Pray: Humbly ask God for wisdom. Ask Him to teach you as you read the following section of the Bible.
Read: Ephesians 5:1-5
I’ve always thought it was funny how self-conscious parents can get when their kids mince words that they are unable to really pronounce yet. Most of the time it is really cute, but sometimes the words sound like some other, not so socially acceptable words. Why are parents so self-conscious about this? Children are big imitators! They are copycats. Children are quite literally a reflection of their parents. People will think that the kids learned how to say curse words by hearing their parents! They do what mom and dad do. They say what mom and dad say. They tend to imitate mom and dad because that is how they learn to grow and live as little humans in the world.
How much greater an example do we have to imitate than the God of the universe? We are God’s children and He has given us himself to imitate. Paul tells us in this passage to “be imitators of God.” How do we do this? We look to the perfect example – Jesus Christ, the Messiah, God in the flesh. Jesus came to earth and loved us so much that he gave himself up for us by dying on the cross, and we are told to imitate this love with the people around us. How do we do it?
It starts inside of us. If we are going to imitate God, then it should be evident in our thoughts, our desires, and our actions. In this passage, Paul links words, deeds, and desires. He uses the examples of sexual immorality, impurity, greed, coarse talking, foolish talking, and crude joking. These are words, deeds, and desires done because of idolatry. When we do these things, we imitate the world and not God. We replace correct worship of God with idol worship of the stuff in the world. We have to be aware of our tendencies to run to these empty idols. Instead, we ought to run to our heavenly Father who saved us from sin and death. We must imitate Him.
Oftentimes, when striving toward a goal, it is helpful to keep the end in mind. Knowing where the end is helps you actually get there. Like in a race, you want to know how long the race is so you can do the work required to make it to the finish line. Paul reminds us that our end is the inheritance we have in the kingdom of the Messiah and of God. When we live as idolaters of the sinful things listed above, we aren’t keeping the end goal in mind; we are living in the moment with our own sinful desires at the forefront of our minds.
We must hold onto that future inheritance from verse 5 and keep focused as we strive to live as imitators of God in this world until we are with Him forever in heaven.
1) What are the idols in your life that you seem to imitate more than you imitate God? Do any of the ones in this section of Scripture hit home for you?
2) What does this passage say the consequence is for keeping idolatrous habits rather than imitating God?
3) What do you need to change in your life so that you can better imitate God’s love to the people around you? By whose power are you able to do this?
Memorize: Ephesians 5:1-2 – 1Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. 2And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.