Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life 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
We are 4 days into our month of praise, and on this day, we will give thanks to God for sending His Son with His saving grace, and for teaching us how to live a life of love through Him.
Have you ever given a gift to someone that you truly felt you were giving out of love and sacrifice? Perhaps it took much thought, effort, time, or money. You wanted that special someone to know that they were worth the extra sacrifice you had given, and he/she did! It was a gift that made both of you appreciate the other that much more!
We all know from experience that such a gift doesn’t have to be expensive, or even be something we have bought. Sometimes the simplest ones are best, especially if they are given out of love and sacrifice. God gave us such a gift with His Son and with His desire that we know love through His eyes.
This verse gives such a beautiful and descriptive summary of how God desires that we live our lives. “Be imitators of God, walk in love, and be the sweet, smelling aroma of Christ in the lives of others.”
How could we even begin to be like God? It begins with knowing who He is and striving to love as He loves us. It begins by letting His Spirit fill our hearts with His love, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. It means loving others as unconditionally and completely as He loves us.
It’s a tall order, isn’t it? For it isn’t our human nature to be so humble and to put God and others before ourselves in every way. Yet, this verse tells us that we are to be of the same mind as Christ. If we truly desire to show our love to Him and to others, then we must be willing to give something of ourselves.
Jesus gave all of Himself to us – through His life and His death. Paul described it this way: “He gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” They seem like unusual words to use, but Paul knew that God was pleased with the sacrifices such as the fragrant incense that was burned in the early tabernacle. He knew that God had recognized that they were being given out of love, obedience, and faithfulness to Him. Christ did all these and more. He gave the ultimate sacrifice of His love to Him and to us.
What a “fragrant offering” it was, as we remember with what love, forgiveness, and grace it was given on the cross with the promise of eternal life.
We, as dearly loved children of God, are called to be more like Him. We are to live our lives in such a way that we will be the sweet fragrance of Christ in the lives of others, and they will know His love and grace because of us. How grateful we are to know such love.
Our most gracious and loving God, we thank you for the gift of your Son on the cross to save us. May we give our hearts to Him and leave the sweet fragrance of His love with all those we come into contact with. Amen