Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; (5:1).
As the saying goes, “Whenever we see a therefore in Scripture, we have to see what the therefore is there for.” The word, therefore, always points back to something previously discussed. In other words, as a result of all you’ve heard, in light of all God has graciously done for you and in light of His call to unity, your reasonable response would be, follow Him to fulfill the call. Imitate God, the way a child imitates his daddy.
One of my favorite pictures of my now thirty-year-old son, was when he was about two. My son stood at the foot of a ladder wearing an oversized toolbelt, like the one his daddy wore. His daddy was way up on the top rung, but from his place on the floor looking up, my little son was doing everything he could to act just like his daddy. He would reach in his belt and pull out a tool as he followed his dad’s lead. I’m sure every parent has a similar memory.
But it hit me. Imitating God is more than mere parroting, more than copying. It’s becoming. We are His children who bear His Name; we have His Spirit indwelling us. And because we are His children of Light, we are empowered by His Spirit, through faith, to walk as those who belong to Him.
for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret, (5:8-11).
Again, this chapter charges us in areas to pursue and areas to avoid, with the end goal always being unity; unity in the church body and unity in our marital relationships so that the world will see the difference in those who claim the Name of Christ.
always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ, (5:20-21).
Being subject to one another truly goes against the natural mind and inclination, and requires more than our own mental wherewithal to bring to pass. And when Paul wrote, that as a result of His amazing grace we should seek to be like Him, Paul knew that does not come by mere imitation.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me, (Galatians 2:20).
Seeking to be like Him comes through faith in Him; a passionate faith that Pursues Him above all else; a faith convinced of His sacrificial love; a faith that refuses to settle for anything or anyone other than Him; a faith persuaded that only in Him will we be transformed; and therefore, a faith that is resigned to making Him, Our Perfect Pursuit.
Consider Him, Our Perfect Pursuit
For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God, (5:5).
Paul paints a picture of the positive using the negative. In Paul’s description of those who will not enter the kingdom of Christ, the exact opposite of those characteristics emerges; characteristics that perfectly describe Jesus. And the closer we are to Him, Our Perfect Pursuit, the more like Him we will become.
- He is Our Perfect Pursuit because He alone is Perfect in Morality
- “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him,” (John 8:29).
- He is Our Perfect Pursuit because He alone is Perfect in Purity
- For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin, (Hebrews 4:15).
- He is Our Perfect Pursuit because He alone is Perfect in Generosity
- “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive,’” (Acts 20:35).
- He is Our Perfect Pursuit because He alone is Perfect in Obedience
- Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, (Philippians 2:8).
- He is Our Perfect Pursuit because He alone is Perfect in Authority
- “He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens,” (Revelation 3:7).
How do we respond to Him, Our Perfect Pursuit?
The world throws a lot in our direction that claims to be worthy of our pursuit: fame, fortune, power and pleasure. And I thought how often the pursuit of other loves gets in the way of Him, Our Perfect Pursuit.
But it is only Him Who is worthy to Pursue; He alone is Our Perfect Pursuit.
A song rushed into my thoughts as I was meditating on this. It’s not a song you’ll hear in church. But I am a retired theatre teacher and I do have a love for the arts. And I am also of the belief that all truth is God’s truth. So, when songs ring loudly with truth, I’m convinced there’s a view of God just waiting to inspire us.
The song is from the musical film, The Greatest Showman. It speaks of a woman who is inspired by her dream and has an intense passion to pursue it. But she goes on to proclaim that without the love of her life, whatever she gains will never be enough. So, in reality, her ultimate passionate pursuit was actually the one she loved.
I pray as we read the words of this song it will ignite anew our passion for Him, Our Perfect Pursuit.
The Greatest Showman, “Never Enough”
All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the night sky
Will never be enough
Never be enough
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it’ll
Never be enough
Never be enough
Truth: we need to pursue and preserve the unity of the faith; and the only way to do that is to do it like Jesus. But rather than pursuing the right behaviors, let us grow in our passionate love for our Perfect Savior, so that by faith, His life in us motivates our behavior as we passionately Pursue Him. For what else in the whole world can possibly compare? Because the absolute truth of the matter is that He, and He alone, is Our Perfect Pursuit.
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, (Philippians 3:7-8).