Imitating God
by Matt Windley on February 24th, 2014

We have a tendency to look at the Bible as a large list of do’s and don’ts. As we read, we subconsciously take every passage and boil it down to some sort of moral imperative. Too often, we go away with a renewed vigor to just do better or just be better, but this sort of thinking causes us to miss an even greater point.
Yes, God does call us to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16), but he never expects us to do so on our own terms, our own strength, or our own effort. Christ came and died because our own efforts were never enough, are never enough, and will never be enough.

As Christ followers, we’re called to live a certain way, but not in our own power.

Look carefully at Paul’s instructions to the Ephesians.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. - Ephesians 5:1-2

At first glance, we read this and think, “Imitate God. I need to be better.” We then walk away and try our best the rest of the day. But look at the verses again, specifically verse 1.

We are to imitate God . . . as his beloved children.

Being holy starts with being in relationship. We imitate Him as we get to know Him.

Sometimes I get in the habit of lazy parenting. I expect a lot out of my kids, but fail to give them an example to follow. On those days, I find myself consistently reprimanding them for not doing this (picking up their clothes, sharing) or for doing that (fighting with each other). It’s exhausting. For them and for me.

But here’s what I’ve noticed. On the days where I intentionally spend time with them, they act much differently.

I play with them, listen to them, share with them, wrestle with them, have snack with them, and I find that as we interact they start to imitate me. As I love them, they begin to love each other. As I listen to them, they listen to each other. As I share with them, they share with each other.

As Christians, we talk about our relationship with God, but if take an honest look at our lives we may notice that there’s not much of a relationship there. We see a lot of self effort, frustration, discouragement, and disappointment.

We want to please God by being good, so we often assume that He must be mad or frustrated with us for not being perfect. But He’s not.

Before calling us to be holy, He calls us to Himself.

He’s calling you into relationship. Abide in Christ and you will see His fruit in your life.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. - Galatians 5:2-23

Just as an apple tree produces apples, when we are connected to Him our lives will produce the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit isn’t obtained through hard work, but they are simply an outcome of being connected to the source of life.

Children, spend time with your Father and trust that He will produce His fruit in you.
 


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