“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”- 2 Corinthians 5:20
I had the opportunity to speak to a group of college students in Philippi, WV for a Baptist Campus Ministries event (BCM). I have had the pleasure and honor of speaking in front of this group for quite some time now; in fact, this is how Natasha (my wife) found out who I was.
The theme or focus of BCM for this year is encouraging the students to understand their role as ambassadors of Christ. This is the wonderful call that we have to represent Jesus, and speak on His behalf, in order to help people discover the unending love of Jesus, and to live for His glory here on earth.
The challenge I posed to the students, and I now present to the readers here, is: “Are we living out the message we are called to carry?”
This isn’t about being sinless, but living a life that reveals hope, peace, love, and compassion. Are we living life that reveals truth, but empathy for what we do not understand? Are we living a life that demonstrates the change of heart and mind that Christ called His followers to experience?
Basically, what brand of Jesus are we carrying into the world?
In this day and age we have people who claim Christ, but speak hate and separation. We have people in this world who claim to love Jesus, but live a life that demonstrates a love for activities against God (i.e. adultery, taking advantage of neighbors, anger, false idols, etc.). There are people who use Christ to support their political party when He never came to be involved in politics.
We now live in a world where instead of people saying “You’re a Christian? So you are all about caring for the poor and compassion for the weak?” they are saying “Oh…you’re a Christian? So you’re against homosexuality and caring for those who are broken?”
They are beginning to lump all Christians into one category because of a large few who choose to create their own brand of Christ.
So, what should we do?
For those who want to live like Jesus and truly be ambassadors for His message, we need to know what He says. We need to believe in His words of peace. We need to speak in truth to reveal sinful brokenness, but our focus should be on Christ’s redemption and not His supposed condemnation.
He never came to condemn, but to heal. He didn’t come to create separation, but to reveal reconciliation. He never wanted people to hear Him speak and cringe in fear, but to hear His words and react with renewal of heart, mind, and soul.
Our role as ambassadors is to represent His message well in our living, but to also share it the way He taught His disciples to do it.
Which means; we kneel to the ground with people who have hit rock bottom to reveal love and hope (The woman caught in adultery; John 8:1-11). We meet people where they are, in their pain and heartbreak, and reveal the truth of redemption in compassion and peace (The woman at the well; John 4:1-26). We sit with “sinners” and show that we can be with them in their mess (Zacchaeus; Luke 19:1-10).
An ambassador is vital for the person, organization, country, or “brand” that they carry. They can make or break the message of the group they represent. So, the message we carry for the brand of Christ is vital for the growth of the faith.
We need to be aware of what brand we carry of Christ. Are we carrying a branding message that breeds hate and contempt; or a message that creates a bridge for the Creator to reveal the message of hope and reconciliation in the lives of those we are speaking to?
Check your brand. Make sure it fits with the truth. Be aware of those watching you to find out if they want to actually know more about it or pursue a different product.
Let’s carry the brand well.
QUESTION: Have you ever been influenced to purchase an item or not purchase an item due to the branding message on the product or a representative of the product?