Who to Imitate?
We continued with our Imitator series these past two Proximity nights with Mike Knott continuing this month's teachings. Last month we looked at the call to be an imitator and this month we fleshed out what that looks like. Our verse last month and this month was Ephesians 5:1-2
After Paul calls us to imitate God he shows what that looks like: living a life filled with love and following the example of Christ. The language of imitation in the Bible is "just as." For example, John 13:34Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God (NLT)
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.The call to live with Christlike love is also shown in 1 Peter 1:22 & 1 John 4:11
You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.How would you feel if you ordered a Big Mac and when you got home you found there was no meat? The meat is the essential part of the Big Mac! We would not be okay being promised a hearty Big Mac to find no meant, or promised to go skiing and find no snow on the mountain, or go to a concert and the lead singer not show up. These are all essential elements of those things and yet we tend to be comfortable with being a Christian without loving each other. Loving each other is an essential part of our faith!
We are presented with a choice and that is laid out in 1 John 2:15-17
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.Our choice is loving the things of the world or loving God. Or as John says in 3 John 11, we either imitate those who love the world and do evil or we imitate those who love God and do good. We make choices and when we choose the world it is a poor choice because the things of this world will fade away but when we choose God we choose something that will last forever.
How are we able to imitate God when we are naturally wired to imitate the world? Paul says this in Romans 12:2,
Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.When we accept Christ we are filled with the Holy Spirit who changes the way we think. The Spirit changes the way we are naturally wired! Our natural wiring is selfishness. We try to look out for ourselves and please our physical desires but the Spirit helps us look to love others and to love God by changing the way we think. Conforming to the world means loving the world and that will fade away but transforming ourselves to conform to God's will means loving God and others and that will last for eternity!