1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and 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)
Imitations. Does that bring a good or bad image to your mind? When I think of imitations one of the first things to come to mind are the cheap, poor copies of Barbie that I had as a child. I longed for the real thing, but the closest I ever got was a Woolworth’s imitation. Recently I shared a recipe for Seafood Lasagna with a friend and it called for “imitation crab.” She asked if she could use the real thing because neither she nor her husband liked the fake stuff. They were quite happy with the results when the opted use the real thing.
Thinking of today’s admonition to imitate God fills me with a little trepidation. Over the years I’ve seen some really bad imitations and imitators. My own example is not without moments of pitiful reflection. Thankfully, the period doesn’t come after the instruction. Have you ever considered what a difference it makes to know that you are a dearly loved child, that you are loved so much that Jesus gave himself up as a sacrifice for us out of love?
Some of the poorest examples are the result of playing at something folks “know” they are supposed to get and do, but don’t really understand. It reminds me of a guy in college who when the altar call was extended went and literally crawled upon the altar. He was trying to lay his all on the altar. He didn’t understand that God was asking for his life. Fortunately, he stuck around long enough to figure it out—both for him and the many hundreds of kids he worked with as a pastor.
So as we wade deeper into this time of preparation and readying, I wonder if it wouldn’t be good to spend some time at the spiritual mirror. When you think about seeing yourself as God sees you, what do you see? How’s your IQ, your imitation quotient? It will be seen in the way that you both receive and give love.