Ephesians 5:1-2 (ESV) 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.
On a recent visit to the doctor, a discussion developed regarding name brand pharmaceuticals versus generic medicines. Touted to be the same, he explained that while generic medication may indeed have the same benefits – there is also a risk inherent with manufacturing. Brand name medications are produced by the same company using the exact same formula. However, generic drugs are manufactured in a variety of different companies. He didn’t dissuade the use of the much more cost effective generics but cautioned to always read the label to be certain that it is manufactured by the same company each time. The consistency of dosing is important in protocol. One would assume that it’s all the same if the ingredients match, but just as in cooking this is simply not true. I can follow my grandmother’s pound cake recipe line by line and ingredient by ingredient sticking with her instructions in detail yet it still doesn’t taste quite the same.
Therefore be imitators of God…
This passage takes me back to the craze when “What would Jesus do?” became the church slogan. Plastic red bracelets embossed by Christians as a reminder to ask yourself in every situation what would Jesus do. I wonder if we really considered the question thoroughly. When people hurt, angered, wronged, betrayed or offended us – what would Jesus do? He would still walk up the hill to Calvary severely hurt, angry, wronged, betrayed and offended to be nailed to the Cross to die for the sin that caused it. He died for you. He died for me in just such a state. Now God has requested us to be imitators of God as beloved children. Prior to the death of Jesus and remission of sin, the only son in Heaven was Jesus. Now the opportunity to become sons and daughters of the living God is an option for us, and He requests us to act like His Beloved Children.
Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Does my life imitate God and His Son – Jesus? Or am I a cheap imitation? I am inquiring of my God to examine my heart and soul today for validity. It is easy to become a form or likeness without truly experiencing the blessings and benefits of becoming a Child of God. Do I walk in love? Real love? Messy love? Authentic love? Outstanding love? Forgiving love? All the love possible in a human. Or do I choose who to love and how to love according to my feelings and emotions? There are so many questions to ask of myself to determine if this faith I live by is real and my commitment to Christ genuine.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (ESV) But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
I want to be a lover of God – every day and in every possible way. I want to imitate God and follow His Instructions in my whole life. This requires careful inspection of our attitude and actions. It means discipline like most have never engaged in or experienced. However, in these last days, our primary pursuit must be one with Christ. Oneness with Jesus produces righteousness with God and affords of the Spirit of Adoption called the Holy Spirit as an identifier. There cannot be conflicted feelings. The Word of God is entirely true to the believer because it is entirely Jesus. Our performance means nothing. Our preference even less. We must test our life to be sure that our life is authentic and real according to the precedent set forth by the Word.
I Thessalonians 5:20-22 (ESV) Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
Test everything… What does this even mean? Well looking at the preface, do not despise prophecies perhaps it means do not ignore the cries in the wilderness crying out, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Jesus is coming back. Do I live like it? He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Do I worship like it? God is sovereign over all the earth. Do I serve like it? His Grace is enough. Do I accept it? He must increase and I must decrease. Do I have a humble heart? It is vitally important to test everything according to the Word of God and His Voice. Just like the generic drugs made slightly different from the original brand, there is a risk to diluting, compromising or ignoring the Word of God. It doesn’t matter our preference or what we believe when it comes to the Truth. To be an imitator of God – we must make Christ our example. He is the author and finisher of faith. He is the Source of Life. He is our access point to the Father. His Spirit identifies us as Sons and Daughters. Apart from Him, I can do nothing. Even if it makes me peculiar, that is who I am and how I must live. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light…” (I Peter 2:9 KJV) Imitating the Lord will indeed make you a bit peculiar or maybe radically different from those around you. But since His First Thought is love, you will fit right in because everyone wants to be truly loved.
1 Peter 2:1-3 (ESV) So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.