Rachel: You could die. At least tell me your name.
Batman: It’s not who I am underneath but what I do that defines me.
The above dialogue is from a great scene in Batman Begins. Earlier in the film, in an attempt to defend himself to Rachel, Bruce says that there’s more to him beneath the surface. Rachel counters by telling Bruce that it’s what we do that defines us.
That isn’t just true for super heroes; it’s also true for followers of Jesus.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus echoes Rachel’s sentiments.
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
In a warning about false prophets, Jesus communicates a principal that has much further reaching implications. According to Jesus the fruit of our lives, what we do, matters. It isn’t just enough to say that we believe in Jesus or that we want to be his followers; we have to prove it with our lives.
It is true that we are saved by grace and there is no amount of fruit that can redeem us. However, the grace that saves us should also produce fruit in our lives. The gospel isn’t just about eternal life when we die; it’s about living our eternal lives now. The gospel is about expressing the Kingdom of God in all that we do, not just telling people that we’re citizens of that kingdom.
Underneath everything he said about himself, Bruce Wayne truly defined himself by what he did as Batman. Thankfully we don’t have to put on a mask in order to identify ourselves with Christ. We can simply live our lives like Christ, making choices every day that honor him.
Luckily we can make those choices for Christ and still talk in the Batman voice.
What do you want to define you?