I’m blogging this morning about being like God.
Imitating the Father
There is a text in Ephesians that is challenging and a bit disturbing:
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” -Ephesians 5:1-2
The idea of imitating the Father scares me. Who am I to be like God? And yet, I am called to do so:
- “Be holy as I am holy,” Leviticus 11:44,45
- “Just as he is holy…so be holy in all you do,” I Peter 1:16
- “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” Matthew 5:46
Live a Life of Love
Paul provided commentary on what it means to imitate God, “live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.”
Once again, we are faced with a calling that reaches beyond rules, is deeper than doctrine, and calls the Christian to a singular standard.
Our lives are about sacrificing for others, as Jesus did. I’ll assume, at least for now, that Paul isn’t calling us to die physically. But maybe he is?
The emphasis of Paul’s teaching was to imitate the Father. God wants me to be like him, to live as he does, to live as his son lived. That’s a lot to ask.
When I think of a life that imitates God, I think of these examples:
- A devoted parent caring for a special needs child.
- A husband or wife caring for a severely disabled spouse.
- A soldier volunteering to serve in high risk places.
- A single parent working two or three jobs to provide.
- Missionaries who spend a life time in hard, third world missions.
There are many more.
Why This Is Difficult
It’s hard because it exposes us. It strips us down, attacks our selfishness, and deflates our egos. It humbles us.
It’s hard because it requires us to surrender, to embrace something higher, to be more. It’s difficult because its sacrificial in nature and it’s not my nature to be sacrificial.
What should I to do with Ephesians 5:1-2? Can I ignore it? Forget it? Reject it? Sure, I can do that. It’s easy. Or, I can embrace it as God’s will but that will require me to live for others more than I have. It requires me to be like God.
Remember, Paul referenced how Jesus’ sacrifice was a fragrant offering to God. Am I a fragrant offering to God, or do I just smell?