They are trying to sell shoes with a slogan about personal sacrifice. “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” They are using the face of a football player who sacrificed his career for his personal beliefs about an oppressive government. Not a new concept. Christians had that before the swoosh.
Even before His death, Christ was speaking about the cost of being His disciple. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself” (Luke 9:23-25)? Jesus is saying that if you are going to be His follower, you are going to forfeit everything. Even your own identity will be changed to look like one who carried a cross.
In the early church, the apostles continued teaching this message of self sacrifice. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20). And again, “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8). This type of sacrifice was not just made by the apostles. The early church suffered hardship, persecution, imprisonment for beliefs, seizure of property, and they comforted one another in these things (Heb. 10:32-34). For the early church, belief in Christ and faithful service did cost everything, but they gained so much more.
“He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:25-26). It is easy to see that a life lived as a disciple was never intended to be an easy path or one of little resistance. We are not championing some social injustice with our suffrage. We are part of calling a lost world out of darkness into His marvelous light. We get to be a part of God’s redeeming plan for mankind. We preach the greatest justice of the One who can make a difference. We must not get sucked into the swoosh type things of this world. We must realize that we are a part of something so much bigger. Even if we are made to suffer. The reward is so much greater than shoes.