How often have I heard the following by a well-meaning, speaker? “You are more than your accomplishments. Your life is not defined by what you do.”
But I beg to differ wit them. We certainly are known and defined by what we do. What we accomplish, what we do, matters.
Have you read, “By their fruits you will know them.” A person reeling off appealing blandishments hasn’t, or if they have they missed the point. You simply, and practically, can’t know a person apart from what they do. To suggest otherwise flies in the face of Jesus’ pithy observation.
Besides which it leaves us without the demand of personal responsibility, and it feeds an erroneous belief that separates a person from their actions. James would have seen this for what it is when he opined that faith without works is dead. A person apart from their actions is a static construction, unknowable.
If I meet someone I truly don’t know them, despite their glowing personality, until I see what they produce in action, and relationships. Without reference points of reality, validation, deception is likely.
We are what we do. The accumulation of a life defines us – not our wishes, resolutions or imaginations.
We can be, and are, loved for whom we are – creatures made in God’s image. But love isn’t meant to incline us towards passivity. On the contrary. It inspires and spurs us towards fruitful action.
God’s final judgment of us is not premised upon a preferential ideal we hold of ourselves, a static theology of being, but upon what we do. For action we receive either commendation or condemnation.