WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 11, 2022
TOPIC: IMITATE GOD (1)
BY T. O. BANSO
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children” (Ephesians 5:1 New King James Version).
In 1 Corinthians 4:16, the apostle Paul urged the Corinthian Christians to imitate him. Also in 1 Corinthians 11:1, he told them to imitate him just as he imitated Christ. Paul didn’t speak out of pride; he spoke as one mentoring the Corinthians. He had established the Corinthian church during his second missionary journey. Therefore, he presented himself to them as an example to emulate as he also emulated Christ.
Also, the writer of Hebrews told the Hebrew Christians to imitate those who through faith and patience inherited the promises (Hebrews 6:12b). Also the apostle John said, “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God” (3 John 11 New King James Version).
But we have another dimension in Ephesians where Paul didn’t ask the Ephesians Christians to imitate him but said, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children” (Ephesians 5:1 New King James Version). This is not an instruction for the Ephesians alone; it is for every child of God. A child should emulate his father. He should resemble his father, not necessarily in physical appearance but in character, assuming that he is a father with good character.
Many people may consider it a tall order to imitate God. How can you imitate someone you do not see? Since God is perfect in His character, can anyone, in reality, succeed in imitating Him? But this is possible through Christ Jesus. God wants us to become like Him, not become Him. And to achieve that, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, so that through Him we can also become His children.
John 1:12-13 says as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Also, the Bible says in Hebrews 2:10, “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (New King James Version).
God wants us to imitate Him just as Jesus did. “Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner’” (John 5:19 New King James Version).
How can we imitate God whom we cannot see? God has revealed Himself to us in the Bible. He has also given the Holy Spirit to believers to teach and guide them. With the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, we can live the life of God; we can imitate Him. When we allow the Holy Spirit to control our lives, He will produce in us the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). These are the attributes of God. We can be like Him with the help of the Holy Spirit.
John 6:63 says it is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The Holy Spirit will help every child of God to live the eternal life that is in him – the new life in Christ Jesus (John 3:15-16; 1 John 5:13). “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3 New King James Version).
As seen earlier in Ephesians 5:1, Paul said we should be imitators of God. In subsequent verses, he talked about some things one can regard as areas we should imitate God. Let’s see what he said and consider a few more things.
What to imitate in God
1. Walk in love. Paul said in Ephesians 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (New King James Version).
God is love. 1 John 4:8 says he who does not love, does not know God, for God is love. The apostle John said further, “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (verse 16 New King James Version). God is love. That’s why He loves unconditionally. Therefore, imitate God. Love as He loves.
As Jesus said, the greatest commandment is love. “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40 New King James Version).
God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for the sins of the world because of His love. He said that whoever believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). God loves us and we should love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind.
We should imitate God. We should walk in love, not only towards our friends but also our enemies as Jesus said (Matthew 5:43-48). 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 tells us the importance of love and its attributes. The love of God is agape, unconditional love, love that is mainly of the will, not of the emotions. Walk in this love – God’s kind of love. Romans 13:10 says love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilment of the law. Imitate the loving character of God.
2. Be a light and walk in the light. Paul also said in Ephesians 5, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth)” (verses 8-9 New King James Version). This is another area in which you should be an imitator of God.
Paul urged us to walk in the light and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but expose them. According to him, all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light (verses 11, 13). “Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (verse 14 New King James Version).
Walk in the light, not in darkness. John 1:4-5 says of Jesus, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (New King James Version). Jesus is the light of the world and whoever follows Him shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life (John 8:12). He also said as long as He was in the world, He was the light of the world (John 9:5). But Jesus didn’t stop at that. He further told His followers that they were the light of the world (Mathew 5:14a).
Quoting from Isaiah 49:6, Paul said, “The Lord had commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 13:47 New King James Version). Paul was a light to the Gentiles – an apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13).
God is light. And if He is your Father, you should be a light to the world. Jesus said you should let your light shine before men; that they might see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16). The apostle John said, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7 New King James Version).
Walk in the light, not in darkness. “O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the LORD” (Isaiah 2:5 New King James Version). God has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians1:13-14). To walk in the light is to walk in the truth of the Word of God, to obey the Word of God. The writer of Psalm 119 says the word of God is a lamp to his feet and a light to his path (Psalm 119:105). Imitate God. Be a light and walk in the light.
3. Walk in wisdom. Paul says in Ephesians 5:15-16, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (New King James Version). The LORD, by wisdom, founded the earth (Proverbs 3:19a). You also need to imitate God in the aspect of wisdom. This does not mean you will be as wise as Him. Nobody can be as wise as God. But we can benefit from the wisdom of God as we ask Him and depend on Him.
There is a difference between the wisdom from above (the wisdom of God) and earthly/worldly wisdom. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy (James 3:17). Jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom; they’re earthly (verse 16).
1 Corinthians 1:20-21 says, “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (New King James Version). Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God (verse 24). The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (verse 25).
Don’t be wise in your own eyes (Proverbs 3:7a). Don’t live your life as a fool. Living your life according to the Word of God is wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). You can also ask God for wisdom. James 1:5 says if anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. Whoever walks with the wise will become wise (Proverbs 13:20b). Walk with the wise, not with fools. Wisdom is profitable to direct – it brings success (Ecclesiastes 10:10).
Imitate God. This is the best imitation! We shall consider more things to imitate in God tomorrow.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I reject in my life any attribute or character that is not of God. Holy Spirit, help me to imitate and manifest the character of God in my life. Holy Spirit, I will cooperate with you to produce in my life the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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