Therefore, be imitators of God as dearly loved children and live in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.
(Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV)
After giving instructions in five ways the behavior of God’s children should be different than the world around us, Paul sums up what he is saying by telling us to be imitators of God as dearly loved children. All the characteristics we read over the previous days – telling the truth, working hard, speaking kindly, getting angry appropriately, and controlling our emotions – are some of the characteristics of God.
Just like children imitate their parents, those of us who are God’s children should imitate Him for He is our father. Its important to note that while every human being is created in God’s image [Genesis 1:26-27] not every human being is a child of God. Only those who have been born-again are part of God’s family [John 1:12-13, 3:3; 1 Peter 1:3]. We have been adopted and are now His children with the same standing as His son, Jesus.
In order to imitate someone we must know them. We can’t imitate someone we don’t know. If an actress is portraying a famous person in a biopic she must first study that person. She must learn her mannerisms, speech patterns, and facial expressions. In a similar way, God’s children cannot truly imitate Him unless we know Him. To know Him we have to study – not just read – the Bible.
God has revealed Himself to us in His word. God came to earth as Jesus for several reasons, one of which was to pay our sin penalty. But during His 33 or so years on this planet He also showed us what God is like. Those of us living today can learn from Jesus by reading the four gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) of Jesus’ life. In them we will see the heart of God.
Another way we can get to know God is through prayer. Just like we have to spend time talking with a friend or neighbor in order to know them, we have to spend time talking with God to know Him.
Sadly, though, most people know more about their coworkers and fictional TV characters than they do about God. Today many people pattern their lives after people like Oprah or the Kardashians.
We are God’s ambassadors on this earth – we represent Him [2 Corinthians 5:20]. To represent Him well we have to know Him. When we know Him we can imitate Him. When we imitate Him we live lives that reflect who He is and thereby spread His message of love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness to the world around us so that they can come into a relationship with Him also.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.