. As she runs her own business, they are her reward to herself for hard work. I have no doubt that she will add to the collection over time.
As a man I confess to not being too familiar with handbag brands of which there are quite a few. But good brands are important because of what they represent. Think John Lewis in retail shopping, Mercedes in motor cars and Apple in technology. They build trust with their customers over long periods by delivering consistent quality and value. Customers feel confident in buying a branded product with a good reputation.
The reverse is also true. Our high street banks have toxic brands because of their behaviour over the last few years. We pretty much have to use them but do so reluctantly.
So what values does the Christian brand have? Well Christianity is not a brand, it’s a relationship. But, for the moment, let’s use this as an analogy. What are the Christian brand values as given to us in the Bible—what Jude calls the faith once delivered?
Well, the number one would be love, because 1 John 4:16 tells us God is love. So love in all its aspects could be called the foundational brand value. On that foundation all the other values stand. Simply understanding the height, the depth, the breadth and infinite love of God is a lifetime’s work. In the Message Bible, 1 Corinthians 14.1 says, “Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.” While 1 Corinthians 13, often called the love chapter, outlines the qualities of love.
You may feel that individual Christians or churches don’t show the Christian foundation of love. In which case, be patient—it’s a work in progress., God hasn’t finished with them yet, but don’t let that get between you and God.
As stated, Christianity is not a brand, it’s a relationship. A loving God stands with open arms waiting to embrace you (Luke 15.20). Are you ready to respond?
Father, take away our fears and doubts and help us to respond to your awesome love for us, expressed in the sacrifice of Your son, Jesus Christ.
Study by Keith Hartrick
This is the 12th day of S.E.P., a two-week summer activity camp that takes place on the bank of Loch Lomond, Scotland. It is sponsored and run by the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International. The camp is Christian in ethos but accepts campers from all denominations and faiths, or from none. For more information about S.E.P. visit http://www.sepuk.org
About the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, and serves on the Church Council there.
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
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