Catchphrases, otherwise called slogans abound in all spheres of human existence—-from Politics to Sports. “Just do it!” and “Yes we can!” are to name but two examples. And regardless of their origin, two things give every slogan momentum. First, a slogan is coined to express a principle or belief or goal. “Good people, great nation!” is one example. Second, most slogans are inherently memorable, which is why they are often chanted.
There’s a downside to slogans, however. Owing to their ease of being memorized, slogans have the tendency to become popular and easily clichéd—-the point at which people repeat a slogan as a mantra—-without even thinking about it. What’s worse, a slogan that has attained cliché status “has lost its original effectiveness or power from overuse” (Encarta English Dictionary).
Slogans can be a boon when they are used intentionally and purposefully, and with clarity about their original meaning and purpose. For example, Nike’s (Nike Air) ubiquitous “Just Do It!” slogan, which has the clear purpose of motivating athletes (and, by extension all who admire the ideals of athletics) to success, will be more beneficial to a speaker (and hearer) if they understand the slogan’s original purpose to motivate.
Thus, understanding the meaning and purpose of a slogan is what allows the speaker to achieve meaningful results with it. And nowhere is this painstaking approach more important than in the Christian circle, since the speaking of frivolous or idle words is discouraged (Matthew 12:36).
Given the imperative to use a slogan purposefully as a device to accomplish something specific as opposed to using it like a mantra, Olusegun Martins Th.D., Registrar at God’s Army Bible College, Lagos advises people to reach for a heart-mouth synergy when they use a slogan, in order to accomplish the purpose of such a slogan.
He says: “There has to be a connection between your heart and your mouth. That’s simply the expression of faith. That’s how it works. You must have faith in what you’re saying for it to come to pass. And if you don’t believe in what you’re saying it may not happen. You must believe it. Even God watches over His word to ensure it comes to pass.”
Evidently, it will be somewhat of a nullity to just repeat a slogan, especially a Christian slogan like “Power-in-the-Word!” without understanding its original import, or worse, to say it frivolously as a cliché, without a deliberate expectation for it to accomplish a specific purpose. It is needful, as a result, to pay more heed and be deliberate in the use of slogans, especially those derived from scripture, like our home-grown “Power-in-the-Word!” In our own interest, we must use such a slogan not as a mantra, but conscientiously and meaningfully, always discerning its basis and purpose.