While on the phone recently with an attorney, the subject of trademarks came up. In the course of conversation I learned a new term, as I often do when speaking to anyone in the legal profession.
It was the term “acquired distinctiveness.” It’s associated with trademarks. You see, a trademark with no particular distinctiveness – nothing necessarily original about it – can be registered at a later time if proven that consumers associate the mark with a specific source or brand, or it’s connected with a specific service. In other words, it can receive the trademark if proven the item has acquired a sense of distinctiveness about it.
After my brief education in legalese, I thought about our journey from born sinner to forgiven sinner. We all start out with the same slate – born broken and with a sinful heart in a broken and sinful world. Aw, man! That sounds pretty bleak. And it is, but here’s the dessert after the liver and onions: the beginning point to acquiring distinctiveness is by proclaiming our faith and letting the Spirit in our hearts. We can be a source of light to others, a distinctive ray that allows them to escape from the dark that is holding them back. In this case, acquired distinctiveness is a choice and not a task.
So how does this make us distinctive?
Ask the person who has seen a change in you.
Ask the person you have been there for in a time of need.
Ask the person who was the benefactor of your prayers.
Ask the person who has seen what Christ has done in your life.
Ask the person who is in awe of your faith.
Can’t think of a person to ask any of these samples above? Then perhaps it’s time to make the jump from being lackluster to being distinctive with your faith. And remember, as always, acquisition must be followed by action.
As a Christ-follower, we can acquire distinctiveness – being noticeable, categorical, and decided. There’s still a choice here, however… we can choose to be just like a lame duck mark that’s too ambiguous to receive those two little letters by it, T and M, or the coveted Circle R. Or we can be seen as different (the good kind of different)! We don’t need to brand ourselves in a way that we would have registration symbols after our names, but we do need to stand out as Christians.
This is what we should strive for as leaders in our homes, and among our friends, family, and peers. We should seek out acquired distinctiveness in how we show and share our faith. To take possession of a special quality or uniqueness that is our faith is Christlike. And that should be what it is all about.
How will you be distinctive through Christ and make your faith your personal style? This is a serious part to being an active Christian.
Live your faith.
Talk is cheap and result-free.
Sidenote: If you are reading this and feel you are surrounded by darkness – have hope because you too can obtain this same distinctiveness! We are all sinners and broken, however, we can all be healed. Contact myself or Erica Pearson if you want to talk one-on-one: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.