Be Imitators of God

Chapter 5 of Ephesians commands followers of Jesus to “be imitators of God.”

Ephesians 5.1-2 – Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Dallas Willard’s expression, “living a Jesus-kind-of-life,” captures what it means to imitate God.

God did not leave us without a clear pathway to understand this command. Jesus walked our earth and showed us in word and deed God’s essential character.

The more we live a Jesus-kind-of-life, the more we will resemble God’s character.

Jesus also showed us the value of obeying the command to “be imitators of God.” No one lived a more meaningful life than Jesus.

As we live a Jesus-kind-of-life, our lives will take on deeper and fuller meaning.

Paul uses three images to describe what it means to be an imitator of God.

(1) Walk in Love

Ephesians 5.1-2 – Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

As we live a Jesus-kind-of-life, we will increasingly walk in love. Loving like Jesus involves action, the giving of ourselves to God and other people.

If we ask each day, “what is the most loving thing I can do,” our daily walk will reflect self-giving love.

(2) Walk as Children of Light

John revealed another essential aspect of God’s nature when he wrote, “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1.5).

As we imitate God, we will conduct all of our daily affairs as “children of light.”

Ephesians 5.8-9 – Walk as children of light, for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.

John explains the believer’s relationship to the light.

1 John 1.6-7 – If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true;

But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

We are deceived if we think we are partners with God (have fellowship with him) while we serve the darkness.

Living a Jesus-kind-of-life will result in a deeper partnership with God and better relationships with others.

(3) Discover How to Please the Lord

People who walk in the light are determined to embrace what is “good and right and true.” They seek to please the Lord in all things.

Ephesians 5.10-14 – Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness; rather, expose them.

For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly, but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light.

Therefore it says,
“Sleeper, awake!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

There should be no surprise that to please the Lord, followers of Jesus will refuse to engage in the works of darkness. There is no way to live a Jesus-kind-of-life and walk in the darkness at the same time.

The quote in verse 14 was a hymn that was sung at baptisms. Immersion in water pictured the death of the old and a rising to new life in Christ.

As new humans in Christ, we will seek to please the Lord in our daily activities.

Living a Jesus-kind-of-life

There are three things we can do to increasingly live a Jesus-kind-of-life.

(1) We can read the Gospels to obtain a vision of what living like this entails.

As you read the Gospel account of Jesus’ behavior and teaching, pay attention to what he said and did. Study his moves and become familiar with his attitudes and actions.

Ask yourself, “How can I live like that today?”

(2) Ask for help.

If you pray, “Lord, help me better live a Jesus-kind-of-life today,” you can count on the help of the Holy Spirit to make this a reality.

(3) Cooperate

We are partners with God. It is his desire that we enjoy the blessing of being able to imitate his character.

As partners, it is necessary that we cooperate with his work in us. He won’t make us live a Jesus-kind-of-life against our will.

YouTube Video

I am alone for today’s YouTube video. I am home with COVID and I’m feeling well, but I need to keep my distance. I will welcome being able to produce these videos with Rudy Ross as soon as possible.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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