Christians and Time Management
June 20, 2024

Logo of Jesus

By Bassem Melki

Adidas’s logo that we know today as three steps  started in 1949 as three stripes on sports shoes, then changed into three leaves (the trefoil) in 1972, and finally in 1997 became the version we know today. When we see the adidas logo on a product, we trust the quality of the product.

A logo creates a visual symbol that represents a business and connects to people’s memory. A logo can communicate a lot about the identity of the company it represents: Google has playful basic colors, FedEx shows speed, and Adidas shows performance and the perseverance of climbing over obstacles. So, the logo serves as an identification for the product but also for the kind of client need they aim to serve.

However, today we see fake brands creating similar names (such as Abidas), who piggyback off of the real thing to trick customers into thinking they are buying good quality products. People are then very disappointed.

I hope you get where I am going with this.

Logo comes from the Greek word logos, meaning “word.” This reminds me of Jesus as the Word (John 1:1) that became flesh. The Word was with God and was God. Jesus is the Logo of God. Certainly, Jesus is more than a logo, since He shares the same identity with God, and we affirm that He is God. But Jesus is also God’s Logo, because He represents God in everything He is. Paul says to the Colossians that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15). Jesus represents the Maker and the Creator, the Father. Jesus Himself says, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-10). And Jesus also represents the client (humankind): “And the Word became flesh” (John 1:14). Jesus is the ultimate logo. Whatever we see and experience in Him, is what we know of God.

Let me take this a little further and ask who represents Jesus on earth today? The Church, as His body. Paul says, “Now YOU are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Cor 12:27). In his letter to the Colossians Paul says that Jesus “is also the head of the body, the church” (Col 1:18). Today the Church is the logo, the emblem of Christ. What people see and experience in the Church will impact how they see Jesus. This is a big responsibility that we cannot take lightly. One person said, “Many people come to Christ because of Christians; and many people leave because of Christians.”

What is the one identification that, when people see it in Christians or in churches, will help them experience the real Christ? “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). There are many other beautiful virtues that Jesus carries in His nature, like integrity, justice, holiness, goodness… and yet He chose love to be the identification that represents the presence of Christ in our lives. Why? Because the new commandment “to love” is defined by Christ’s own love. We are to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters as He did (1 John 3:16).

Could it be that some Christian communities give people a fake experience, leaving them disappointed in Christ and in the work of the Gospel?

The love that defines a Christian identity serves as a powerful witness to the world. It is through love that Christians can effectively communicate the Gospel of Jesus, embodying the message they proclaim. The foundation of Christian love is firmly rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ, who emphasized love as the greatest commandment. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus states: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:37-39). These commandments encapsulate the essence of Christian love, highlighting the importance of loving God and extending that love to others. Paul says, “Serve one another through love… If you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. So I say, walk by the Spirit” (Gal 5:13-16).

The one identification, above all, that a Christian should be known for is love. And that is achieved, according to Paul, by walking in the Spirit. In the first letter of John, he says that no one has ever seen God, but God will be visible in us if we love one another (1 John 4: 12). Moreover, John says that the children of God are known by their love for one another: “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother and sister” (1 John 3:10).

Both Paul and John warn us in these verses of what we can become when we do not have love for one another. Have some Christians and churches today lost their love appeal? Partisanship, strife, unresolved conflict, abuse of power and authority, and self-centeredness can devour our communities, and then, sadly, these things will shape the logo, the representation of Christ.

In a world where identities are multifaceted and constantly evolving, the essence of what it means to be a Christian remains grounded in a singular, transformative principle: love. A Christian’s identity is not the denomination, or sect, or political party, or institution, or race, or color… Love, as the identity of a Christian, is not an emotion or a fleeting sentiment but a guiding force that shapes every aspect of a believer’s life. It brings about a change of heart, a renewal of mind, and a reorientation of life’s priorities.

Love is the only thing that if we do and be, will never fail.

Paul’s declaration that “Love never fails” in 1 Corinthians 13:8 is a profound statement that underscores the enduring and transcendent nature of love within the Christian faith.

Paul addresses the Corinthian church, which was experiencing divisions and conflicts over the use and importance of various spiritual gifts. In this chapter, Paul seeks to redirect their focus from the gifts themselves to the underlying principle that should govern their use.

Paul highlights that while spiritual gifts such as prophecy, tongues, and knowledge are important, they are temporary and partial. These gifts will eventually cease or become unnecessary. In contrast, love is eternal. He states: “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away” (1 Corinthians 13:8).

It is love that builds lasting relationships and fosters a genuine sense of community. Love’s effects are not transient; they create bonds that withstand trials and challenges. This enduring quality of love ensures that it never fails in achieving its purpose of unity and mutual edification.

Who are the children of God today? Where are the emblems of Christ? They are the ones shining during wars, divisions, hatred, injustice, legalism, racism… They face the challenge of loving their enemies, as Jesus commanded in the Sermon on the Mount: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). This radical love requires a strength and grace that comes from God, challenging believers to transcend their natural inclinations and societal norms.

Amidst a world in need of love, Christians are called to be bearers of this divine nature, embodying the identity that sets them apart and points others to the source of all love, God Himself (John 3:16).

 

Bassem Melki is the director of the Non-Formal Training and Peacemaking Department at ABTS.

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