One who does Christian things is not necessarily a Christian. One who is a Christian though, will do Christian things. This is an important consideration for every person who does Christian things. Ask yourself, in all your Christian activities, why do you do them?

It is easy to be deceived in these things. We might not even fully perceive our motives at times. Why do you do so many Christian things? Do you do so because of your upbringing, or perhaps out of habit? Do you do so because of ‘mere obedience’ to the commands in Scripture? Do you do so because of guilt or pressure from others? Why do you do all the Christian things that you do?

The focus up to now in this devotional has really been all wrong. Christians are ultimately not defined by what they do, but by what they are. In Christianity, to do is not necessarily to be, but to be is always to do, and so the more important emphasis is on what you are. Are you a Christian?

In Christianity, to do is not necessarily to be, but to be is always to do.

To answer that we look, not to the commands of the Bible and our performance of them, but to the acts of God and us as the recipients of His deeds. Are you spiritually alive and sensitive (Col 2:13)? Are your sins forgiven (Ps 32:1)? Are you believing (John 3:16)? Are you attracted by the light (John 3:21)? Are you being changed into Christ-likeness (2 Cor 3:18)?

Perhaps a helpful distinction between merely doing Christian things and actually being a Christian, is to think of the comparison of the law about sin and the law of the Spirit in Romans 8:1-11. Are you merely dotting your law-keeping i’s and crossing your law-abiding t’s, or are you walking by the Spirit, and thereby experiencing no condemnation, and perfected righteousness?

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Romans 8:12-15 (ESV)