Daily encouragement

Video by

Justin Miller

ACF Devo Team

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Ephesians 5: 1-2

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. (ESV)

Behind the Scenes

When I read these verses, I can’t help but be reminded of the 90’s W.W.J.D. saying, “What Would Jesus Do?” As a kid, I proudly wore a bracelet with those letters on it more because it was cool and less because I was trying to do what Jesus would do. Sure, I could quote John 3:16 like all other good church kids, and I knew the hand motions to “Lord I Lift Your Name on High,” but it was mostly superficial. I learned all the right things to do, but my motivation was all wrong.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggled to fit in as a kid, In fact, just last night a friend said, “I don’t remember anything about middle school - I’ve blocked it all out!” When it came to fitting in, though, I took it to the extreme, judging my worth based on how I felt I was perceived by my peers around me. I obsessed over how I fit in with my friends, if was I liked, and the all-important “what do people think of me?” I analyzed every single word I said and never wanted to give anyone a reason to dislike me. It was exhausting and even paralyzing, but at the time I felt as though it was what I was supposed to do, and what I needed to do.

It wasn’t until I was in high school that I slowly started to realize that having my own opinions and even disagreeing with friends didn’t repel them but actually made us all better friends! Eventually, this translated into my spiritual life, too. I discovered that I was loved for who God says I am, not for anything I do on my own. By being imitators of God and living in his truth, we don’t lose who we are; we become what God created us to be.

Make it Real

My identity as a youth was so wrapped up in the other people around me, I struggled to see my true identity in Christ. In Christ we are all beloved children, so dearly loved that even using every possible synonym in a thesaurus could never come close to describing the magnitude of God’s love for us. Francis Chan put it well when he said in his book Crazy Love, “Isn’t it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?”

I don’t think anything has helped me understand God’s sacrificial love as much as being a parent. The sleepless nights, the constant cooking (how can they eat so much?), and giving up the last piece of my favorite decadent chocolate cake. How much more does our Heavenly Father love us? Paul says in verse 2 that Christ loved us, but it doesn’t mean that he stopped loving us at some past moment in time. Rather, it points us to the ultimate act that showed how immensely he loved us: taking on all of our sins on the cross.

So how should we respond to that love? By becoming imitators of God. As we’ve walked through chapter 4 of Ephesians over the past week, we’ve seen it list out many ways we should act and live as followers of Christ Jesus. But it all boils down to this: love. If we walk in love, we lose bitterness and anger. If we walk in love, we speak love, not corruption, malice, or gossip. If we walk in love, we are imitators of God, because God is Love.

What would it mean for you to walk in love today? How can you remove any focus on the opinion of others and instead fix your eyes on Jesus, living as a beloved child who is ready to show that love to others, just as the Father does to us? What would change in your life if you stopped and truly asked, “What Would Jesus Do?”

End in Prayer

Lord, your love for us is beyond anything we can even imagine. Thank you for calling us your beloved children and for Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross. Help us to continue to walk in your love and become imitators of you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Written by

Alex Milliken

ACF Devo Team