What are four or five adjectives that other people would use to describe the character and behavior of you and your friends? What distinguishes your lifestyle as a follower of Jesus?
Back in the 14th century, King Edward 1 of England announced that all gold, silver, and precious metals had to be tested and approved by his master craftsmen before being offered to the public for sale. He said that all artists and blacksmiths had to bring their metal goods to the palace to be checked. If the materials received a “thumbs up,” the wares were ready for the marketplace. They then received a special seal of approval from the master craftsman in the palace hall. The seal was called the hallmark.
A hallmark is an official mark or series of marks put on items made of precious metals such gold, silver, or platinum. In a general sense, the word hallmark can also be used to refer to any distinguishing characteristic or trait. Today hallmark is used more commonly to describe great talent, quality, innovation, or creativity. It is a word that infers excellence, great workmanship, and a superior rating.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to model a Christ-like quality of life and shared community. We are supposed to reflect an impression of our relationship with God, as well as our relationships with other Christ-followers. If we are growing in our knowledge of and love for God, the way we treat others will be one of our hallmarks. Similarly, our level of unity and maturity with other Christians will be a hallmark of our corporate witness. Jesus did say in John 13:35, that “others will know that we are His followers by our love for one another.”
Read Colossians 3:1-17. The apostle Paul’s statements indicate the believer’s position in Christ: raised with Christ (v 1); a new mind-set (v 2); dead to sin and hidden with Christ (v 3); he or she has taken off the old self (v 9), and put on the new self (v 10). Because of what God did, Christ followers should put to death (or refrain from) the old way of life (v 5-9). Paul says we are to take off dirty clothes and put on clean ones as we renounce our old evil ways and live as children of light in alignment with the rule of His Kingdom.
Paul’s list of Christian hallmarks included “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (v 12). These qualities will pour out of our lives like gold and silver when our relationship with the Lord is strong and healthy, and our mutually dependent relationships with Christians are supportive and nurturing.
We can be poor followers who tend to go off by ourselves, lose our bearings, and need help to stay on the course Jesus showed. That is why we can’t walk alone. He meant for us to stick close to one another. Jesus promised to get all of us to the finish line together. Ultimately we will bear the unmistakable marks of a people who have been transformed by Jesus Himself.
Take a moment and examine the quality of your life and friendships with other Christians? How do the two of them measure up to Paul’s description in Colossians 3? Do others see a clear sign and example of God’s work in you? Does the collective witness of you and your friends bear the mark of being “Jesus people?” How can you and your pals exhibit more Christ-like words and actions? Live communally. We are responsible to live like Jesus and help each other. What hallmark would your fellow students give to the members of your Chi Alpha chapter?
Love is a verb,