I was reading in Ephesians the other morning and as I passed Chapter 4, verse 32 (Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you), I came to a screeching halt at the next verse. “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” [CSB Ephesians 5:1]
Are you as shocked by that verse as I am? We are commanded to imitate the holy, righteous, all-loving God. Now, I realize there are some parts of God (such as His perfection!) that we will never be able to attain. And I also realize that Paul’s command to imitate God has nothing to do with our salvation, and everything to do with our sanctification (becoming more like Christ Jesus). Still it is a breath-taking command.
It drew me up short and made me question my heart’s motivations and desires. What am I modeling my life after?
When our sons were little, they were enamored with their father’s construction equipment. He had a backhoe and big truck, they wanted toys just like his. Bob was able through a dealership to get miniature backhoes exactly like his. The boys were ecstatic. Their “excavations” in the dirt outside modeled what Bob did on a much grander scale to make a living. They were so delighted to be able to imitate their father.
Paul reminds us that we are to be imitators of God – as His “dearly loved children.” Our desires are to be like Him as much as we can be. We are to desire His godliness, His righteousness, His wisdom, His grace, His love to flow not just to us but through us to touch others.
We should want people to see Christ in us. And we should work each day, with the power of His Spirit to achieve just that. “Be imitators of God.”