By: Beth Doohan
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1–2
“When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love…” John 15:10
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My little niece Zoe, who is nearly four, has decided she wants to be a “rock scientist” one day, and I have no doubt she could become one. Through the nurture of her wonderful parents, she has become a nature girl who loves exploration and discovering how things work. Lately, Zoe has started asking her daddy if they can go outside to “enjoy the peaceful.” When she enters a nicely decorated space or fondly examines a flower, stone, or leaf, she comments sincerely, “It’s so beautiful.”
Zoe’s admiration and interest in nature and design remind me of the way God must feel about His creation. How it must delight His heart to hear this sweet girl enjoying the things He has designed and sharing that joy with others. I cannot help but think that is how God feels about His creation, most especially about each person uniquely crafted in His image.
As Christians, we are called to be “imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1, NASB). We imitate God by knowing Him through His Word, loving Him with a thankful heart, and giving that love to others. As we do, we will become like Him, walking in His ways and delighting in the things that also delight Him. This is what Paul describes as “the way of love” (Ephesians 5:2).
The Apostle Paul also charges us to “walk as children of Light…trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8 and 10). When we study God’s Word and are sensitive to the Holy Spirit, we learn about what pleases Him and how to follow Him. We take delight in the things He delights in: His precepts, His creation, His love. As we do, we become like Him and shine His light to others.
Before Jesus went to the cross, He spent time pouring strength and wisdom into his disciples for how they should live. His simple yet powerful words were, “Remain in My love” (John 15:9, NLT). Be imitators of God, basking in the love of our Lord who laid down His very life for us. How do we do this? Verse 10 continues, “When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love.” Jesus died for sin once for all “to bring [us] to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Dwelling in God’s love by obeying His commandments is our wholehearted response to our Savior and helps us stay close to Him throughout our lives.
In Deuteronomy 30, we see God’s longing for us to wholeheartedly follow Him. Verses 19-20 says, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses… Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Just as God’s children bring Him joy by being close to Him, imagine the sorrow He experiences when we turn from Him. God loves us unconditionally, but His heart is grieved when we go our own way. His commands are for our benefit because they draw us close to Christ and bring Him glory! As imitators of God, we should be motivated to follow Him out of love for our Lord, knowing that this is where true blessing is found as His beloved children.
As daughters of the King, let’s commit to “the way of love” for our Lord: to engage in God’s Word every day, thanking Him for His beautiful creation, and seeking to be imitators of Christ as dearly loved children. Since we are created in God’s image for His purposes, may we endeavor to be like Him in all things by knowing Him deeply and remaining in His love by obeying His commands. Then we can become more like Him as we delight in the things that delight His heart!
TIME TO REFLECT
1. Think of some unique ways you can spend time with God, to learn from Him and become like Him (taking a nature walk while thanking God for His creation, memorizing Scripture by jotting it on a notecard to read every day, journaling a prayer of things laid on your heart, sharing what you are learning from the Bible with a friend, etc.). Spend time doing one or two of these this week.
2. In John 15:9-10, Jesus charges us, “Remain in My love” by obeying His commandments. How is God asking you to obey Him in this season (stepping out in faith by serving, changing a negative habit, entrusting a loved one into His care instead of worrying, etc.)? Tell God in prayer what you are committing to do, and ask Him to help you have a heart of obedience in this area as you respond to His love for you as His beloved daughter.
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