Saturday, November 5, 2011

Week#30 Ephesians 5:1-2 "That's My Girl!"

"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."

There's a well-known poem by Dorothy Law Nolte called "Children Learn What They Live." You may be familiar with it. It tells us that if children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. But it also says, on the other hand, that if children live with acceptance, they learn to love.

From where I sit, that about sums up our Christian life. It also sums up nicely what the Apostle Paul is telling us in this verse from Ephesians.

The Book of Ephesians is an incredible encouragement to me. It reminds me of what it is to be a believer, a child of God, and what it means to be His church.

Here is what God is reminding me of today. I hope you find encouragement in this as well.

One, God is reminding me that, if I am to truly be an imitator of Him, I must focus on love. In these verses, I am reminded that I am dearly loved by God. Christ loved me by giving Himself up for me. And I am, in turn, to live a life of love.

Although God's love for us is not an earthly, human love that can sometimes spoil or indulge the child, God's love began for us before we were even born. Earlier in Ephesians (2:4-5), Paul says that because of God's deep love for us, He made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in sin.

What does that tell me? That God totally accepts me just as I am, warts and all. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. I will try my best to do the right things, but I will fall down on occasion. I will do the very things I tell myself not to do. But, (good news!) that won't stop God from loving me just as I am. So, can we cranky, self-centered (but very human) members of Christ's church still live a life of love? Yes we can. Because we are accepted and loved. That gives us the ability to do the same for others.

Two, God reminds me that, when Christ loved us (and sacrificed Himself for us), it was to God, a fragrant offering. Remember that word: fragrant. It paints a picture of something that is pleasing, beautiful, aromatic, precious.

I have not yet given myself to others in the way Jesus did. The things I have been asked to do may not be anything that involves intense suffering and mortal sacrifice. But we all have been asked to give of ourselves in ways that may not always be pleasant.

How about all those afternoons you spent with that frightened and uncooperative child you'd been asked to tutor after school? Or that day you spent weeding and cleaning up the church grounds that left you with a sore back and blistered hands? Remember that holiday food drive you organized when it seemed all the thanks you got was criticism and stress?

Well, God remembers it, too. To us, those times were challenging, at best. But, God smelled a lovely fragrant offering. It pleased Him. It made Him smile.

I understand why He smiled. I have the same reaction when one of my own sons displays a talent or behavior that I know I taught him. I smile proudly and say, "That's my boy!" So, when we are imitators of Him, I believe He smiles just like that!

That's one of my greatest hopes. That God will see what I am trying to do, and trying to be, and smile to Himself and declare, "That's my girl!"

Thank you, Father.


No comments:

Post a Comment