On Wednesday mornings I have the privilege of getting to hang out with a bunch of great pre-k thru 5th graders at the Woodlands Christian Acadamy for their chapel service. This week we took a look at Ephesians 5:1-2 that says, ‘1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 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.’ As I was reading over this verse and thinking about it the word that kept popping out at me was ‘imitators’. Paul was calling these Christians in Ephesus to imitate God.
Obviously we aren’t called to imitate creating a universe from nothing or commanding the storms to be stilled or holding the earth in its orbit but specifically we are to imitate the life of love that Jesus modeled for us. This love was a sacrificial kind of love where He gave himself up for us. Imitation is the oldest form of learning. Since civilization began a young person would become an apprentice of a master craftsman and would learn a craft. Jesus is a master craftsman of sacrifical love. God descending to earth and stripping Himself of all His rights and entitlements and putting on flesh and blood and coming into our neighborhood and going all the way to an unthinkably shameful and painful death on a cross is an ‘off the charts’ kind of sacrifical love.
How does this imitation work? Well, Jesus took 12 guys and allowed them into His life where they could know Him up close and personal. They camped out together, hiked together, served together, had late night conversations together, etc. Those 12 guys (minus Judas, the betrayer) eventually learned the craft of sacrifical love and modeled and taught it to others. This process has continued throughout the generations. It is no different now. Do you have someone that you are able to imitate? Is there someone in your life that when you hang out with them they make you want to go all out for the cause of Christ? Is there someone that you meet with and hang out with that you see a model of sacrifical and unselfish love? If you don’t have that relationship in your life, I would challenge you to ask God for it and maybe even make a phone call (or a text works too) and make that happen. Afterall, according to Romans 12, true worship is learning to ‘offer our bodies as living sacrifices.’