What You Do Doesn’t Define You

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

– Ephesians  2:8,9

Well, the holidays are over and by today, many of you will have resumed a daily routine. You may go back to your office and be bombarded by an inbox full of messages from people who need something from you. There might even be a temptation to get overwhelmed and to start off the year discouraged. If you feel this way, I beg you to remember this one thing: you are not what you do. Even if you are still on vacation and the inevitable return to the grind hasn’t hit yet, I encourage you to meditate on this important thought.

Many people who grew up with a religious background get kind of freaked out when they hear that they are not what they do. In fact, I was once asked to speak at a huge event being held by a really large and influential church, and before I went on stage, one of the pastors said to me that I couldn’t tell the audience that they are not what they do. This gave me an opportunity to explain to him what I mean when I say that. In essence, not being what you do is just another way of saying that you are saved by grace and not by works. When the Apostle Paul originally wrote those words in Ephesians, he did so in everyday language that could be easily understood by his reader. This is how Biblical truth should be. When we say things like “by grace and not works,” it’s easy to get lost in thick theological terminology so that the concept doesn’t move from our heads to our hearts.

Friend, I desperately want you to receive this truth and to walk every day in its reality — you are not what you do, but you will do great things! Yes, the things you do matter and they are part of the legacy that God has called you to, but they do not define you. Your worth is found in the person of Jesus Christ; He is your identity and the source of all your accomplishments. He has called you to change the world, but as counterintuitive as it seems, you do that first and foremost by resting in Him. If you feel overwhelmed and unable to catch up, relax in His sufficiency and know that He is pleased with you right now (and always). You are His beloved child and He loves you just as you are, not as you should be. Isn’t that amazingly wonderful news?


Jesus, as I return to my routine, I claim the truth that I am not what I do. No matter what comes my way today, I believe that I am loved and accepted by you.


How do you react when you hear the phrase “I’m not what I do?” Do you believe it?

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