Imitators of God
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:1-2
What an audacious goal that you and I could become imitators of God! Yet nothing less than this objective will suffice if we are to “Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). Then Paul mentioned specific character traits that should be reflected in the life of believers. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). As Paul stated, we are called upon to manifest godly living that is characterized and expressed similar to the love of God. “Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:2). In mind and heart and deed, we imitate God by imitating Christ. Christ lived on this earth to leave us an example. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). It is obvious from the Scripture that once we claim that we have a relationship with Christ we are expected to have the highest standard of living for the sake of others. Christ sacrificed himself because He loved people; the Christian’s conduct is likewise governed by his concern for others. The great missionary to Africa, Albert Schweitzer, explains why this conduct is so critical in our service to God: “We have constantly to remember the inexorable law, that we can only bring so much of the Kingdom of God into the world as we possess within us.” He also said, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” The example we exhibit is something that even a child can understand. A few years ago, the Christian Missionary Fellowship published a little missionary recruitment pamphlet inspired by seven-year-old Christopher Corts. On the title page, he printed in his uncertain hand, “STEPS OF Becoming a Missionarie.” On succeeding pages he listed the ten steps as he saw them and what is striking is what he mentioned in step number eight; “Let the people study you.” Christopher has been well taught. The challenge then is for righteous living that emerges from our relationship with God. We imitate God, not as fearful servants of a terrifying deity but to follow the example of the One who loved us, adopted us to be His very own children (see Galatians 3:26, 27), even though we were far from deserving this kindness (see Romans 5:6–11).