Are Actions Really That Important? (3 John 11)

            Who are we? This question rings out from the whole of humanity as each man and woman works to discover his or her identity in a chaotic world. When we are children, we are carefree and trusting and we seem to encounter none of life’s crises. When we are older, many of us look into the mirror, not recognizing the person that we have become. The generations today face the greatest crisis that mankind has ever known because nobody knows who they are.

We have heard it said that our actions do not define us, that truth is relative and that purpose is elusive. I am here to say that we are products of our actions, and our actions are products of our relationship with God. It seems that no matter how we might try to deny it, our actions do define us. When we deny that fact, we cannot recognize ourselves for who we are.

“Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.”[1]

Worth of action

There was a time when the American Colonies were under the rule of Britain. Because of certain problems between Britain and the American Colonies, the Revolutionary War began and the American Colonies were on their way to freedom. Today, the United States of America boasts the greatest freedom of all nations on Earth, the most powerful military and one of the wealthiest. Considering where we are and considering our history, it may be safe to assume that the actions of a few had far extending effects on a great many, and indeed over the whole earth.

We should take the phrase: “my actions do not define me” and throw it into the garbage bin of our lives. The actions of every individual are worth more than we could possibly dream and have far-extending implications that no one person could possibly know. Actions are important!

There is this idea that seems to invade the mind of the young man and woman. Each one seems to want to change the world in some manner. Many try and do this by seeking fame or by volunteering at non-profits or even by going to church. I want to promote the idea that each and every person changes the world each and every day simply by living and making choices. To do, or not to do? We will either change the world for the better, or for the worse. All actions have a worth that is far greater than we could ever think possible.

We are what we do

Actions not only change the world, but they define people. A murderer is called a murderer because he has committed murder. A thief is a thief because he has stolen. A liar is a liar because he has lied. A soldier is a soldier because he fights for his country. A doctor is a doctor because he has earned a PhD. A student is a student because he goes to school. An athlete is an athlete because he does athletics. Whatever a person is, it seems to be defined by what he does.

As John writes to his friend Gaius, he mentions that the one who does good is of God and the one who does evil has not seen God. We are people of God when we do good according to God’s standard of good. For, how can people be of God and not have God’s heart? It seems an impossibility.

Consider the basketball player. His heartbeat is one with the team. While they are on the court, they have the same goal and, as a team, the players have the same methods to achieve that goal. Off the court, the team practices as one team and each player follows the same rules off the court. The team has one heart, and it would be difficult to say that anyone who doesn’t share those goals and method and rules is part of the team.

The same is true of the one who knows God. He is part of a team that has a goal and a method and a set of rules according to which he lives his life. Those who do good are of God. Those who do evil have not seen God.

On sanctification

            This being said, I know for certain that I am not perfect. I do some good, but I sometimes do evil according to the standard that God has given. In those moments, I must admit that I do not see God. For, if I did I would have His heart and I would do good. If I must see God, and indeed be of God to do good then there is one very important realization that I must make. I cannot do good on my own. Romans 8:29 tells me that I am being conformed to the image of Christ, the messiah. I find that I have given my life to God, to do with as He sees fit, yet I still struggle with evil. I do more good, but I still struggle with evil. When I do evil, God’s corrective voice is always there, convicting me of the wrong in my life.

There are times when I do not have the heart of God and in those moments I realize that God is really working to change my heart and to make me more like Him. God’s correction in my life is evidence that I belong to Him. The fact that I want to do good according to God is evidence of His work in my life. If anyone ever doubts his salvation, let him look toward the evidential change and conviction in his life. If there is no conviction, there may be no relationship.



            We are not perfect, but God is conforming our hearts to His own. As a result, we should do more and more good as our hearts are conformed more to the heart of God. Our actions do matter and they do define us. Right now I am asking all who read this: WHO ARE YOU? Should the Christian people continue to be wells without water? No. Let us do good.

“In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”[2]

[1] 3 John 11 (HCSB)

[2] Matthew 5:16 (HCSB)

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