4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 5:1 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. (Ephesians 4:32-5:2 NIV)
There are go-getters and trendsetters and many, many people try and model themselves after them. Kevin Durant breaks out a new pair of shoes for the playoffs and the KD V’s begin flying off the shelves at Footlocker. Many of Kevin’s fans will go to the ends of the earth to wear shoes just like his. Justin Rose wins the U.S. Open and grown men head to the golf shop to buy the same Taylor Made clubs Justin used in hopes they can play like the newest champion. Savanah Guthrie debuts a new haircut on The Today Show and hair stylists all over the country begin to get requests. Imitating others, or styling ourselves after others, just seems to be part of the human condition. It’s nothing new. The Israelites wanted to have a king just like all of the other nations around them. (1 Samuel 8:5) Wasn’t right, but they wanted it any way.
In the first verse of Ephesians 5, Paul calls us to a much more glorious effort than trying to model our style after someone larger than life. Paul writes, “Be imitators of God…” Before Paul ever wrote those words, he gave us a tangible example of what imitating God looks like in everyday life. In Ephesians 4:32, he wrote, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as in Christ God forgave you.” We are to imitate God. Learning how Jesus lived His life shows us how to imitate God. He loved us. He gave Himself up for us. He made sacrifices for us that resulted in our being reconciled to God. The more I follow Him the more I will learn what imitating God looks like. If I will follow Him then I won’t go astray. If I follow Him then I won’t lead others astray either.
Not only am I following Jesus in order to imitate the character of my Heavenly Father, but I’m leading others as well. Paul wrote to the folks in Corinth, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV) If I leave this house this morning and take my eyes off of Christ then I can rest assured that I will get off track. Even more disturbing is the fact that if I get off track then I am sure to lead others astray as well.
My prayer, Lord, is that my eyes and my heart will be fixed on You alone today as I go about doing all that I’ve got to do.