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How Should You Imitate God?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2

Ephesians 5:1-2 reads, "Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." As we have seen before, the imperative "follow God's example" could be translated more literally, "Be imitators of God."

This command raises many questions. Perhaps the most obvious question is: How? How should you imitate God? What does this mean in practice?

There are plenty of ways you cannot or should not imitate God. You cannot create things out of nothing (though you can take God's creation and make new things from it). You cannot know everything (though you can know many things because God made you with this capacity). You should not accept worship (because God alone is to be worshiped). You should not act is if you are the King of the world (because God is the only King of kings).

There are also plenty of ways you can and should imitate God. Ephesians 5:1 highlights one of the main ones: "Follow God's example . . . and walk in the way of love." Once again in Ephesians, we encounter use of the verb "to walk" as a way of talking about daily life (see Eph. 2:10, 4:1, 4:17; also 5:8, 15). We are not to love others once in a while, or as an exception to the rule, or as some kind of special religious duty. Rather, love is to be our way of life, our daily pattern of behavior. Love is to motivate, guide, shape, and limit our lifestyle.

In tomorrow's reflection, we'll consider further how we are to love in imitation of God. For now, let me encourage you to mull over the following questions.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you ever consciously seek to imitate God? Why or why not? And, if yes, then when? Where? How? If imitating God means living a life of love, how might you imitate God today in your workplace? In your home? While interacting with people in the grocery store or on the ball field?

PRAYER: Gracious God, may my living today be a reflection of you. May I love as you love. May I continue to think about what this means as I live my life today. Help me to love my neighbors, whether they live in my own home or sit in the next cubicle. Teach me, Lord, to live so as to imitate your love every single day, not just where it might be expected, but also where it is unexpected. May your love in me know no bounds, for your glory. Amen.

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Performance vs. Potential

The gap between performance and potential is far from neutral. On the positive side, it inspires. Think of the young professional who sees her future self in a seasoned colleague and dreams of achieving great things for God. Optimism and drive mark this view. On the negative side, however, the gap can be as haunting as it is illusory. Haunting because it confirms just how much we come up short; illusory because the gap tortures us with false truths about rank and value. For those who suffer the latter, even Jesus’ promise to be sufficient in our weakness goes unheard.

In The High Calling series on Performance vs. Potential, we’re taking an honest look at both perspectives. Will you join us? Whether you’re a dreamer seeking growth, or a doubter seeking peace, we believe you’ll be encouraged by what you read.

Image above by Vicky Shirley. Used with Permission. Via Flickr.

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