“Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
Ephesians 5:1,2 (NKJ)
While shopping last week, I observed a frustrated parent attempting to convince their strong-willed child to follow their instruction. After several failed attempts, the parent sternly issued this directive, “Do as I say!” The child, discovering new wisdom (or fear) complied. Paul instructs the new believers in Ephesus on how they are to walk out their new life of faith. His directive to them is a blueprint for spiritual success—“Be imitators of God.”
The word imitator (mimetes) is translated “mimic”. If we are God’s children we ought to mimic or imitate the attributes we see in our Heavenly Father. This should not be as difficult as it sounds since we have become new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) and partakers of God’s nature (2 Pet. 1:4). We have within us, the spiritual makeup (Holy DNA) to reproduce God’s character in our lives. If successful, the result is a mindset and life style that reflects “God in us” (John 17:21, 23).
In examining God’s attributes, the one from which all other attributes find their origin is love. God is love (1John 4:16) and His love was manifested to us through His only begotten Son (John 3:16). It is through Jesus Christ, that God revealed His love for mankind. It is this divine love, agape love that the children of God are to imitate.
Jesus modeled for mankind what the love of the Father looked like in a fallen world through His willingness to leave the splendor of heaven for the squalor of earth. He “became poor that we might become rich in salvation and life” (2 Cor. 8:9) and was “made sin that we might be made the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). He “humbled Himself and was obedient to death on the cross” (Phil. 2:7, 8). Jesus’ walk of love was viewed by God as a “sweet smelling sacrifice” (Lev. 1:9, 13, 17; 2:9). The idea behind the sweet smelling sacrifice is it was pleasing to God.
I’m sure God is often challenged by His strong-willed children. It is His desire that we also walk in love. With Jesus as our model, God’s Holy Word, and through the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can learn to divest ourselves of childish immaturity and self-centeredness. In humbleness of spirit and with an obedient heart, we can walk in a manner that imitates God. Then our lives, like Jesus’, will become a sweet smelling sacrifice that pleases our heavenly Father.
Good to the Last Byte…
One of the greatest revelations we can receive is an understanding of the enormity of God’s love. His love is not a result of anything we deserve or can earn, but is evidence of inherent goodness. Read 1 John 4:7-21 in your quiet time and ask the Lord to show His love for you in new ways. I promise you won’t be disappointed!