Ephesians describes what happens when we follow Christ – how we put on a new life (4:17-32) and how we must be imitators of God and walk in love. Think of how young children just want to imitate their parents – so should we be imitating our Father and our big Brother (Jesus).
So often I find myself being ‘on fire’ for the Lord and walking in the light – maybe after listening to a certain sermon, attending a conference or after reading scripture. Then before I realise it, I’m in the dark again, wanting the things of the world and my mind is wandering.
Passages of scripture like this are great reminders to me to be careful how I walk and not to imitate the ways of the world. Satan is a master at making me look at people I deal with in business and sowing the seed of covetousness – look at what great lives they lead, they have all the material riches that I want and need. What a great lie! I have access to the Creator of the universe and He chose me (Ephesians 1:4) before I was born. I have access to all of God’s glory and I will be with God and countless other believers for all eternity – that is a far greater treasure than anything the world can give me in the here and now!
But I need to be careful. I need to imitate Christ, to speak the truth to my fellow believer, build up my brothers and sisters in Christ (rather than tearing them down), I need to be kind to my brothers and sisters, and we need to be united as a church of believers. I need to be wise to the subtle ways of Satan both outside and (unfortunately) from within the church – it is only by constantly making sure that I imitate Jesus that I will be able to have the wisdom to discern good from evil.
Ephesians 4:4-6 reminded us that we need to have unity in the church: ‘There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.’ How do we maintain this unity in a world which says that to succeed we need to be more powerful and better than the rest? False teachers tell us we must have bigger and better spiritual experiences, we must hold positions of prestige in the church and so forth. Well, Ephesians 5:21 tells us exactly how – ‘Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ’. Submission means putting other believers’ needs and feelings before our own – building them up for the sake of the gospel, church unity and ultimately to glorify God.
What a great challenge this is to the believer. Even as I write this I have a sense of my shortcomings as a believer and I’m challenged to live this lifestyle that should accompany my identity in Christ – making sure that I change my lifestyle to be different from the world, living a life of love that is a fragrant offering to God, walking a life in the light and not having to hide my actions and thoughts away in the darkness, and walking in the wisdom that the Holy Spirit brings me.
So, does my lifestyle really reflect Christ?
Lord, I pray that I would constantly seek to be an imitator of Christ, that I would live my life in light of the grace that you constantly pour out on me. I pray that Your Spirit would prick my conscience every time I stray off the path of Christ’s love and that I would put my fellow believers before my own selfish wants and desires. Amen.