An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.”

Ephesians 5:1

This Christmas was a very blessed time for Linde and me. We were able to visit with family and friends, enjoyed plenty of good food, and finally got some quality rest. One of the things we especially enjoyed was the interactions we had with our grandson and great nieces. It is so much fun to watch these toddlers. They can captivate a room full of adults like nothing else can. We all watched, thoroughly delighted, as they tried to repeat certain words and phrases they heard. My sister-in-law instructed our niece, “Roxanne, say ‘mamma,’ say ‘papa,’ say ‘I love you.’” With a smile on her face, the toddler tried her best, squeaking out sounds that almost matched the words and phrases put to her. Her imperfect pronunciation mattered little; what delighted the adults in the room was her sincere and joyful attempt to imitate what she had heard. It reminded me of today’s verse passage. Paul instructed us to “be imitators of God as dear children.” That is, we ought to joyfully and sincerely strive to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:9). That means striving to be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful (Luke 6:36), holy as He is holy (Leviticus 11:44; 19:2; 20:7; 1 Peter 1:15-16), perfect as He is perfect (Matthew 5:48). The great apostle Peter wrote that when we are experiencing hard times and opposition, we have Christ’s flawless performance as our example to follow(1 Peter 2:21). Our Lord was innocent,“neither was guile found in his mouth,” wrote the apostle, “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:22-23). The Lord Himself commanded us to love our enemies, to bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and to pray for them which despitefully use us, and persecute us; “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:44-45). I can imagine our heavenly Father delighting in watching His redeemed children as they strive to imitate Christ. Though they cannot in this dispensation walk as blamelessly and flawlessly as the Lord Who bought them, their sincere attempt to please their God through obedience must surely bring Him joy. “Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good,” said the LORD (Jeremiah 32:41a). “The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him,” wrote the psalmist, “in those that hope in his mercy. For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation” (Psalm 147:11; 149:4). Let us commit to being better imitators of God in 2023, for His pleasure and glory and for the good of others.

God bless you all, dear saints,

pastor john