There were a lot of things on my mind this morning when I sat down to spend time in the Word. They were very distracting, and it took almost an hour to get through the first four chapters of Ephesians. But the Lord has taught me much about persevering in the Word so that He can use it to effectively cleanse and renew my mind.
My attention shifted immediately when I read Ephesians 5:1-2:
“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.”
It’s not an unfamiliar concept, but just try to wrap your mind around being an imitator of God! What a daunting, yet awesome, instructive. Can we really even comprehend what that would look like? If all we had was verse one, it would probably be a lost cause. I’m sure that’s why God graciously included verse two. 🙂
The word “imitate” comes from the Latin “imitatus,” meaning, “to copy.” It is akin to the base of “imago.” We know from Colossians 1:15 that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God.” Thus, verse two encapsulates in Jesus Christ what it looks like for a man to imitate God. In love He gave Himself up for us as a sacrifice to God. The essence of us imitating God is the same – to give ourselves up for others as a sacrifice to God.
Paul’s admonition in Romans 12:1 to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God…” is brought even more to life in light of these two verses in Ephesians. If we ever wonder what it means to be a living sacrifice, the answer is seen in the life and ministry of Jesus.
If we would be imitators of God, it is manifested in giving up ourselves for others. What a great many opportunities this opens up to present an offering and living sacrifice to God every single day!