Ephesians 4:31-32 – Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
“Christian faith transforms identity because it transforms relations… It is no accident that the New Testament lists of sins to avoid are lists of community-destroying acts and the lists of virtues to embrace are lists of community-enhancing acts.” [Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are, 93]
It’s important to note that these verses takes place within the body of Christ. It is in community that we learn to live as imitators of God, living out our genuine faith. We are not to simply get rid of our old ways, but made completely new in how we relate to one another. Let’s pray that our relationships with one another will become more authentic as we imitate God, reflecting and embodying God’s love and that it will overflow onto others outside our church as well.
Let us worship to the song “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher (Click here).
Galatians 5:16-18 – So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
“God has authenticated us as those who are truly his own. To put that in another way, it is as we live the life of God empowered by his Holy Spirit that we demonstrate ourselves to be the authentic people of God.” [Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 716]
Walking and imitating God is an ongoing process. Imitating God and walking in the way of love is a daily decision and does not need to be grand gesture. It is a simple choice to walk in the path that God has already set for us in Christ. By sealing us with his Holy Spirit, we can walk in ways that are like God. It is the Holy Spirit that daily empowers and enables us to imitate God. Let’s pray that God will empower us through His Holy Spirit to walk in the path that God has already set for us in Christ.
Let us worship to the song “Anointing” by Jesus Culture (Click here).
Philippians 4:8 (NIV) – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Rather than focusing on right or wrong behavior, how we can practically imitate God is to imitate His character. We need to imitate God’s character to walk in his way of love. And practically, we can focus on any one attribute of God. One aspect is to live holy because God is holy – God has set us apart for himself, so we are to live as those who are set apart for his purposes. Holiness is not just about distancing ourselves from things (or people) that pull us away from living for God. It’s more about drawing near to God. Let’s pray that God will help us to identify those things in our lives that pull us away from him.
Another aspect is having the mind of Christ. Our minds are battlefields. Rather than fighting futile battles that goes on in our minds, let’s pray that our thought life and minds will be renewed and centered around God and his purposes.
Let us worship to the song “Don’t Ever Stop” by Passion (Click here).
Ephesians 5:1-2 (NASB) – Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
“If humanity is created in God’s image and likeness, then God’s character is the primary role model deserving commitment from us. Paul’s instruction in Ephesians 5:1 for believers to imitate God at first glance may seem a bit outrageous, but if humans are created in God’s image, then what makes better sense? Much about God we cannot imitate – his power, his knowledge, or eternal being – but imitating God’s character is the most important part of our identity formation.” [Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are, 147-148]
As plainly as these verses say to be imitators of God – we can simply turn and obey, because we have Christ in us. We imitate God because he is our loving Father and we want to be more like him. We imitate God because he loves us. Let’s pray that our life response to him will be to say yes, and begin to take steps toward imitating him more in all areas of our lives.
Let us worship to the song “More Like Jesus” by Passion (Click here).
Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV) – Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
What validates us as genuine and authenticates Christians is Christ’s love for us and in us. God calls us his beloved children, and his ultimate demonstration of his love for us is in his son, Jesus laying down his life as a sacrifice. This is our starting point. It’s not about what we feel, think, hope for, or desire. It’s about what God has already done for us in Christ and who God says we are – that is the absolute truth for us!
Let us pray with thanksgiving that we are so loved by God, and our lives are determined and authenticated by God’s love for us in Christ first and foremost.
Let us worship to the song “Love Won’t Give Up” by Elevation (Click here).