5 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Our devotions are by no means a Bible study. Instead they usually find some basic truth (sometimes overlooked) and show how we can apply those truths today, right now. In chapter 4 this was simple because we were told to rid ourselves of our old self and instructed with some simple applications of that: don’t let your flesh (old self) lead you into lying, acting out on anger (an often uncontrollably present emotion), nor let it lead you to steal, talk negatively about people, or hold bitterness. All of these are simple, but difficult to practice. Now as chapter five opens we read how we are supposed to be living: walking in love. Christ lead with love. This seems simple at first glance as well, right? We just need to “walk in love”… but what did this love look like? Love was displayed in Christ giving Himself up for us. 1 John 4:10 10 confirms- this is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. In verse 2 of chapter five we see that love is displayed in a sacrificial giving of ones self for the sake of another.
So again, what does that look like? I mean… I just answered that, were you paying attention? 😛 This means we lay down our lives, preferences, activities, leisure time, etc. for the sake of others. That seems basic right? Eh, kinda… I think “for the sake of others” must be clarified. Jesus didn’t give Himself up for us “so that we could live like Americans” but as a “sacrifice to God.” The way we walk in love is sacrificing ourselves to God for the sake of those people. That means praying, asking God what He would have us do for that person… not asking them what they would have us do for them. Jesus didn’t come to the world and ask them what they needed, He told them. We frequently mix that up. We say we are living this way because we are selflessly offering ourselves up to help someone in all the little ways they ask for or we think are necessary. We are in a negative loop where we are doing human things and claiming they are Godly… and they are fruitless. Notice though the lack of difference between sacrificing ourselves to others… and sacrificing ourselves to ourselves. We need to ask GOD what He would have us do, not pretend to be God ourselves and act like we know what He wants us to do for people… *cough* Church programs *cough* Let’s not ASSUME things… 😉
Walking in love and being an imitator of Christ means walking closely with the Father and finding out what He would have us do to lead someone to redemption. We offer our lives, ourselves, as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Are you living in a way that you’re pouring out your life for others? Are you holding back SOME time, or SOME things, or whatever else because you want it? *TRIGGER WARNING* Have you fed the lie of “self care” without consulting the Lord first? Self care is good, time to recover is good, but when that “time” is 75%-90% of your life… maybe you’re missing something.
Spend 1-2 minutes thanking God that He has given you the ability to love people selflessly. Then spend 2-3 minutes asking God to show you what you may be doing that YOU came up with. Ask Him to show you the negative things in your life that you’ve implemented while thinking they are “good” but are actively keeping you from His mission.
Find someone near your home that you can start praying about connecting with and partnering with God to reach. Pray for God to guide you to that person, and then pray for what the next steps are.