"be imitators of God," Paul wrote. Ephesians 5.1 Hmmm … how can I possibly imitate God? In order to imitate something, you usually have to see it, maybe touch it, or feel it … right? Let your mind go for a minute … if you were on a television game show and the host said, ‘Jen, for $1,000,000, imitate God, so that your team can guess the person you are imitating!’ What would you do? How would you imitate God? In order to imitate anything, you have to know something about it. The more you know about it, the more you have experienced it, the better imitator of ‘that thing or one’ you will be. Right? So, go ahead … imitate God. Hmmm. Ha, I remember one afternoon I was driving Danny (15) to his friend Parker’s house, and I turned and said, “Danny, what do you think God is like?” And no kidding, his off-the-cuff answer was, “I think he’s a homey.” “What? What do you mean by that?” I asked. He smiled and said, “I just think God is cool.” And I thought, ‘Wow! How great is that?’ Mind you, this boy has been raised in the church, and could have spouted any number of spiritual platitudes, but he did not. How about you? What do you think God is like, and how would you imitate him? I cannot contain myself any longer, Friends. Before we move further into Ephesians chapter 5, I am bursting at the seams to share something with you that I read. I read it, then I reread it, and then I read it again. And it fits amazingly well right here. It is about God, and what he is like. From the late Dallas Willard, “We should, to begin with, think that God leads a very interesting life, and that he is full of joy. Undoubtedly he is the most joyous being in the universe... While I was teaching in South Africa some time ago, a young man named Matthew Dickason took me out to see the beaches near his home in Port Elizabeth. I was totally unprepared for the experience. I had seen beaches, or so I thought. But when we came over the rise where the sea and land opened up to us, I stood in stunned silence and then slowly walked toward the waves. Words cannot capture the view that confronted me. I saw space and light and texture and color and power . . . that seemed hardly of this earth. Gradually there crept into my mind the realization that God sees this all the time. He sees it, experiences it, knows it from every possible point of view, this and billions of other scenes like and unlike it, in this and billions of other worlds. Great tidal waves of joy must constantly wash through his being. It is perhaps strange to say, but suddenly I was extremely happy for God and thought I had some sense of what an infinitely joyous consciousness he is and of what it might have meant for him to look at his creation and find it “very good” … [And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.]1 We are enraptured by a well-done movie sequence or by a few bars from an opera or lines from a poem. We treasure our great experiences for a lifetime, and we may have very few of them. But he is simply one great inexhaustible and eternal experience of all that is good and true and beautiful and right. This is what we must think of when we hear theologians and philosophers speak of him as a perfect being. This is his life. . . . Jesus himself was and is a joyous, creative person. He does not allow us to continue thinking of our Father who fills and overflows space as a morose and miserable monarch, a frustrated and petty parent, or a policeman on the prowl. One cannot think of God in such ways while confronting Jesus’ declaration “He that has seen me has seen the Father.”2 One of the most outstanding features of Jesus’ personality was precisely an abundance of joy. . .”3 People loved being around Jesus. Paul said, ‘Be imitators of God…” From the above take by Dallas Willard when in South Africa, we can intentionally look and think bigger of God and about God, about his creation and about his plans. We zoom out, not just focusing on every little thing in the dailiness of our lives, but instead the grand landscape of a magnificent God . Indeed, we must think rightly about the God we serve and take joy in him, because he is our joy! And besides, knowing God allows us to choose joy as well. Please do me a favor, listen to this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbXjgwDHNpQ I am praying for you, Christine
1 - Genesis 1.31 2 - John 14.9 3 – Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy.