Ephesians 5:1 – 2 “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.”
We are to imitate God, in much the same way as children imitate their parents. But there are many things about God that we just can’t imitate! I can’t make a world, can you? We can’t spin the stars into orbit. We can’t speak the sun into existence. We can’t singlehandedly overcome darkness and evil. Only God can do those things.
We cannot imitate all of His actions, but we can imitate His character. And what is at the center of God’s character? Love. We can love! Paul urges us to live our lives with love as the central ingredient.
But love is a strange little word, especially in the English language. Love can mean many different things. It can mean the flower-power, hippy-dippy kind of love of the 1960’s. It can mean the excitement we feel when we are attracted to another person. That word can even express my feelings for chocolate – I love it!
Thankfully, Paul didn’t end his sentence after “live a life of love”. Instead, he continued on to explain the kind of love he meant. God wants us to love each other as Christ loved us. He wants us to love each other with a self-sacrificing kind of love. We are to love in a way that thinks always of others before ourselves.
You see, the human kind of love says, “I’ll love you as long as you are lovable. But if you are unattractive or annoying, if you make me angry or I disagree with you, then I’m not going to treat you in a loving way.” But God’s love says, “I love you, even though you are not lovable. I love you, even though you have made me angry, even though you are annoying and unattractive. No matter what, I will treat you with love, because that is my character.”
I’m glad God loves me like that. Aren’t you?
I want to love like that.
Dear Father, Please help me to love others the way You have loved me.
Amen to that! I think we must pray to God about it, too. We need to ask Our Heavenly Father to help us love others as He loves us. I know I have to ask for help often! It’s not that I go around hating, but I notice some critical thinking . . . Lord, help me see this person You created in love the way You see him. It’s all the little nit-picking I do that makes life ugly. So, yeah, I am asking God all the time to help my heart grow bigger for Him.
Love this post!
Thanks, Sarah! It’s a continuing process, isn’t it? I wish I could just be “made perfect” in one swoop. But instead, we just have to keep depending on Him to move us in the right direction. And the more we recognize how far we have to go, the more like Him we actually become . . .
Halelujah! Were it not for God’s Love we’d all be in pathetic shape, wouldn’t we?
Yes we would, Jean. Yes we would.
I was sitting here thinking of what to write, when a verse from a modern hymn came to mind. (I don’t generally like modern hymns, so perhaps I am meant to share it).
Love one another,
I have loved you.
And I have showed you how to be free.
Serve one another,
And when you do,
Do it in love for me.
When someone is hard to love, do it for love of God and it will become easier.
That is beautiful, Jackie! Thank you for sharing it. Yes, when we take our focus off of the other person, and put it on God, the loving is easier . . . Good point.
I think I will get to the end of my life on earth and still not be able to fathom or really understand God’s love for us…for me! My best love seems to me to be such a poor copy of His.
Mine too, Jeannette! But I am so grateful that he lets me keep trying and keep growing.