WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 12, 2022
TOPIC: IMITATE GOD (2)
BY T. O. BANSO
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children” (Ephesians 5:1 New King James Version).
Yesterday, we saw how in 1 Corinthians 4:16, the apostle Paul urged the Corinthian Christians to imitate him and, in 1 Corinthians 11:1, told them to imitate him as he imitated Christ. Furthermore, we read how the writer of Hebrews told the Hebrew Christians to imitate those who through faith and patience inherited the promises (Hebrews 6:12b). We equally read 3 John 11 which says we should not imitate what is evil, but what is good, and adds that he who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.
However, in Ephesians 5:1, we read another dimension to the discourse on imitation where Paul said to the Ephesian church, which he established during his second missionary journey, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children” (New King James Version).
In the devotional yesterday, we identified three things in Ephesians 5 that we should imitate in God. These are, walk in love, be a light and walk in the light, and walk in wisdom. Paul talked about these in the chapter.
Today, in addition to what we have seen in Ephesians 5, I want to talk about four things we should emulate in God. This does not mean that there are no other things, but I will limit myself to these four.
1. Embrace holiness. God is holy and we should imitate Him. We should live a life of holiness. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” Be holy. God said this in the Old Testament: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy (Leviticus 19:2b).
Be holy. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 says God did not call us to uncleanness but in holiness. Therefore, we should get rid of sin in our lives. We should know that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with and we should no longer be slaves of sin (Romans 6:6). We should be dead to sin and live for righteousness. 1 Peter 2:24 says Jesus Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness.
As said in 2 Corinthians 7:1, we should cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Because our Father is holy, we, His children, cannot be the opposite. That is why the Bible emphasizes living victoriously over sin. Hebrews 12:10 says our earthly father for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but God chastens us for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. As Hebrews 12:14 says, we should pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.
Furthermore, Romans 14:23b says whatever is not from faith is sin. In other words, “If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning” (New Living Translation). Faith is acting on the Word of God. Hebrews 11:6 says without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. This underscores the need to live by faith. Not to live by faith is sin, and when there is sin, there is no holiness and, therefore, God cannot be pleased. Live by faith. The just shall live by faith (Roman 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). The just shall live by his faith (Habakkuk 2:4).
2. Be merciful. This is another character of God that His children should emulate. God is gracious; He is merciful. Imitate this attribute of God. You cannot be merciful by yourself but with the help of the Holy Spirit as you yield to Him. Psalm 116:5 says gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yes, our God is merciful. God, revealing His character, says in Hebrews 8:12, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (New King James Version).
God is merciful. Quoting from Exodus 33:19, Paul says of God, “For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion” (Romans 9:15 New King James Version).
The children of God should be merciful and compassionate as God is. Jesus says in Luke 6:36 that we should be merciful, just as our Father also is merciful. Don’t be callous, wicked, hardhearted, or unsympathetic. Jesus also says blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7). If you sow mercy, you will reap mercy. “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13 New King James Version).
3. Forgive. Forgiveness is another character of God His children should emulate. God forgives out of His love and mercy. The Bible says He forgives iniquity and transgression and sin (Exodus 34:7b; Numbers 14:18b). Psalm 103:9-12 says, “He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (New King James Version).
God forgives us our sins and requires that we forgive others, too. Jesus emphasizes this in the Lord’s Prayer: forgive us our debts (sins), as we forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:12; Luke 11:4). Forgive those who wronged you because you also sinned against God and others and they forgave you and you will still need forgiveness. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15 New King James Version).
1 John 1:9 says if we confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Forgive others as God forgave and forgives you. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 New King James Version). Unforgiveness is a sign that you don’t appreciate God’s forgiveness.
4. Be faithful. 1 Corinthians 1:9 says God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. God is faithful. He keeps His covenant. He forever remains faithful. As 2 Timothy 2:13 says, if we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. If you’re His son, you should emulate Him.
To be faithful means to be loyal, reliable, dependable, dedicated, trustful, and steadfast. If you’re faithful, you will manifest these character traits. You will keep God’s commandments just as God keeps His covenants. Emulate God’s faithfulness. Be faithful. Luke 16:10-12 says, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (New King James Version). Be faithful until death, and God will give you the crown of life (Revelation 2:10b).
God wants His children to be like Him. The seven points we have considered in this two-part devotional are not all the attributes of God we need to imitate. Imitating God, as Paul said, cannot be done in human power or strength. But if we yield the control of our lives to the Holy Spirit, He will produce in us what the Bible refers to as the fruit of the Spirit – the attributes or character of God, namely love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Therefore, walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). You shall put to death the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).
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: Holy Spirit, I receive your help to cultivate in me the character of God. Holy Spirit, let the attributes of God become more manifest in my life as I allow You to control me. I am dead to sin and will live for righteousness in Jesus’ name. I will imitate God, not the devil.
(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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