In Ephesians chapter 4 we read about unity and about choosing to walk like Jesus rather than look and act like the lost. In chapter 5 Paul expounds on that idea. Verse 1reads,
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”
Be imitators of God, as beloved children! What? How can I imitate God? How can I emulate my Father? Verse 2 continues,
“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
We emulate the Father by following Christ, by walking how He did, doing what He did, and loving as He did. We love. In a dilemma we choose to love. Every day we decide to intentionally love. We love others as Jesus loved us. We have His example to follow. He loved others perfectly. The gospels recorded His birth, His ministry, His death, and His resurrection and ascension. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote His words for us, they wrote about various situations and how Jesus dealt with them. We have His example. The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7 gives us His words and thoughts on a number of topics.
John 15:12 reads,
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
This is one of my favorite verses. But you may ask, what it means to love as Jesus loves. Well He expands on that in the very next verses 13-17
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”
Jesus gave up His life for us. His love for you and me made Him sacrifice Himself for our good. We may not be called on to surrender our lives but we are called to give sacrifice for each other or for the commonwealth of believers. My friend and pastor Robert Gordon, demonstrated Jesus’ love for me one night when he sacrificed precious time with his family and a good night’s sleep to comfort me in the hospital. My friend Teresa sacrificed money she had put away for other things to buy my sisters groceries when they had nothing. I sacrificed my pride when I forgave a person who had wounded me deeply and caused me to lose my job and position. Time, money, pride, and possessions are only some of what we forfeit in love for one another.
We love others by being obedient to God and serving Him. Servitude to God is not like service to a worldly king. He is not a tyrant. He is Love. And He considers His children as friends. He doesn’t just shoot out orders and expect obedience, He partners with us, and He lets us in on the plans and the secrets.
He asks us to bear fruit, not just any fruit, but fruit that will remain. Permanent fruit like the transformation He works in us, like more disciples, and changed lives are the fruit that abides.
He gives us an amazing promise when we intentionally love others as He loved us. That promise is also another way we manifest His Spirit and Love others. He promises that whatever we ask in His name, as His representatives in love, will be given to us! That is pretty big!
Do you say, but Jesus is the Son of God! How can I love the way He loved? He is God, He did amazing things like heal, raise people from the dead, and speak with truth and authority. In John 14:12-17 Jesus said,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
Jesus said whoever believes in Him will do what He did and greater! He didn't say a few people, like my Apostles, will do the works I do and greater. He said whoever believes in me will do the works that I do and greater. Just ask as Jesus’ delegate, in His name and He will do it! You can do what Jesus did because He gave you His Spirit. He is living in you, He is with you. He allows you to know the truth and look at the world with His eyes, love them with His heart and hands, and do what Jesus did, even greater works than Jesus did are possible because you have the Holy Spirit indwelling you. The Holy Spirit teaches you to do what Jesus would do and makes it possible for you to do what He did.
So today I encourage you, Believer to imitate God, follow Christ, and manifest the Spirit. I encourage you to make your life a fragrant offering to the Lord.