The concept of being an imitator of God can be found in the Hebrew letter. God told his people in Lev.19:2, "Be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy." The command to emulate God should not be taken lightly as beloved children. Every Christian is called to mimic God in their walk.
Walk in Love (Eph. 5:1 – 2)
Paul wrote, "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" (Eph. 5:1 – 2).
Those who wear the name of Christ should be known for practicing love, not hate. As Christians, our lives should be spent in an atmosphere of love. It is interesting how the Holy Spirit works right before we get to chapter 5:1. We read, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what helps build others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 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" (Eph. 4:29–32).
Then Paul gives us the challenge to walk in love. To walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved and gave Himself for us, can be challenging, and I understand we cannot love like Christ in an atoning sense, but we can love horizontally.
We can love through kindness. One of the ways Jesus loved was being kind. He showed kindness through compassion and empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings with others. When Jesus's friend Lazarus died, He wept. And the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" (John 11:32–36).
We can love through forgiveness. Our Lord said these words. "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt. 6:14–15).
It would be shameful to wake up as the rich man in torment all because we failed to forgive someone who has deeply hurt us. The command given by our Lord is simple to understand, but the act is hard. Do you mean I have to forgive that brother or sister in Christ after they have hurt me? Yes! Do you mean I must forgive my son or daughter for what they have done or said to me? Yes! Do I have to forgive my wife or husband for those hurtful things? Yes! Loving like Christ is not always easy, and I pray we will love as Christ loves us. The love of Christ is a love of choice and action. This is the type of love the Christian must imitate.
Walk in Light (Eph. 5: 7 – 10)
We were something completely different before coming to Christ. The contrast of what we used to be is seen in chapters 2:1–22. Now we are Light in the Lord; we are to walk as children of the Light. Paul, in these few verses, reminds us of our new identity. The fruit of the Light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. The opposite of light is darkness. We must strip away our old selves to keep our lights in the Lord shining bright in a dark and sinful world.
Eph. 4:22–24; "To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."
The Light we receive from Christ must shine in our homes, marriages, and relationships with people. To walk in light reflects Christ's character, love, and truth. To walk in light is to be kind, compassionate, patient, and forgiving. To walk in light is to point others to Christ. The proverbial writer said, "The path of the righteous is a shining light; it shines more and more" (Pro. 4:18). Does your light shine brighter and brighter? Can people see your light?
Walk in Wisdom (Eph. 5:15 – 16).
"Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil." Regarding walking in wisdom, Proverbs has a lot to say about the wise and fool. The fool lives recklessly. He flaunts folly, hangs with fools, and despises wisdom. The wise man values wisdom and pursues it diligently" (Prov. 2:1–5). Every Christian should pursue the wisdom of God. The Christian man or woman who follows after God's wisdom lives by His word, and His word is their foundation. His word guides and keeps them on the path of godly wisdom.
Paul mentions, "Making the most of time because the days are evil." The way we spend our time in the sight of God matters. We live in a world filled with all kinds of distractions, and how we spend our time can affect our relationship with God, whether we realize it or not. How we use our time daily can either draw us closer to God or move us further away. Imagine where we would be in our relationship with God if we spent more time with Him. Our prayer should be as the Psalmist says: "Teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).
Let’s challenge ourselves this week to walk, live, think, and be more like Christ as God’s beloved children.