TODAY’S READING: Ephesians 5:1-2
“You must become imitators of God, as well-loved children imitate their father.” EPH 5:1
A pastor friend of ours tells the story of when he was leading a large church in the UK. They had organised a conference and invited a major preacher from overseas. The pastor collected the visiting preacher from the airport and as they were driving home, they passed a cyclist. The cyclist clearly felt the pastor had done something wrong, so he began cursing and using hand gestures not associated with showing love! As the pastor looked in his mirror at this raging cyclist, he realised this was a man from his church!
Paul the apostle often wrote to the churches reminding them that they represented Jesus, and Paul himself, to the world. He told the Corinthian church, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ” (2 Cor. 3:2 NIV) and he talked with pride about the Thessalonians, saying, “You became imitators of us and of the Lord...And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia — your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore, we do not need to say anything about it” (1 Thess.1:6-8 NIV).
We must never forget that, as followers of Jesus, we are broadcasting a message to the world 24/7. We are a letter from Jesus read by everyone! Our lives reflect our Lord for good or for bad. Like that cyclist, we can leave a terrible and misleading impression or, like the Thessalonians, we can be a model to others that speaks for itself.
How do we do that? Here in Ephesians chapter five, Paul turns to some practical application. Our model is Jesus Christ and the path to follow is the way of love. Jesus loved us first by giving Himself up for us and God received this as a sweet sacrifice. To become great imitators of God, our lives must include forgiving others, loving others ahead of ourselves and offering our very lives as a sacrifice in service to Jesus and His church. Someone once challenged us by asking, “What would the church look like if everyone lived like you?” Would that be a good or bad reflection of Jesus? Imitating God is a high standard for us but the world is watching.
• Read Ephesians chapter five as we start this week of devotionals.
• Thank God for Jesus and pray that your life and the lives of your brothers and sisters might reflect well on Jesus and our leaders.
• From this chapter, write down three aspects that Paul highlights for us to imitate. Encourage someone today who is a great example of Jesus to you.