Recently I have been asking this question of myself over and over again, “Who am I?” The reason for the question is the world in which I am living is and has changed so rapidly over the last 20+ years, and the change has not been a positive one. At least, in America.
In America, In the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, “Who am I?”
I was born and reared in Lubbock, Texas which was a city of less than 200 thousand when I left after high school. Those first 20 years were about growing up in a Christian home and from the first week of my life onward to this very moment I have been in a Baptist church. I was born-again and baptized into the First Baptist Church family at the age of 7. At the age of 18 God called me into vocational ministry during a James Robison Crusade at FBC. I recall the voice of God speaking to me almost as if He were sitting next to me in that pew.
In the summer of 1968 I found myself as a Summer Missionary in Winnemucca, Nevada and being mentored by LaVern Inzer, the Home Missionary out there. 10 years later after completing college and seminary studies, the Pine Hill Baptist Church in Sicily Island, Louisiana called me to be their pastor. And I remember thinking as I looked into the faces of those dear people and Aubrey Brooks who was probably 70 years old, “What am I doing as the Pastor of these people and what can I tell them?” From 1968 until 2017 I lived and worked in small-town churches which included a 13-year stint planting churches in Peru.
Today, This is What I Know
And today this is what I know, “Now the church is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. 2 And although you were dead in your offenses and sins, 2 in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path, according to the ruler of the domain of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, 5 even though we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved!” Ephesians 1:23-2:5 NET2.
“Little children, let no one deceive you: The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Jesus is righteous. 8 The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was revealed: to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Everyone who has been fathered by God does not practice sin, because God’s seed resides in him, and thus he is not able to sin, because he has been fathered by God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are revealed: Everyone who does not practice righteousness – the one who does not love his fellow Christian – is not of God.” 1 John 3:7-10.
We who are Followers of the Christ do not live a lifestyle of disobedience by following the forces of evil, the minions of Satan. This is who I am because of the Cross, because of the Christ.
Jesus says a great deal about hypocrisy in Matthew 23 and when I read and study it my heart runs quickly for I sometimes fear that I may fit that description and do not want anyone to think of me in those terms. However, I also know that the task to which I am called will cause people who are not Followers of the Christ to see me as a hypocrite. I confess that I do sin and fall far short of God’s glory, but I also know that when the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, judgment and righteousness my choice to repent is an easy one to make. There is no other choice but to walk His path of righteousness.
Who am I? A citizen of the kingdom of God by His grace.
Jesus is Lord.