“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.”
Paul has been leading us towards the supreme vision for our lives. Created in the image of God, with Jesus Christ as our example, and with the Holy Spirit as our strength and guide, we are called to live out the revelation of God.
Because ‘God is love’ our lives are to be characterized by love. We are ‘dearly loved children’ into whose hearts the love of God has been poured, is being poured and will be poured. (Romans 5:5) The model of Christ is love from beginning to end and His directives to us were all concerned with love. The fruit of the Holy Spirit, who lives within the children of God, is evidenced by, and based upon, love. (Galatians 5:22)
It is this love, said Jesus, that would be the greatest witness to the world – because it is so unlike the world.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
The vision of imitating God is not a new legalism thought up by Paul, but a realisation of what is possible once we have grasped and entered into the reality of His love. It is not a seeking to be God but to live as closely as possible to the revelation of His love and holiness that we have received. Paul knew it for himself, which is how he could pray for others –
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:16-21)
God has a vision for you – to be more like Him and less like the world.
Father help me to open myself to the reality of Your love and open myself to let it flow out to others as well. Amen.