1393. Be Imitators of God

God has given His children all we need to imitate Him.

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

In Ephesians 5:1 Paul tell his readers to do a seemingly impossible thing:

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”

Imitate God? Are you kidding? Actually, he wasn’t kidding. He is saying we should set our sights higher than some person we’d like to emulate, and onto the perfect one—God Himself. “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). Doing the best we can isn’t good enough. When we became a new creation, we were given the capacity to live life at a much higher level than the one most of us have settled for. Note what Paul says next:

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph 5:2).

But How?

He is saying that above all, Christians must imitate the love and the forgiveness of God. If we can do that, all the other stuff will fall into place. The question is how do we do this? How do we live like God in a fallen world? How can we even begin to represent God by our life when everything around us is pulling us in the other direction? How can we be the light we are called to be in the midst of darkness?

The gospel can be considered “good news” for many reasons. One is that we have been given all the tools we need to live the life we have been called to. One of these “tools” is a law that applies only to believers in Jesus Christ:

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Rom. 8:2).

We were all born subject to the law of sin and death (The soul who sins will die—Ezek. 18:4) just like we are subject to the law of gravity. Since we were born as sinners, our spirits were dead, and we were headed for physical death as well. Christ, however, brought a new law, one that broke the curse of the old one. It set us free from our chains and enabled us to live on a new level. In a sense, it’s in direct opposition to the law of gravity which keeps us earth-bound. This law frees us from the things of earth and connects us to God at a heavenly level. It enables us to be all that God has called us to be.

AS I SEE IT

Our New Wardrobe

Paul likens utilizing this new law to putting on clothes. Just as we decide what we will wear each day, we have the choice of what attitudes we will “put on” as we begin our day. As nonbelievers, we had no options. We were stuck with a wardrobe that was downright nasty and covered with filth. Once we believe in Jesus Christ, the old wardrobe becomes obsolete, not longer fitting for a child of the King. Christ gives us a new wardrobe, but we must choose to put these clothes on every day. Jesus is calling his followers out of a life of worry, fear, and lifeless drudgery and into one of exuberant joy, meaningful and rewarding service, and intimate fellowship with God and his people—a life that lives out the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus:

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10).

Since we are called to imitate the love and forgiveness of God, why not put these on every morning? What if we associated certain articles of clothing with the thing we need most and put it on? If we purposely and methodically put on forgiveness every morning, imagine how our attitude toward others would change. The same would be true for joy or peace. I think I’ll try this and I hope you will, too. We have been called to be imitators of God so let’s get started today. Let’s make a concerted effort to put on and live out the things God has been highlighting in our lives. Who knows what an eternal difference it may bring?

Christ does the Imitating

The final piece of good news is that by walking in the Spirit, Christ will be the one doing the imitating because He always does what He sees the Father doing (John 5:19). Apart from Him we are totally helpless, but by allowing Him to live through us, we will be imitating God to perfection. Hallelujah!

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