Imitating My Heavenly Father

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.

Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.           Ephesians 5:1-10 (NLT)

This is one of the passages in the Bible that I would like to be able to say is complicated or that I don’t understand. But it isn’t complicated and I understand it very well. And if there are passages that I am not sure about or that I think are too obscure – then I need to turn to this passage and follow it. If I spent the rest of my life here on earth seeking to follow Jesus after the example of this passage, I would have plenty to do!

I am God’s child. A child represents their parents, whether they want to or not, and for good or ill. My Heavenly Father has a good name. Do I magnify His name and reputation or distort and muddy it? Do I allow the Father’s love and compassion flow through me, a conduit that does not taint that love or do I portray God as miserly with His love, giving only under the “right” conditions?

I have heard discussion about the next verses but it is interesting to me in all the discussions I have heard only finger-pointing at people who have sexual sins (of which those who are doing the pointing do not have those kind of dirty sins!). I have never heard any discussion about greed. There it is. Greed. Right in the middle of all those other sins. What is greed? It is a desire to have or possess something and keep it for yourself. It is selfish and destructive. Certainly it can be an object but it can also be something abstract like knowledge of God and His love.

It was Jesus’ desire that we “Go…and teach…and make disciples.” Those with greed cannot do that. Jesus gave all that He had. I can do no less. Give all the knowledge about Himself that He has given me to whomever He brings into my life. Open my hands and freely give what He has freely given me. Jesus gives to each of us different gifts (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12). The gifts that He gave me are not for my glory but for His glory. If God has blessed me with wisdom or languages or comfort or even wealth, it was not His plan that I keep it for myself but to give it freely for His Kingdom and His children.

And the last line in this passage – telling me to find out what pleases God. How do I do that? Ask. Listen. And whatever God tells me will line up with His commands to love and worship Him and love others as I love myself. God promised that if I need His wisdom, He will give it (James 1). So when and where and how to give – God will tell me. I have no excuse not to give except my own greed.

Be an imitator of God. A good order for today and every day.

 

In the Secret written and sung by Andy Park

 

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