Ephesians 5 teaches us to be imitators of God. Scripture teaches us we become a new creation when we place our faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. We have new identities. The old things have passed away and new things have come. This isn’t just positive thinking or self-help beliefs, but faith in a cosmic event that took place in history.
As amazing as it is to be imitators of God Scripture teaches us there are some things that hinder us from imitating God. Scripture describes them as snares that hinder us from living out and experience what we have been given through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Below are a few:
Faith in Christ: It has to start with Jesus. We aren’t born being able to imitate God. Scripture teaches us we are born wanting to be God. We don’t want to submit, follow, love, or worship anything but ourselves. In His grace and mercy he doesn’t leave us in this spiritual condition. God enters into human history, lives out God’s standard of perfection, and then willingly dies on the cross for our sin, shame, guilt, and offense against a Holy and Righteous God. Jesus not only takes our sin and shame, but we receive His righteousness and this is how we become a new creation and able to imitate God.
Our Behavior: Sometimes when we talk about behavior people start to twitch with memories of legalism, however, it isn’t behavior to impress God or others, or even behavior that comes about through our own power, but a changed behavior that comes about through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. It simply means we would look at our life and as we fall more in love with Jesus we see our life changing and moving away from sin. It isn’t determined by our friends, a pastor, or a church, but the righteousness of Jesus Christ and wanting to get away from sin as fast as possible. Not because we are trying to be better people, but because sin leads to death and destruction.
Our Thinking: Our thought and heart are sometimes more difficult to discern, however, Scripture teaches us to be on guard against deceptive thinking. Some of the deceptive thinking in our culture are things like, “Sin doesn’t hurt anyone, Jesus will just forgive me, Everyone is doing it…”. We would do well to chronicle our thoughts and see if they match up with Scripture. Or better, saturate our thoughts in Scripture so that our thinking more reflects the righteousness of Christ.
Our Attitude: Scripture teaches us to be aggressive with sin and expose sin as fast as possible. Not to humiliate or condemn, but because it leads to death and destruction and through Christ we have been set free from sin to be imitators of God. If we are wallowing in sin then we have fallen into a snare or trap that hinders us from being imitators of God. Sin doesn’t want to be exposed. It wants to stay in the dark, hidden, kept secret, and hoping nobody ever finds out. It will whisper into our ear that everyone is doing it, it doesn’t hurt anyone, and Jesus will forgive us, but Scripture teaches our attitude toward sin should be to expose and bring it into the light of Christ as quickly as possible. Confess to Jesus, as well as to others so that we might be healed and stop imitating death and instead imitate God.
Where do you land? What is stopping you from imitating God?