Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV
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.
In our early years we learn the most by copying our parents. We watch what they do, take it into our mind, think about it and then we imitate them. Often it is a huge shock to parents to see just how closely their children have been watching and copying them – and it seems as though the children find it easier to copy the bad things than the good things! What Mum and Dad do becomes the example they will follow.
God intended that the way godly parents conduct themselves would teach their own children about godliness. But what He didn’t intend was that mankind would use their free will to rebel against God and thereby conduct themselves in ways that are far from godly, thus introducing their children to the rebellious ways of their parents.
Paul was well aware of the problem in the Ephesian church. There was a lot of very ungodly behaviour which he was drawing their attention to in his letter. Then he tells them that there is only one way to put things right – to forget the ungodly lessons they have learnt from ungodly parents and start imitating their heavenly Father – the only Father who will always give us a good and right example to follow.
But if we’ve never seen God, how is it possible for us to imitate Him? The answer simply lies in the character and nature of His Son. For Jesus is a perfect imitation of His Father. When we look at Him, we can know exactly what the Father is like. And if we take our standard of living from His example, as opposed to the defective examples that many of us have had to follow, then He will build in us, and then in our children, an image of love – that sacrificial love which Jesus had for all people and which is constantly drawing people to Him and then to the Father.
When we imitate Him, our lives will be a fragrant offering to Father God, which will bless Him and then be a blessing to all with whom we are in contact for the rest of our days. We all have a wonderful Dad we can copy – and it’s wonderful to have His Son as our Brother!
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for showing us just what Your Father is like, so that we will know what a wonderful Heavenly Dad we all have. Help me, Lord, to do what Paul says and imitate Him, so that our lives will be a fragrant love offering to God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.