Ephesians 5:1-2 (NRSV) 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, 2 and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
In a way, all of God’s call on our lives boils down to what is contained in this verse: be imitators of God. And, of course, this isn’t some abstract concept. The idea of imitating God has flesh and bones on it in the person of Jesus Christ.
What it means to be a Christian, is literally, to be like Christ. Following Jesus means doing everything we can to act like Jesus. Some of you may remember those bracelets that were popular several years ago – mine was blue with white letters stitched in it that read “WWJD?”, What Would Jesus Do?
The simple idea behind the bracelet was to be reminded as you went about your everyday life to stop and think about how Jesus would ask and respond in any situation you were facing. In a fairly short amount of time, it seemed like everyone had a WWJD bracelet, athletes, celebrities, and entertainers – many of whom had never really displayed much in the way of ‘Christ-like’ behavior. And then, as quickly as the came, the bracelets disappeared, falling out of favor with the changing times.
While the idea was a little trite and the fad short-lived, the actual concept is a sound one. Our call is to do all we can do to be like Jesus and to act how he would in every situation we find ourselves it.
Part of why I think the WWJD ‘movement’ and bracelets didn’t have staying power was because there wasn’t a lot of depth to it. What would Jesus do is a great first question, a good place to start if you are trying to follow Jesus, but the bracelets didn’t really do much to help figure out the answer to the question.
For that, though, we can look to this passage from Ephesians. In the first verse we have the call to be imitators of Jesus, and then in the second verse we are given a guide to measure our actions against: live in love, as Christ loved us[a] and gave himself up for us.
What would Jesus do? He would – and did - live in love. Sacrificing himself not just on the cross, but in the way he lived every day, out of love for you and me. That is our call as well.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: Lord, help us to imitate you and live in the love that you first shared with us. Amen.