Rev. Cameron Douglas|
Wondering who I am, exactly?
Sometimes I wonder and ask myself, "Just exactly who do you think you are?" What is it that gives me my identity? What ultimately matters about me anyway?
Sociologists want to pigeonhole me into the proper place by identifying me demographically: I am a white Caucasian, middle-aged, (balding) male. For pollsters or marketers that may mean something, but as for me, that really doesn't say much. It describes who I appear to be, something about me on the outside. So what if I am?
Yes, I know I am a Yankee by birth, but I am Alabamian by choice. I don't mean to sound pushy, but big deal, so what? That doesn't really tell you much more about me. Who exactly am I?
Does it help to know that I am in relatively good health? I do not engage in any risky behaviors. I keep active and fit physically (eating right and exercising regularly) and sharp and acute mentally (reading, writing and studying). I feel emotionally stable with the typical ups and downs in life. Is that really a good description of me?
I am married and have two daughters. While I am with my wife's co-workers, I am always known as Diane's husband. While I am with my daughters' friends, I am always Heather's and/or Brittany's dad. So, who am I?
I considerate myself literate, and I am educated (some would say too much). I am a contributing professional in this community, and I love exactly what I am called to do and with whom I am called into ministry. I live in a middle-class house and share middle-class values with my middle-class neighbors.
But that still doesn't tell you much of anything that really matters about me. Who exactly am I?
The Apostle Paul, after he lists all the ways to identify himself and his accomplishments and describes who he is in scriptural legalistic terms, says it so well in Philippians 3:7-9: "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."
The point is never to know me. I am nothing. The point is to know Christ through me. He is everything. Paul writes in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
The only identity I have that really matters is that which will live forever in Christ.
The Rev. Cameron Douglas, minister of Decatur First Christian Church, is one of several local ministers writing religion columns for THE DAILY. For more information, call Melanie Smith on Tuesdays or Wednesdays at 340-2468.