We cannot control what happens to us; the future is not in our hands. We can prepare for it, try to put ourselves in the best possible position to deal with it, but in the end it has how we react to what occurs that shows our heart, who we really are.
That reminds me of the scene in a movie, Batman Begins, about which I wrote in an earlier post (Defined By What We Do).
Rachel Dawes sees Bruce leaving a particularly degenerate dip in a hotel fountain (in order to take pressure off any investigation of his off time and leading people to Batman). He immediately tells Rachel that underneath this bimbo facade he still cares about all the important things. She replies with a cutting comeback.
“Its what you do that defines you.“
How you react, what you do, it is in those moments we are defined. Later in the movie, Bruce/Batman saves Rachael and as he is diving off the building to get the bad guys, he whispers her words back at her as he passes by, Its what you do that defines you.
That is where love is different from a Christian perspective. Love in our popular culture is all about what you feel. Sure, there is a giving aspect, usually focused on gifts and presents, but it is really about the feelings, the emotional moments.
In Christianity, love is about what you do. Agape can be defined as sacrifice in action:
- God so loved the world that he gave…
- …and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
- No one takes it [his life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.
- Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.
Those and many other Scriptures define agape as sacrificial giving, offering yourself for another. Yes, we are defined by what we do, or as I said in the earlier post, What you do tells me who you are.
While God can look directly into our hearts and see our deepest intentions, our willingness to act on what defines us, we are only able to see what people do, the fruit that their heart bears.
So my Christian brothers and sisters, this Lent remember that it is in the doing, as James so forcefully reminded us, that you demonstrate your love, your agape, that show to everyone that you have chosen to act in the footsteps of your Lord.
Grace and peace as you go about your day.