We should IMITATE Christ in our RELATIONSHIPS: "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." (Eph. 5:1-2)
Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians can be viewed as two halves of one big picture about receiving and giving faith. While the first three chapters (1–3) describe what God has done for us in Christ (“receiving faith”), the last three chapters (4–6) describe what we are to do in response to what God has done for us (“giving faith”).
One of the prime things we are called to do is live for God and imitate Him just as children follow after the patterns seen in their parents. Godliness is living the way God wants us to. In Ephesians, godliness is exhorted in terms of behavior, motivating dynamic, and example. Godly behavior is modeled after God Himself, especially as He has revealed Himself in His fullness in Jesus Christ.
One of the patterns of a godly lifestyle includes walking in love, which means giving of ourselves sacrificially for the benefit of others, just as Christ has done for us (5:2). God loved us when we were still His enemies. The proof of His love is that He gave Himself for us in death at Calvary. As imitators, we should demonstrate that type of self-sacrificial love. A good understanding of God’s love and our place in His family (1:5) motivates the self-sacrifice that is necessary for our daily Christ-like living.
Another pattern would be in imitating God’s forgiveness (4:32). Just as God in Christ has forgiven us, we should also forgive one another. In our spiritual life, we should manifest Christ to the world and seek to walk worthy of our dignity as His beloved children. Christ pleased His Father by giving Himself for others. The moral is that we too can bring joy to God by giving ourselves for others. Christ is also our example in holiness of life, purity of thought, and cleanness of speech.
Christ was the true burnt offering, the One who was completely devoted to do the will of His Father in heaven, even to the death of the cross. This sacrifice is eulogized as being for a sweet-smelling aroma. F. B. Meyer comments: “In love so measureless, so reckless of cost, for those who were naturally so unworthy of it, there was a spectacle which filled heaven with fragrance and God’s heart with joy.”
Let us model our lives after Christ and imitate Him in our relationships. He is the perfect example of the love God requires from us. We can practice this by putting the interests of others above our own through loving, serving and selfless living for others (Phil. 2:3-5). As we truly love others in word and action, others will see that we are truly the disciples of Jesus Christ.