You Are What You Do

shadow_figure_440Who are you? Are you a compilation of ideas and beliefs?

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.

Who Are You Becoming?

FINGERPRINTFacebook changed the layout on my profile the other day, and one of the things it does is make ‘notes’ you have written somewhat more prominent. Because of this, I found several notes I had written back in 2009 and earlier.

They were about topics like evolution, the environment, abortion, etc.

Here’s the fun part about these notes that I wrote: As I was reading them, I mostly disagreed with them.

That excites me so much.

Why? Because that means I am growing. I am changing. I’m not the same person I was 4, 5 , 6 years ago.

That’s a good thing, because I wasn’t perfect 4, 5 or 6 years ago. I had areas of my life that needed to change, and needed to grow.

I hope that 5 years from now, as I’m reading my tumblr/wordpress archive, I find some posts that I think are silly, just like I now think my facebook notes are silly.

Growth and change are so important to me because I know I’m not just like Jesus yet. In fact, I have a ways to go in order to get to that point. To be honest, I’ll probably never actually reach that goal. But I can grow closer than where I’m at now.

I find that my hard edge of theological rigor has been supplanted by humility and love.

I’m spending less time trying to be superior, and more time trying to be relatable.

I’ve learned that you can’t argue people into the kingdom of God, but you can love them into it.

Yesterday, I read this in Romans 2:4 (MSG) - “God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness, he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.”

I look back at my life and I see that I’m not the same that I was. I realize that I am becoming something other than I was. And that speaks to God in my life.

Because people rarely change, but when they do, it’s almost never on their own.

If I’m different, I believe it’s because I have invited God to be a part of my life. And he loves me enough to not leave me the same as he found me.

Please forgive me for all my imperfections, and in the areas where I am getting it wrong. Because the most important thing about me is is this:

I am becoming more like Jesus.

As you open your life to him, I know you are too.