(Friends: in the last several years, I’ve written a number of messages about our grandson Jackson under the title, “Jackson’s Chronicles.” I’ve intended to do a similar series concerning his sister, five year old sister Emma, a character in her own right. I’m glad to introduce her to you today, and as with her brother, Emma has a way of saying things that amuse, but even more, that offer glimpses into God’s truth that only children can provide. Frances wrote today about the following incident in her Powder Room blog, and if you only have time for one essay, I’d recommend reading hers!).
While having coffee and ice cream with our son Noah and his daughter Emma, she did something that led him to tease her. “You’re a nut, Emma!” he said, laughing.
She is. You’d have to know her to appreciate it, but I assure you that Emma has a way of looking at things unique to her. She’s very bright, very inquisitive, and analyzes and expresses her findings about things with insights beyond her years (oh all right, I know I’m her grandfather, and am at least a little biased!). With a twinkle in her eye, Emma is insightful and funny, and she knows it.
Frances decided to pick up on Noah’s pronouncement of his daughter’s nuthood. “What kind of nut are you, Emma? Are you a peanut?” Emma responded, “No ma’am.” Frances continued, “Are you a cashew?” Again, “No ma’am.” Her grandmother went down the list of nutty possibilities, each eliciting a negative response. In Emma’s mind, she’s not a walnut, pecan, or hazelnut any more than she’s a peanut or cashew.
Finally, Frances decided to let Emma herself answer the question. “So, Emma, if you’re not all those kinds of nuts, what kind are you?” With that twinkle in her eye, our granddaughter pronounced, proudly and without reservation, “I’m a doughnut!”
The Bible speaks much to Christians about our self perception and understanding of our spiritual identity in Christ. Indeed, deep within our redeemed and Christ-inhabited being, we are not the person we were before we believed.
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17).
Before we can do, we must be. Before we can be, we must receive, as a free gift of grace, the heartchanging presence of the Holy Spirit into our innermost depths. Moreover, before we can consistently do in accordance with our Christ-infused being, we must consistently believe ourselves to be the “new creature” affirmed by the Apostle Paul”
“Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11).
Our dear little Emma is not an actual doughnut, of course. I will, however, think of her in this imaginary regard for the rest of my life. “I’m a doughnut!” That which is not imaginary is our being in Christ, again, provided as a free gift of grace when we received Him into the temple of our hearts. We may not always act, think, speak and respond accordingly. But we always are who and what we are in Christ. The more we discover the New Testament’s ongoing refrain of a “new creature,” the more our walk will correspond with our being. With humor, Emma reminded me of this blessed truth, to be taken as seriously as any belief that forms and informs our Christian understanding…
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” (Ephesians 5:8)