Just about any item can be branded with the logo and name of any company that needs promotion and increased public awareness. These branded merchandise items can immediately draw a connection between the product, the owner of the product, and the company branded on the merchandise. (By the way, I was just kidding about the lions, tigers, and bears thing.) :)
The other day I was wearing a shirt with a huge logo of my employer plastered right on the front. I caught myself driving inattentively in morning traffic and thought, "What if my behavior causes an accident and I have to get out of my car? Everybody will see who I work for and my behavior will reflect very poorly upon my employer."
I work for a great company and don't want my behavior to reflect poorly upon them. After I started paying closer attention to my driving, this situation really got me to thinking...
Merchandise is something that is bought or sold. Branded means merchandise that is given an identifying mark.
Fellow believers... we are branded merchandise!
We were bought:
For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
We are branded with G-d's seal:
Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
We are being utilized by G-d to reflect His glory, His character, and His "brand" into this world... to those who don't know Him or seek after Him (Psalm 14:2-4).
We should seriously consider how we are reflecting G-d.
What kinds of bumper stickers do we have on our cars praising and extolling G-d? What message does it send if we are speeding or driving aggressively? How is our bad behavior reflected back to G-d and upon other believers?
What about if we share an off-color joke with coworkers when they know we claim to be one of G-d's children? How does that reflect on G-d's "brand image"... on His Name?
We should consider how we are honoring G-d:
How do I speak to others? With graciousness, kindness and patience?
What do I say? Am I honest, upright, and truthful?
How do we dress, what music do we listen to, what movies do we watch, and what books we read? How do our choices and our actions reflect upon G-d's character?
We dishonor G-d when we behave in ways that do not accurately reflect the truth of Who He Is: upright, honest, and holy, holy, holy.
We know this but sometimes we need to be reminded of it.
Consider the words of Messiah:
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
We are branded merchandise and we should truthfully reflect the One Who made us what we are: