Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We’re Called To Be Like Jesus

Ephesians 5:1

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

Life ChangeI remember growing up – always wanting to do what my father was doing. I remember going hunting with him when all I could carry was a toy rifle. We would sit for hours waiting for the squirrels to come out. I remember my first time out with my .410 shotgun and seeing the squirrel through the woods and waiting for it to arrive at the nut tree we were watching. I tried to do what my father would have done – as he watched me imitate him.

When I was growing up – I remember playing first base – pitcher – and third base (not at the same time – lol) and I remember trying to imitate Boog Powell – Jim Palmer and Brooks Robinson – three of my favorite players. On our home at the time there was a brick chimney and I used to bounce balls off of it and try to make great plays fielding the ball like they often did. I could always make up a game in my mind.

As disciples of Jesus – we are called to imitate Him! (not our parents or ball players or anyone else. Now there’s a novel idea – be imitators of Christ! Today’s passage speaks to us about imitating Jesus – Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved childrenHere is today’s passage in partial context – Ephesians 5:1-7 – 1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 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. 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them. Not only are we called to model or imitate Christ in love – but also to stay away from other things that would not imitate Christ.

I heard a preacher this recently speak on love – using Jesus’ words about the greatest commandments – Mark 12:30-31 – 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Jesus told us so many times that it is all about love.

John spends a great deal of time on God’s love. 1 John 4:7–21 – Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Throughout the New Testament – we are told of Jesus’ love. Jesus’ love for us is expressed by these words – live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. We should love others as Christ loved us – according to Jesus. We should give our all for our Lord and love others as we love ourselves. Paul writes – 1 Corinthians 13:2 – If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

Today – and throughout the rest of our lives – we should be working on being more loving – being imitators of Christ. Allowing the fruit of love to invade our very being. For some that is easier – because it is their nature to be loving. For some – this will be a task – but it will help us produce a better attitude and will help us be a better witness for Christ. Love one another – even as Christ loved us. Let’s be like Jesus!

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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April 11, 2019 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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