"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children" Ephesians 5:1
This verse totally made me smile this morning, because I totally get what it's saying.
Children have a natural desire to want to imitate their parents. Many a family business has started that way, with Dad or Grandpa taking the lead, and then as time goes on, the sons want to learn the business and eventually take over. But we even see it in young children- I know we've seen it in our home a hundred times. Daddy starts working on a project involving tools, and as toddlers, the kids would grab their plastic tools and try to imitate him. Now that they are a little older, they still want to learn and be involved, so often times, they will try their hand at using a particular tool once or twice. Many times I'll be cooking in the kitchen and one or both of the kids wants to help- or as of late, Abigail will want to try cooking by herself, to see if she can do the same things that mommy does too.
We are dearly loved children of God. Think about that. Right there, that one sentence tells us several things. One, that we are dearly loved- not even just loved. Dearly loved- we are dear to God- that's so awesome to read and to hear. When our children misbehave, we do correct them or punish them as is fit for the situation, but do you know, our love for our children never, ever fades. We love them no matter what they do wrong or how they goof up- and God loves His children in the exact same way. He loves us because we are His children, and He will always love us. As a proud papa, God wants us to imitate Him, to try to learn to be more like Him!
Going to back to the children though, as a child, imitating a parent, it never comes easy the first time. No seven year old boy picks up a hammer for the first time and expertly puts a birdhouse together with hammer and nails. Usually he starts with baby steps. First he simply tries pounding a nail into a board, and realizes that even that simple task is more difficult than it looks. And then maybe he'll try hammering two pieces of wood together. Finally, when he thinks he knows how to do it, he'll start assembling the pieces for the birdhouse. Of course you know though, that no daddy would let his young son do that task all alone the first time too. So a daddy is usually nearby, offering gentle instruction and encouragement- and correcting the wrong things done over the course of the project. As that project is completed, a slightly more difficult one may go underway, and another and another, and before you know it, the little boy is quite the accomplished woodworker.
Oh, how I love comparing God to that of a daddy! God is the exact same way. When He says to be imitators of Him, more than anything what He wants us to imitate is His loving nature. He wants us to love those around us with His love. But sometimes, that doesn't come easy. And He clearly isn't expecting us to swallow some magic love pill and suddenly love everyone around us. No. It takes baby steps. First, He wants us to start with one person- maybe that one person is a little difficult to love at first, but over time, the love comes. Along the way, while you're learning to love someone with God's love, if something goes wrong, God is there, with His Word to correct you and offer suggestions for doing a better and more thorough job. And the more you love people with God's love, the more people God will send your way to love. And the more people you love, the more you will become like your Father in Heaven.
And that's what it's all about. Being an imitator of Father God is learning to be more like Him. Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. God loves His children, and it pleases Him so when we even attempt to be like Him. How will you please God today?