“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.” – Ephesians 5:1-2
When I was in middle school, I imitated everything my oldest sister said and did, much to her chagrin. If you have siblings or children of your own, you’ve probably experienced this adolescent phenomenon. I copied her clothes, her hairstyle, the food she ate, and the music she liked. I eavesdropped on her conversations and pored over the notes she exchanged with her friends, studying how she thought, spoke, and interacted with others. I even tried to play tennis like she did, a laughably futile endeavor, as I am neither coordinated nor athletic. Admittedly, some of my methods were questionable, but my motive was pure: I thought she was amazing, and I wanted to be just like her.
That is the type of unabashed adoration to which Paul calls us in the verses above. While yesterday’s reading contained specific instructions about behavior, today the apostle zooms out so we can see the bigger picture. The focus shifts from what we do to why we do it. We are to be so awestruck by who Jesus is and what he has done for us that we dedicate ourselves to becoming more like him. Not by copying his clothes or specific deeds, but rather, his relentless pursuit of God’s will and his abiding love for others. We are to study his life, his works, and his words, seeking an ever-deeper understanding through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We are to embrace our role as beloved children of God and imitate him in everything we do.
The question “What Would Jesus Do?” appears on jewelry, t-shirts, posters, and screensavers around the world because it encapsulates a basic tenet of our faith: Jesus is the only perfect role model. My sister, who truly is amazing, would be the first to admit she is not worthy of such devotion. Nor are the celebrities, power execs, politicians, and athletes our society so reveres. We can certainly admire and emulate positive attributes in those around us, but our adoration must be reserved for the only one who is truly worthy. Jesus is our infallible compass, the only example that will never lead us astray. May we imitate him in all things.
Reflect and Respond:
Are you walking in love, following Christ’s perfect example? Where and how is he calling you to imitate him today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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