Want to know something crazy?
JESUS LOVES US SO MUCH THAT HE DIED FOR US.
Isn’t that incredible? I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel really warm and fuzzy inside.
Want to know something even crazier?
HE CHOSE TO LOVE US AND DIE FOR US BEFORE WE WERE EVEN CREATED.
Isn’t that amazing? I don’t know about you, but that makes my heart want to burst.
Here’s the thing though…there’s a catch:
GOD WANTS US TO WALK IN THAT SAME KIND OF LOVE.
And if that doesn’t make you think about the way you love, then hopefully the rest of this article does.
In this article we’re going to take a big chunk of scripture, split it up, and dive into each part. First, though, we’ll look at the whole thing:
In Ephesians 5: 1-7 it says, “1: Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2: 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. 3: But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4: Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or course joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5: For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure, or greedy person –such a man is an idolater –has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6: Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7: Therefore do not be partners with them.”
The first part we’re going to look at is Ephesians 5: 1 & 2. There are 4 main points to these verses that we’re going to get into:
- We need to be imitators of God.
- An imitator is someone who copies the behavior or actions of someone else. As followers of Christ, we should have this want –this need –to be like Him, to follow His instructions, to be an example of Him and His word, etc. We know we are not perfect or righteous, and that is what we strive for. But our striving needs to go beyond ourselves. It’s not about us, and it never has been. If God is love, then are we imitating Him by being hateful and judgmental? If God is selfless, then are we imitating Him by putting ourselves first? If God is pure, then are we imitating Him by being immoral and impure in our thoughts and actions? Absolutely not. How can we show others the amazing God we serve, if we cannot even follow Him as He has asked us too? If we cannot love as He first loved us?
- We are loved.
- I have no doubt that you have heard again and again how much you are loved. There will always be times when we do not believe it, or feel it…when we do not understand why…but nothing changes the truth: that no matter how much we sin, or how much we fail, we are always loved. If we weren’t loved, would Jesus have died for us? It is so incredibly important that we understand God’s love for us, because He has called us to live in that love, and walk in it, and share it with others. Just as Christ did.
- We need to live a life of love.
- But how? How do you love a murderer? Or a thief? Or a rapist? Is it even possible to live your life constantly loving people that never seem to deserve it? Maybe, maybe not…but, do you deserve God’s love? Were you worth His sacrifice? None of us are any better than the other, and none of us deserve more love than the other. So how do you expect to be loved, if you can’t even find it in you to love?
- Let go of your pride. Let go of your ways and your control and what you think is best. God saved you from an eternity of pain. He gave you grace when you deserved none. Mercy, when you deserved punishment. Love, when you deserved hate. And His own Son, when you deserved nothing but death. And now, he’s asking you to live in love and walk in love…will you do it with me?
- To love is to sacrifice.
- There’s one thing you should probably know… If you haven’t guessed already, this isn’t supposed to be easy. This is going to require much sacrifice, but everything will be worth it. You’re going to need to sacrifice your pride, like I mentioned above, and you’re control. In fact, you’re going to need to sacrifice your entirety. Because I am telling you, living in love is going to take everything you can possibly give. It’s going to take your time, and sometimes your money. It’s going to take patience, and self-control. You’re going to want to give up…a lot. But you can’t. Because if they see that you love because God loves, than doesn’t that show them how much more He loves? And how much greater His love is?
Okay, now that was a lot, I know. But we’ve got to keep going. Up next, Ephesians 5: 3-5. So that you don’t have to scroll up, this is what it says: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or course joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure, or greedy person –such a man is an idolater –has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
So a good question would be: What does this have to do with walking in love?
Remember how we’re supposed to be imitators of Christ? Does being sexually immoral sound like an imitation? Does impurity or greed sound like it either? Not even close! Guys, we are His holy people. What kind of holiness is impure?
Or here’s another set of questions: Does obscenity show love? Does foolish talk or course joking show love? It says it right there in the verse, that those things are out of place. They’re not right! They don’t reflect who God is. They don’t reflect Christ’s sacrifice for us! There is no room –no place –for those things in heaven, or for anyone who embrace those things.
Now, in these next verses we’re also going to touch on the importance of walking in obedience, because it goes hand in hand with walking in love.
In Ephesians 5: 6-7 it says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.”
God calls us to be obedient to Him, and too often we are more obedient to men and their “empty words”, and too often we deceive ourselves and obey what we think is right, and what we think is love. We must challenge ourselves to do better. We must strive for more. We must lay down our ideas, our thoughts, and the desires of our flesh. If we walk in the obedience that God calls us too, then we will also be walking in love.
In 2 John 1: 5d-6 it says, “I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”
God is love. Christ walked in love. Christ was sacrifice in love, for love. God loves us.
God sent His son…because He loves us. Christ died for us…because He loves us. He rose again…because He loves us. God offers us forgiveness…because He loves us.
WE ARE REDEEMED BECAUSE WE ARE LOVED.
And if that means anything to us, then we will love just as He did. Sacrificially. Willingly. Obediently.
That is the challenge. Will you accept it? Will you love the sinners?
Will you love the unlovable? Will you love when you are lied to? Cheated on? Betrayed? Will you love those who hate? Who steal and kill and lust? Will you love until your heart is torn into pieces and your energy is spent? Until you’re on the ground weeping and praising God that you got to love someone today? Until there’s nothing left to give?
You are not alone in this. And you are not the only one being challenged. Even as I write this, I am being challenged. And I pray that God continues to challenge every one of you in every area of your life.
Now as you go, in case you haven’t heard this yet, remember: YOU ARE LOVED.