"Brands" and "badges" want to shape our lifestyle, influence our decisions, and create expectations. Groceries are loaded up with badges that appear to indicate purity and health but are in fact usually advertising schemes. Here are 3 badges that mean nothing!
• "all-natural" affixed to products whose ingredients include high fructose corn syrup, cellulose (which is made from non-toxic wood pulp or cotton), sodium injections, and natural fruit flavors (which are chemical creations NOT made from the fruit their flavor imitates).
• "hormone free" on poultry even though the FDA has banned hormones in poultry for decades
• "free range" has no definition. It literally means the animal in question has had outdoor exposure not that it has been happily running in fields till butchered!
Brands want to help us define our life-style. Apple wants us to believe they care more about our experience than their profits (which include $152 billion in cash assets) and a simple Google search will yield 23.4 million hits on Rolex watch knock-offs!
The truth is that we frequently take pride and find security in our badges and brands. Paul recognizes this when he addresses the Jews who take pride in their "brand" (we are Jews- God's chosen people) and their "badge" (circumcision). Faith, life, and relationships are not measured or secured by external branding and badges. Our lives are measured by a heart whose brand and badge is the ruinous love of God through Jesus Christ who died on the cross for us.