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Thursday, June 20, 2013

What's your trademark?

Have you ever stopped to consider what a trademark is?  It distinguishes something from all the other "somethings" which are in our midst, right?  You think of the red soda can with the white little swirl and what immediately comes to mind?  Coca-Cola, right?  If I were to have you picture a red sign with a huge yellow "M" on it, you'd immediately recognize it as McDonald's restaurant.  We distinguish something by its trademark - it sets it apart from the rest.  What happens when someone changes their packaging of their product?  People go nuts trying to find it!  They don't recognize it even though it is right on the shelf in front of them because the "remembered" symbol is no longer there!  This is why most manufacturers don't mess with a good thing!  Have you ever stopped to consider what God's trademarks are?  What is it which sets him out from the rest of the "gods" we could serve in life?  What is it which makes him "distinguishable" in our lives?

“Don’t let the wise brag of their wisdom.  Don’t let heroes brag of their exploits.  Don’t let the rich brag of their riches.  If you brag, brag of this and this only:  That you understand and know me.  I’m God, and I act in loyal love.   I do what’s right and set things right and fair, and delight in those who do the same things.  These are my trademarks.”  (Jeremiah 9:23-24 MSG)

According to what God told Jeremiah, loyal love, doing what's right and fair, setting things right - these are his trademarks.  Now, it may not seem like much, but if you want to really get to "recognize" God from all the rest of the voices you hear in your head, you might just want to get to know his trademarks!  The little voice which tells you to respond with unkind words is not his - it is yours!  That little voice which tells you to pick a fight is not his, its yours!  The little voice which encourages you to compromise just a little is not his, it is yours!  What God says will always be consistent with his character (his trademarks).  

We "brag" on a lot of things, don't we?  We get a new car and for about the first month or so not one piece of bird poop can be found on it, the inside is immaculate, and the wheels shine with the high gloss of new rubber.  We take everyone out to the garage to show it off - pointing out all the bells and whistles.  We "brag" on it a little.  When our child brings home a 4.0 grade average, perfect attendance, and exemplary comments about his/her behavior toward others, something happens inside us, does it not.  Those mom and dad chests just push out a little further and we get all kinds of giddy over having such a wonderful child.  We even proudly display the bumper sticker on our new cars which lets he world know we have a "champ" of a kid!

I wonder how many of us actually brag about knowing God and what it is he has done in our lives?  We brag (boast) about the stuff which has no real permanence in our lives, but often neglect to even speak of the things which will never leave us wanting.  Look again at the list of what makes God "boast-worthy".  First, he has this tremendously loyal love.  If you have ever loved someone, you know it has some ups and downs, right?  Most of the time when the things are going "good" in the relationship, we'd say we'd never change things in a million years.  Let some rough times and difficulty come in the relationship and our love is put to the test.  Sometimes it doesn't fair too well.  Why?  Because we haven't learned the loyalty of love - it goes beyond the usual and normal into the realm of the consistency of commitment.  Commitment has a sticking power.  God's love is committed love - it goes through the rough places with us, knowing full-well the good places will come again.

Second, he has this way of setting things right.  Not just right, but fair.  Do you think that is an unusual combination of words to describe how God deals with his kids?  I don't because God knows what we see as "right" we may not always see as "fair".  We are always making judgments about what is "right" and when we see something as "right" we usually say it is fair.  Truth be told, sometimes what is right may seem a little "unfair" to us!  But...God is all about both - fairness and setting things right.  When we don't get what we deserve (grace and mercy), he is setting things right, and he is being "fair".  In other words, he won't let an injustice be done when it comes to his kids.  We are placed in the position of being made right, and in turn, he also puts us in a position of favor.  That is what fairness has to do with God's grace - it puts us back into a place of favor.

It may not seem like much, but getting to know the trademarks of our God's love is pretty important.  It helps us filter out the voices which are not really pointing us toward loyalty in our love, fairness in our dealings, or excellence in our standing.  Wouldn't it be nice to reflect his trademarks in our lives?  Just sayin!