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. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Does Scripture ever just grab a hold of your heart and not let go? Well, tonight that’s what this passage is doing for me. I’ve read it quite a few times before, but tonight it’s convicting me in a new way. This passage of Scripture has dug down deep in to my heart and not let go. God’s Word has a way of doing that when we spend time in it. God constantly wants to renew us through it and bring us to a new understanding of who He is and can be in our lives. So come with me through this devotional and find out what this passage means for us!
“Be imitators of God…”
Well, let’s break that down and find out what it means. The word “be” simply means to exist. Too many people think they have to become something. In this case, the writer is saying, simply exist within the characteristics God created in you. The verse could have read differently, it could have said “Become imitators of God…” Meaning later down the road, when you have the time! But that’s not the case here. God is calling us to be imitators of Him right now. There is no later in this passage of Scripture.
Okay, next… What does the word imitator mean? The word imitate comes from mimeomai, where we get our word mimic. It means “to act like”. We are to simply act like God. Well, what are some of the qualities of God. God is loving, He is kind, He does not envy, He is not proud, He is patient, He does not boast, He treats people fairly, and so much more. So how are things looking so far? I know for me, I have some work to do! I’m a constant work in progress.
“…therefore, as dearly loved children…”
We imitate God because we are loved by Him. Just like a son or daughter imitates his father, so also we imitate our Father in Heaven. No child has ever been loved as much as God has loved us. God’s love will never fail, it will never tarnish, it will never make you feel like you are not good enough, and His love will carry you through the dark times in your life. He loved you enough to send His Son. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10, NIV).” What would happen if we started to follow God around like children follow their parents? What if we had the same kind of enthusiasm, joy, and love in our hearts? Would things change a little bit?
“…and live a life of love…”
Okay, it starts to get tricky now! Please read this part of the verse very carefully. “Live a life of love…” What does that look like? Well, a life of love should exhibit the fruit of the spirit. Does your life exhibit Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” This isn’t like a grocery store where you get to go and pick whatever fruit you want to eat. You can’t just choose your piece of fruit for the day. There is a reason why Paul, the author of Galatians, did not put an “s” on the end of the “fruit” of the spirit. He knew Jesus wants all the fruit to be exhibited in our lives. A life of love means surrendering our will daily and giving ourselves over to the One who knows us best, the One who can do more with our lives than we ever could.
“…and gave himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Jesus was obedient to God. He lived in relationship to the Father. How close will we be with God? What will be the aroma from our lives? In fact, close your eyes and think about the smell that your most fond of. What smell is it? Is it that loaf of bread baking in your mom’s oven? Is it that perfume your mother wears or the after shave your husband wears? Is it the smell of the ocean, the smell of the Spring flowers, or those crisp leaves in the Fall? Whatever that smell is for you, think of it and ask yourself what kind of smell do you want your life to leave in those around you? Do you want an aroma of love, peace, and joy? Or hate, bitterness, anger, confusion, and dissension? God can’t make the choice for you, only you can make the choice of what kind of fragrant offering you will produce for the Lord!
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise– the fruit of lips that confess his name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
Dear Father God, I pray my life will become a sweet aroma to those around me. I continuously offer up my life to You and ask that You will be Lord over all my decisions. May I follow Your direction for my life and imitate Your ways alone. You alone are worthy of my praise. I desire to live my life in complete surrender to Your will!
Moving Forward in You,