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.
– Ephesians 5:1-2
Why are we doing these daily devotionals to Jesus Christ? To help us imitate God. Who are we to imitate God? We are creatures of God made in His image.
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
– Genesis 1:27
It is not presumptuous of us to imitate God. On the contrary, it is the purpose for which we were created; our presumption has led us to pursue other goals instead – selfish goals. The mission of Jesus Christ was to turn us back from these perversions to our original purpose.
As part of His mission, Jesus suffered rejection, beatings, and the torture of crucifixion to get our attention so that we might see how much He loves us. This first step is absolutely essential. We do not obey God in order to get Him to love us; rather, we obey God because we are convinced that He loves us.
Therefore, it is as “beloved children” that we “walk in love.”
Again, a son does not grow up so that his father will love him; rather, a father loves a son from the very first moment of the son’s existence. The son’s disobedience can displease the father, but a righteous father will never stop loving an unrighteous son. He will simply keep trying to bring the son back to righteousness.
We have a human example to follow in our quest to imitate God: Jesus of Nazareth. He gave up His own life “for us.” Think about what that includes. Jesus could have gotten married. He could have had children. Yet He set all that aside that He might teach the word of God and help hurting people. He did so not for grateful, adoring people but for people who took Him for granted at best and spat on Him at worst.
As Jesus laid down His life as a sacrifice, so we should lay down our lives as a sacrifice – giving up what we want for what God wants and the people around us need.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, please find acceptable this day I am about to offer as a sacrifice to You…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)