1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 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.
Explain / Examine
Here, Paul is telling the church at Ephesus to mimic God. To act or conduct themselves as Christ conducted Himself. He is the beloved child of God. He is agape love. He took pleasure in laying down His life for us as a sacrifice. In Leviticus, the priest offered up animal sacrifices, and the smoke rose to the heavens as a please order. We are to walk in a manner of sacrifice that is pleasing to God.
How do I apply this to my life?
I was reminded of this statement the other day. “It is better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission.” I have been thinking about it a lot. This seems like a lie we are convinced is ok. As a believer, I see this telling that because I am forgiven I can do whatever I want and then go back and seek forgiveness for what I’ve done. This is abusing grace. We are to mimic or imitate Christ. If anyone could have lived like this it was Him. Yet that would have disqualified Him as a perfect sacrifice. So are we to willfully disqualify ourselves and know that grace is waiting for us? No! We are to lay down the animalistic parts of us on the altar and let them be a pleasing aroma to God. Our choosing to obey and deny ourselves because of love, which is God, is a pleasing aroma back to Him. Will we fail? Absolutely! Is grace there waiting for us? With our doubt! But we are to strive for the best imitation we can be of Jesus. We are to be “little Christ” or “Christian.” I fear that being labeled as a Christian doesn’t carry the same weight that it used to. We are to be identified as Christ’s followers. Do the people around me know that I am?
What is my response?
Father, I need help laying down my flesh on the altar. I feel far too often that I am picking it up over and over again. I want to choose obedience over forgiveness. I want to say, unfortunately, I am a weak man, but I believe that is good because I must rely on You. The problem is I try to be self-reliant too often. For many days, I am just walking in my own understanding. I’m not stopping to look around at what You would want me to see. To ask for Your help before I walk into my office. To seek Your face as soon as I get up in the morning. To wonder about Your thoughts for every situation I step into. I want to do better. I want to train my brain as well as my body to obey the thought that would be pleasing to You. Help me do that. Let me recognize where you are already teaching me. Let me see You everywhere. Amen.