Parable of a Parody - "Try" (Part 2)

Last week, we talked about how in Pink's song, 'Try', she places the emphasis on “try” (*shocker*). We also talked about how we shouldn't set the ceiling at 'try' concerning our pursuit of imitating Christ; it’s better to see “try” as a progressive means to the “do”.

In addition, we introduced the 3D Principle: Our decisions determine our direction, which ultimately determines our destination.

Tonight we're taking the next step in connecting the “do” to the 'be'. In other words, what's the relationship between who we are and what we do - what are actions are? Are we what we do? Or is what we do a byproduct of who we are...or who we think we are?

You probably have heard the popular phrase: “Be yourself.” I know for me, the expression immediately conjures up a picture of the genie buzzing around Aladdin's ear in attempt to help him realize an important truth. But in a spiritual decapitated society, can you see how subjective this sounds? If you don’t know who you are or where you come from, how can you know to be yourself? (Need a cinematic case study? Watch "Bourne Identity" and you'll find Jason Bourne searching for his identity, while simultaneously defining it).

Granted, there is some merit in the phrase, but it’s still weak due to its conditionality. Why? Because in today’s world, culture proclaims the lie of: “You are what you do.” If you give, you’re a giver. If you love, you’re a lover. If you murder, you’re a murderer. The secular society we live in loves to put the verb before the noun.

However, in God’s eyes lies the ultimate truth. You are not what you do; you do what you are. In other words, "being" always comes before "doing" (Hello, John 1). God made you out of fullness and integrity by His perfect hands. And you can’t separate this from your identity. Is it possible to pave over goodness with sin? Is it possible to forsake a solid foundation by giving in to deadly habits? Absolutely. But you can’t change the fact that God created man out of purity, out of goodness, out of love – with every spiritual fruit and BE-attitude. It’s no surprise a relative world predicated on the relativism hates the Gospel.

The world would love to deceive you into seeing this “being vs. doing” argument as a two-way street. But it would be foolish to voluntarily accept this idea. For before we did anything, we already were. Yet, can we really find this surprising? If we read the intro of John, we see how God was before He did (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”). Now, I don’t want to blow your mind up here, but the bottom line is: Being comes before doing. If God created us in His own likeness, then the same concept applies to us as well.

Need evidence? Let’s take a look in the Bible, where we find numerous references of God knowing exactly who we were going to be before the beginning of time:

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." ~ Jeremiah 1:5

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." ~ Psalm 139:13-16

If God created us, does it not make sense to trust in His perfect roadmap concerning how we should “be”? After all, how we should “be” has already been modeled to us. So it makes no sense why we equate “being” to “doing”. Why? Because “doing” fits within our free will, while “being” transcends it. Furthermore, God’s definition of “being” is living a life connected to His sovereignty (His supremacy, His kingship) - a lifeline connecting our hearts to His.

Illustration: Think of “being” as a heart, and “doing” as hands and feet. Both need each other, but if one had to go, there’s only one option if you want to keep living.

Still, we need to be careful in how we perceive the relationship between “being” and “doing”. You’ve heard of people who think all it takes to get to heaven is “doing” good works. But what does the Bible say about where good works lead us?

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.“ ~ James 2:14-17 (ESV)

What James is saying is: you can’t save yourself with good works alone. In other words, good works isn’t the source of our salvation, but is a byproduct. Who were are is directly joint to God’s grace as ones who are saved first and foremost, and “good workers” is an outflow – a secondary feature of who we are.

Without grace, without prioritized faith, the script of life becomes flipped on its head, setting the stage for people to believe a costly lie: that there is more than one way to heaven. Truth is the only way to heaven is through Christ alone (John 14:6).

“Doing” can’t be equated or placed in front of “being”, otherwise, we risk losing who we are for the sake of legalism or complacency. For instance, a person can be on the road to holiness and still fall short. On the flip side, a non-believer can be on the highway to hell and still be able to do something good every now and then. Point is our actions do not give us our identity, but our identity gives motivation to our actions. In other words, our identity in Christ gives our actions an identity in turn!

The debate may seem like 'chicken vs. egg' to you, but truth is: how we “are” and how we should “be” comes from knowing who we are, which can only come from knowing more of who God is. The more we seek God and seek to understand the “what's” and “why's” of our faith, the more we find ourselves and how we ought to be. And when we start to understand how we ought to be, we find the inspiration to do the right thing, accompanied with a rejuvenated ability to abide by the 3D Principle.

Note: It’s remarkable how everything is ultimately traced back to the essentiality of knowing God and how living for Him is breathing.

Power Up: Where do you find Pink’s song, “Try” in all of this? What are some other problems young people have with knowing who they are? Why do you think it’s so easy to be confused?

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