Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life 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 NIV
Ever play dress-up? I don’t remember my dress-up days as much as I do my daughter’s as she played with her friends – for hours on end. Imitating us moms with much giggling. I think I received as much joy from hearing and watching them as they did in changing in and out of oversized shoes and dresses, beads and purses.
But how do I imitate God? As a dearly loved child – with all the awe and wonder childlike faith imparts. I’m thinking it might be a lot easier for me to love those who are difficult if I can just try and imitate the way Jesus did it while He was here.
Jesus didn’t say to the tax collector, ‘Stop stealing from the people then I’ll call you to follow me’. No, in the midst of Levi’s everyday life He just called. I’m thinking Levi must have observed and seen His love for the unlovely - and heard the love in the call of His voice.
Jesus didn’t say to any of the lost that He called, ‘Stop what you are doing and then I will heal you, forgive you, love you…’ Instead He loved first and His love compelled them to look and respond.
So often this imitating of His love may be like stepping into oversized shoes and dresses of childhood. It doesn’t fit well and I may not do it right. But it is through the practice that I will become a fragrant offering as I give the sacrifice of freely loving those God has placed in my path.
Freely He has loved me, freely I am to love? Yes, and all the more as I know His return is not so distant. Practice may not make perfect, but practice will perfect me as I wait to see Him face to face.
Join me in accepting those in our path right where they are? Leaving the judging to Him and extending love out of a sincere desire to be His imitator? Let’s start small – how about the waitress who doesn’t do a great job, still tip her the whole 20% and write a few kind words on the tab; how about the unkind neighbor, wave and ask how they are; how about the gossiping friend or family member, lend a listening ear with no condemnation but offering words of encouragement. Let’s just do one, and then another…
Oh, Father, Your love wraps us up like we are the gift. Yet it is through the great gift of Your unfailing love and sacrifice that our hearts are able to love. As we walk through the days You’ve given us, let us unwrap the love we are enfolded in that we can wrap others in Your arms of love. It’s not easy for us, as You well know, but give us the courage to imitate You every day as You perfect us for the day we will someday see Your eyes of love face to face. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.