What if I were to say to you that God cares less about what we do and more about who we are? When questioned about the importance of the Old Testament law, Jesus responded like this: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Jesus' response leads us to focus on what is at the heart of the biblical code of conduct: relationship. God is far more concerned about where we receive our identity than about what we do, because an accurate, educated biblical identity informs our behavior. Love is the product of relationship, not the product of a code of conduct. True love is experienced when one's identity is rooted in a relational connection with Jesus Christ. Outside of this, love is empty and has no meaning.
There is a second story from the life of Jesus that helps to frame up my thoughts regarding this subject matter. Here is the account from the book of Mark 12:41-43:
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came in and put in tow very small copper coins worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything - all she had to live on.
There are two central characters to this story. The rich man is looking to project the image of generosity, but it is the widow that personifies it. What is the difference between the two? Believe it or not, it's not about the sum of money, but about the condition of the giver's heart. The widow gave not out of compulsion or notoriety, but out of a desire to be generous. The rich man did not share this desire; his desire was rooted in being seen. This is the key difference between who we are and what we do. Just because we act generous does not mean we are truly generous. True generosity comes out of an identity that has been reshaped by an encounter with the love of God.
A life that has been reshaped is a life that is focused on the growth of character. Who we are online and offline demonstrates what is truly important to us. What does your life say about you?