“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love” – Ephesians 5:1 is a challenging verse! How do we ever do this? Another passage (1 Peter 1:14-16) tells us “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” There are others as well, telling us to imitate God or Christ. This is a pretty tall order…and probably one I fail to live into most of the time.
What does it mean to imitate God? We understand we are made in God’s image, but beyond using the gifts he has given to us, what does it look like to imitate God?
- We love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44-45)
- We are kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another (Ephesians 4:32)
- We love one another (Ephesians 5:2)
- We study the scriptures so we are better able to represent God as we live out our lives daily (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- We are compassionate and show mercy to others (Luke 6:36)
- We look to the interests of others, endeavoring to have the same mind as Jesus (Philippians 2:3-11)
The list is not complete…and it’s not a list of “do’s”… it’s about discovering ways to grow to be more like my heavenly Father! I think of my sons, who all watched their daddy shaving in the mirror, imitating him with their own little plastic razor. Or my granddaughter, who asked me to teach her how to knit…her head bent to watch my hands carefully and learn the rhythm. Just as a child longs to grow up to be like daddy, mommy, grandma or grandpa, we want to imitate Christ to grow more fully to be like him and God.
For me, it is summed up in Luke 9:23-24, “Then he said to them all, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.” Imitating God is a very daily process.
To become an imitator, I start every day asking God to help me discover more of what that means, with a hunger to know more of the purpose for which I have been made and asking how I can grow more fully into God’s image. – Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist