The world is full of imitators. Trends are formed when people of all ages imitate each other. What is ‘trending’ is tracked carefully by those who predict future trends and current realities. Cultural ‘idols’ have their fans who track their every move with a growing desire to emulate their priorities.
In Ephesians 5:1-2 Paul sets before the entire congregation of Ephesians a standard that may only be reached by means of God’s grace.
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
1) We are loved by GOD – dearly loved. If we have any doubts about this, let us turn our gaze to the scene of the cross where Christ died for us. We were God’s enemies, we were hostile to His ways and were passionately pursuing our own ways, but elsewhere Paul reminds the Roman Christians that “God demonstrated His own love for us by having Christ die for us.” This is the foundational doctrinal truth where we begin. Thanking God for His love, grasping His infinite love, lays a foundation for daily living. This sacrificial love of Christ arose before God as the smoke from the complete sacrifices in the temple.
2) We are to love like GOD. It is one thing to receive God’s love, it is quite different to love like He does. Be imitators of God…mimic Him. Live a life of love. There appears to be no ‘option’ in this command, just a compelling reason to obey. How are we to do this? How may a finite being imitate an Infinite Being? With the enablement of the Infinite Being, namely God. “The fruit of the Spirit is LOVE….” The Holy Spirit will produce in the Spirit-filled child of God the evidence of the character of God.
How do children imitate? By watching carefully the actions of the objects of their imitation. The early feeble attempts bring joy to the heart of a parent, especially when the behaviour imitated is wholesome. How much joy must we bring our heavenly Father when we fascinate our gaze upon Him and upon His Son and prayerfully cry out, “I want to be just like You!”