Countless times I've heard, read or felt this idea that we must be more focussed on our being, than our doing. Pastors, authors, mentors remind us faithfully..."it's not what you do that matters most, it's who you are!"
Sounds so right. I can't count how many times I've pushed myself and others out of performance based identity and into God-based identity. I'm a believer. God's gaze toward us is because of who he sees us to be, never what we do. Try as you may, you'll never find true identity or security through religious acts and self righteous performance.
However...I think I'm making a mistake on this one. A common mistake I've made too many times. You don't have to criticize one thing to accept another. Two seemingly opposing things can be simultaneously true.
I've decided that DOING matters too!
Brennan Manning writes that "what we do may be far more decisive and far more expressive of the ultimate truth of who we are in Christ than anything else."
Who we are can be elusive. What we do is clear and observable. Jesus always reinforced his words with deeds.
Genuinely knowing who we are in Christ leads to deep transformation, and this transformation leads to doing a lot of things we wouldn't have done before. Like extending friendship to someone everyone else rejects. Or quickly forgiving your offender before they've even asked. Or taking a gift to someone who hurt you. True followership of Jesus isn't about shrinking away into yourself, sure of his love...you and him in your little secret romance. No. It's about following his radical ideas, like loving your enemies and carrying another mans burden twice as far as he asked you to. Doing. In fact, if we wrote out all the "doing" Jesus commanded, it would be a long list.
Manning continued to say that "the Christian commitment is not an abstraction. It's a concrete, visible, courageous, and formidable way of being in a world forged by daily choices consistent with inner truth."
If you really want to know what a person believes, don't just listen to what he says, watch what he does. And while we encourage people into Godly identity, let's be sure we don't discourage radical kingdom DOING. We need both!