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.
Did you ever visit a place where the locals had a very different accent than your own? Maybe after a while you started to pick up on that Southern twang, Bostonian slang or British properness. When I was a kid, we would travel back to North Dakota to spend summers with my grandparents. My grandpa is Norwegian and it wouldn’t be 2 days before his accent would wear off on me and I’d be bursting forth with the “don’t-cha- knows” and the “oof-duhs.” If you’ve ever spent time in the upper mid-west, then you know what I mean.
In today’s passage, the Apostle Paul is instructing us through the book of Ephesians to imitate Jesus in his love and service. By my very nature, I am not very loving and I don’t enjoy serving other people most of the time. Although I would like to take credit for the good things that I do, the Bible throws it back on me and says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:6). How in the world am I, with my filthy rags, to imitate a Holy God?
I’m not sure why, but we tend to become like the people we spend time with and that is what the Bible is teaching here. I don’t wake up in the morning with a mid-western accent, but put me in proximity to my grandpa and my accent changes. His cues trigger something in me and my vocal chords respond automatically. Same thing with God. We cannot imitate God without spending time in his presence. His glory wears off on us and we change because of Him. Anything else is just a lie we are trying to get ourselves to believe.
Thought for Today:
Are you spending time with Jesus daily? Is His love wearing off on you?
Are the people in your life pushing you towards God or pulling you away from Him?
These questions are supreme for the Christian life. Every day, we are becoming more like the people we spend time with. I urge you today to take an inventory of the influences in your life. Are they leading you toward being an imitator of God or something else?
Today’s Prayer: Father, thank you for wearing off on us. Thank you that we’re not left with our pile of filthy rags. May we be imitators of Jesus. May your light, love, and service permeate your Church through and through. May we be men and women lost in your presence, following your love and your service as beloved children – and may you receive all the glory. Amen!