“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”
As a dad I look back on years when I was keenly aware that my son was watching me. Watching to see how I did something, learning how by watching me. When I realized he was imitating me as he learned how to be a man it made me profoundly panicked. Suddenly I realized I was modeling for this boy how to live, how to be a man. It made me look for someone to imitate in my own life so my son would have a good model to follow.
That’s when I really understood the words of Paul, “Imitate God.” It’s an invitation to follow him around, to learn how he does things and do the same things. It’s an invitation to mold your life to be like his.
But where do I see him to follow him, to imitate him, where do I find those examples? I realized, quite to my own surprise, that the gospels gave me the pictures I needed. All I had to do was follow Jesus around in the gospels and imitate him!
And that is what Paul is inviting us to do…follow Jesus, imitate him, be like him…do what he did…in other words, be his disciple.
The key thing Paul noted for us to watch for was this- “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.” In every story of the gospels I see Jesus loving well. He loved everyone in such a way that they were drawn to him. Or, they were convicted by him. His love draws all eyes to God.
His love and how he lived it out draws me to follow him. I don’t do it well, but I’m working on it. I don’t always say the right thing, do the right thing but I want to…I want to look like Jesus.
And, it’s possible as Paul invites us to do it, to “Imitate God” and do it first of all by loving well.
Of all the religions ever to touch human life only this one tells of a god who is first of all a lover of men. This God has invited us to imitate him and as we do others will be drawn to him too.
Imitate God=loving well.
Lord, help me to imitate you well as I encounter others each day. Help me to love them well and show them how much you care for them too.
Let my life, my love for others, be a pleasing aroma to you and draw others to seek this God who loves them through me.
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