Imitating God

“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 NASB).

My favorite impersonator was Rich Little. He could do an impression of Richard Nixon that had me laughing so hard my sides almost split. I found a person needs a talent for that kind of imitation, but I never had it.

Instead, those who walk in the light of God’s word must become imitators of God. The word in Ephesians 5:1 in the original language of the New Testament is almost identical to the word “mimic” in English.

No wonder, then, that Paul’s next thought in his sentence is “and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you…” Children learn from imitating their parents. Parents of small children learn very quickly to speak carefully around children learning to talk or risk mortal embarrassment. We can see how God has conducted himself in the Bible and then we pattern our lives in just that way. Tall order? Of course, but one worthy of our time spent achieving it.

Our imitation should be two-fold. Our conduct must also be within the scope of influence of love. This is not just any idea of love, but the supreme example of love in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins. That imitation, Paul said, was a “fragrant aroma.” This is reminiscent of Leviticus 4:31. The sin sacrifice was a “soothing aroma to the Lord.” Our sacrifice for the Lord is outlined in Romans 12:1-2. It is a life lived dedicated to the service of God.

Is your life being lived as that two-fold imitation?