As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Proverbs 27:19
Living in a primarily retail community, I hear a lot about “branding” in the world surrounding me. When I was a child, in the same community, “branding” was what you did to a cow. If the cow got out of the fence, the cow could be identified and returned to the rightful owner by its branding. Our community has changed over the past three decades and now most of the farms are gone.
Now “branding” is about name recognition. It still has the logo that identifies the rightful owner, but it goes much broader now. Company branding goes as far as the font used in internal and external communication, colors that can be used, and key words that spread a consistent message. Companies are about creating culture, values, and mission statements that tell the outside world who a company is. The idea is that even without the logo, based on color and shape, people know the company and product. There are even businesses that specialize in branding.
Lately there has been a lot of talk about “personal branding.” With a move towards more interaction via social media this “personal branding” is about what the world sees you as when your name is searched. It is about your personal image to the social world. Again there are whole businesses created around this perceived importance of the “personal brand.”
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
I woke up thinking about this idea of branding, and I am not sure that I agree with it. As a Christian, if my life reflects my heart, my heart should reflect Christ. We are called to be imitators of Christ. Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. (Ephesians 5:1 NLT)
Yes, He made us each unique, with goals and purposes He designed for us. We, however have a larger purpose. Our purpose as followers of Christ is to reflect Him to the world around us. We are called to reflect God’s glory, not our own. People should be pointed to Christ through our actions, not attracted to an individual.
Maybe I have thought about this too much now. But I believe that God branded us at salvation and that everything about us should point to Him. If I am looking for self glory and recognition, pride is in my heart. If people can recognize me due to anything other than Christ, I have failed at reflecting Him.
We are all One Body, made up of many members. Imagine if I took a picture of my big toe or just one of my eyes and said “This is me.” It is a true statement, but if I was branded and that is all you see, it would not reflect the totality of who I am. He made me in His image, and while I might reflect some characteristics of Him better than others, the image I am to portray is His.
So I probably will not get on the personal branding bandwagon. I know I am not perfect, and that at times I fail to reflect the qualities of Christ. But my hope is that to the world around me, and those who know me online, that more often than not they recognize Christ in me. I hope that even if they don’t remember my name, my story, or how we met, they know that they encountered Christ when our paths crossed. Then I will know that despite my personal shortcomings, I reflected the brand that Christ paid for me to have.