Are you defined by your potential or your intentions?
I would argue that you are defined by your actions. That you are what you do.
I've heard many celebrity apologies who, after doing something terrible, like uttering hateful speech, or drinking while driving, or abusing a girlfriend - they say something to the effect of 'this isn't who I am'.
But that's ridiculous. If you drink and drive, you're a drunk driver. If you speak with bigoted language, you are a bigot.
For my part I can say and do arrogant and prideful things. No matter how much I don't want it to be true, that makes me an arrogant and prideful person.
Now, I'm not saying we can't change and leave behind the parts of us that we no longer want to identify us, but that's not the point of this post.
My point is that we are what we do.
In the book of Revelation, chapter 5, we encounter a scroll in heaven.
All heaven and earth is searched, and nobody is found who is worth to open the scroll.
But then, one is found. It is Jesus. And here is how he is identified:
"...Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered..." (5:12)
Jesus was worthy to open the scrolls because of what he did.
I want to make it clear that Jesus is not being given this honor because he was a victim.
In Matthew 26:53, we are clearly told that Jesus was never out of control of his own execution. He had the ability to pull the plug at any time.
So Jesus being the Lamb who was slaughtered isn't about what happened to him, but rather his choice to accept it.
He was not a victim, he was a sacrifice.
It was through that sacrifice that he brought redemption.
Jesus' actions made him worthy.
His actions become how he is identified.
Instead of spending time telling others who we are, let us show them.
If we say we love people (as Jesus told us to), talk is cheap. If we want to be known as somebody who loves other people, what are the actions in our lives that points to that?
I would suggest that we look for places to sacrifice, as there is really no better way to demonstrate our values than when we give of the resources we cherish most deeply - our time, our efforts and energy, in the most extreme case, our lives.
I heard it said in the past week that if you want your life to matter, find the things you would be willing to die for, and start to live for those things.
Jesus both lived and died for our redemption. He is identified by his ultimate act, but also by all that is before that. Before being slaughtered, his actions demonstrate that he is the Lamb. That his worth is incredibly great by his innocent love for God and other people.
Again, it is what Jesus did that defines him.
Let us ask what our actions say about us.