“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” Ephesians 5:1
What does a young wise and well-loved child do when he adores his loving and trustworthy parents who are raising him beautifully and blessedly with great kindness, patience, abundant provision, and care? He looks to his parents as role models, as heroes, as examples, and imitates them. He wants to be like them. He wants to become like them. So he follows them. He watches them closely and carefully and imitates them. He doesn’t do this from a great distance. He does it from a place of intimate relationship. He spends time with them. He looks at them. He stares at them. He listens to them. He watches their gestures. Their mannerisms. Listens to their very words. Sees how they interact with others. Witnesses how they make decisions. And take actions. Sees how they dress. Notices what they eat. Pays attention to how they face challenges. Watches their emotions. Asks questions. Listens to the answers. Learns by watching and modeling after. And, underneath it all, it’s all about relationship. His close-knit relationship with his parents. For, in the intimacy of their relationship, in the time spent together enjoying and experiencing one another, laughing and playing and eating together and the parents teaching their child via homework and in sports and celebrating holidays together and reading bedtime stories and encouraging the child in his or her gifts, skills, dreams, etc., in this intimacy is borne an ever-growing trust and desire on the part of the child to grow up to be like his beloved parents. To become like them. To grow in their image.
We were created to grow in God’s image, and when we are born again spiritually by receiving Christ as Lord, by believing He is God and died on the cross for us and was raised from the dead, genuinely committing our lives to Christ, we have lots of growing up to do – growing up in the ways of the Lord, becoming like Christ. In the verse above, God shows us we are to IMITATE Him. Like what? “AS DEAR CHILDREN”. Like a child! Children imitating our Father in heaven. Children doing what is right according to God. Children growing up in God’s image. Children who can best imitate God our Father by SPENDING TIME WITH HIM, by STUDYING HIS WORD, by ENGAGING IN FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM, by LISTENING TO HIM, by HEARING HIM, by PRAYING TO HIM, by WATCHING HIM, LEARNING ABOUT HIM, NOTICING in HIS WORD the VERY DETAILS of WHO GOD IS, of WHAT JESUS DID ON EARTH, of WHAT JESUS IS DOING NOW, of WHAT JESUS WILL DO, of JESUS’ CHARACTER, PAYING ATTENTION TO HIS EVERY WORD, and on and on.
Out of INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP with Jesus, spending daily dedicated time with Him, by crying out to Him, hungering and thirsting for Him, by being filled and filled and filled with HIS SPIRIT, by learning to be LED BY HIS SPIRIT, by being teachable and by being willing to be corrected, through ENGAGEMENT with CHRIST, we learn to IMITATE OUR GOD!
“AS DEAR CHILDREN”. How powerful are those words! But may they not be merely words. May they be our very way of life. HIS CHILDREN. HIS KIDS. With the faith of children, following Jesus “AS DEAR CHILDREN”. Imitating the Lord! To be ever more like Him! Amen!