His footsteps were so far apart. As I followed my father through the woods, I tried to step exactly where he had stepped. Unfortunately, he had a much longer leg span and I had to take two steps to each one of his. As a small child, I loved to copy what my father did. Or sometimes it was my mother I would imitate. I would attempt to walk around with her dress shoes or wear her necklaces for dress up.
Most of us hold similar memories of wanting to mimic what our parents or other loved ones did. It’s a natural response to imitate those we love. God asks the same of our relationship with Him in Ephesians 5:1. “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” Notice how Paul, the writer of Ephesians, compares this to children imitating their parents. We can all relate to the example.
The next verse further clarifies what we are to imitate. “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.” We all have opportunities to love others the way God loves us. It is one thing to know we should and another to follow through. God loves unconditionally. It doesn’t depend on others…their acceptance, response, or attitude. It just loves. Period.
Again, God doesn’t leave us hanging on what it looks like in application. We see it clearly in First Corinthians 13:4-7. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Utilizing this passage by asking the following questions helps evaluate how we are doing with loving others:
· Am I patient and kind?
· Do I envy and boast?
· Am I arrogant or rude?
· Do I insist on my own way?
· Am I irritable or resentful?
· Do I rejoice at wrongdoing or rejoice with the truth?
· Do I bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things?
As Jesus walked this earth, He perfectly demonstrated this love toward all He met. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are filled with examples for us to imitate. May we all follow in our Father’s footsteps, imitating His perfect love, and sharing it with those around us.