Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. —Ephesians 5:1-2
We began our Walk in Love study with the word Remember! Remember, you are the beloved of the Father—You are loved by God so deeply!
We are to REMEMBER we are loved, so that we might RESPOND like Jesus—to love as Christ loved us, giving Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
This love-walk is not always an easy path. How do I respond when:
- I am confronted with disappointment?
- I am the recipient of a discouraging word or hurtful response from someone?
- I am overwhelmed with today’s tasks and responsibilities?
- I am frustrated with a relationship or circumstance?
- I am dealing with that one who is immature or inconsiderate?
- I’m inconvenienced?
But we read that Christ, in love, gave Himself up for us. He sacrificed.
The love spoken of in this verse is the word agape in the original language. It means affection, love, good will. With reference to God’s love, it is God’s willful direction toward man. It involves God doing what He knows is best for man and not necessarily what man desires. It is spoken more especially of good will toward others, the love of our neighbor, brotherly affection, which the Lord Jesus commands and inspires.
With this definition in mind, we learn that imitating the love of the Father and of Jesus will involve us doing what is best and not always what we desire or what we “feel” like doing at the moment.
This does not come natural to most of us. I know it doesn’t for me. I like things comfortable, convenient—you know—MY way. But this love-walk requires a change in my natural tendencies which lean toward self-centeredness and self-protection.
“Christ wants us to face reality as it is, including all the fears, hurts, resentments, and self-protective motives we work hard to keep out of sight, and to emerge as changed people. Not pretenders. Not perfect. But more able to deeply love because we’re more aware of His love.” —Larry Crabb, Inside Out
I need a CHANGE in the way I think.
…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. —Ephesians 4:22-25
I need a RENEWAL.
How do we renew our minds?
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. —Romans 12:1-2
Renewal in the original language is the word anakainosis meaning a renovation, a complete change for the better. This renewing of my mind transforms my behavior. I am transformed in my attitudes and actions towards others.
Where do we renew our minds?
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. —Hebrews 4:12
Time spent in the living and active Word of God pierces through my selfish thoughts and attitudes. It shows me where my thinking is contrary to the heart of God. It changes me completely, for the better!
This love-walk of imitating Jesus — giving and sacrificing — begins with a relationship. REMEMBER we are the beloved of the Father, restored to a right relationship with the Father through Christ Jesus. It grows as we RENEW our minds in the Word of God, so that we can RESPOND like Jesus.
Begin today! Get in God’s Word and He will change your reactions and your relationships. Next week we will explore some of the practical ways to loving one another.
Rejoicing in Him!
©2013 Walk in Love, Susan Cady, susancady.com