December 11, 2018

“We Are What We Repeatedly Do”


By Jarrod Jacobs

The title for this article is part of a larger quote from a man long dead. When we think about the statement, “We are what we repeatedly do”, it certainly states the truth. Our habits have a great impact upon our lives. More than this, I see this statement as a good explanation for why God continues to emphasize the need for man being faithful to Him.

Throughout the New Testament, we read about the need for God’s people to continually follow Christ with obedient faith. Inherent in this is the need for patience, or endurance, as well as strength and courage when times get hard. Let us read some of these passages together.

  • “…he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 10:22, 24:13).
  • “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
  • “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (Rom. 2:7).
  • “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off” (Rom. 11:22).
  • “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).
  • “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9).
  • “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Tim. 4:16).
  • “And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb. 3:5-6).
  • “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:25).
  • “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father” (1 John 2:24).
  • “…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).
  • From this small sampling of passages, we see a pattern, do we not? God wants us to continue in a certain manner of life. Why does He want this? It is because as we have already noted, “We are what we repeatedly do.” The man or woman who dies in sin has done so because he or she lived in sin (John 8:24; Col. 3:7). In contrast, the man or woman who dies in the Lord (Rev. 14:13) has done so because he or she lived in the Lord!

Thus, the question must be answered by each one of us: “What do we repeatedly do?” If we do not like what we are becoming, then it is time to stop what we are currently doing and start doing something else—repeatedly–until the habit is formed!


The full quote from which I got the title for this article comes from Aristotle (384-322 B.C.). He said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Now, pay attention to the rest of the quote. “Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

After a study like this, may we appreciate just how true these words are. The apostle Paul told the Philippians, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:10). May we also then resolve to make excellence a habit by making the ultimate decision to become a Christian (Acts 2:38) and live faithfully to the God of Heaven (1 Cor. 15:58). A life spent in repeatedly doing what God says will not be a wasted life.

Source: The Old Paths (10/16/2016)