Ephesians 5:1 tells us to imitate God, as dearly loved children. Have you ever really considered that possibility? Here are a few truths to think about when it comes to this teaching:
1. You can't imitate God. How often does God sin? How often does He do what is right?
You are flawed and human and it is impossible for you to reach that level of perfection that only God attains. So why did He say through Paul to imitate Him? Does God give us impossible standards to live up to? I would love to get your feedback on this question before I give my thoughts on it.
2. Churches aren't teaching us to do this. We are so concerned with trying to keep people from giving up in the "race" we are all running that we make everyone comfortable with their sins and failures. The "victorious church" has given up the pursuit of holiness and accepted the chalice of defeat. We drink from it together as we claim the grace of God to excuse our sinfulness, and claim Romans 7:19 as our life's verse:
"For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing."
3. We try to get people who are not children of God to act like children of God. We have become effective at getting people to look and act right on the outside without ever challenging them to believe in Jesus for their salvation and lay their lives down for Him. Only those who receive Jesus and believe in His Name are given the right to become children of God (John 1:12)! Not everyone is God's child. Therefore, teaching people how to behave like one is an exercise in futility. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit in us - that power that comes to live in us when we are crucified with Christ - can we imitate God as dearly loved children.
4. Daily consider how you can imitate God in your circumstances.
Are things going well at home? At work? At church? In your mind and heart? Are you giving God glory publicly, or do you save that "church stuff" for Sundays and keep it private? Are you praying as fervently as you would in hard times? Are you taking credit for God's blessings?
Are things going badly at home, work, church or inside of you? How do you treat people in this moment? How do you respond to God's allowing of these events on your life? Are you working hard at your job - as unto the Lord and not to men? Are you loving your family unconditionally? Are you loving your enemies and blessing those who persecute you?
There are many more truths here. The fact is that the definition of a Christian is a "Christ follower" or "Christ imitator". If you were trying to give a quick definition of what a Christian is, I am guessing you would say, "A believer in Jesus Christ." I believe it is more than that!
How's this for a quick definition of a Christian:
A believer in Jesus Christ who lays down His life and takes on the life of Christ.