Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
In our verse today, we are told to follow God’s example for “the way of love.” Let’s look at that for moment….
What did Paul reference as “the way of love” for us to follow? “Just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” We see this same admonishment in his letter to the Roman believers: “ Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Cf. Romans 12:1) And Jesus declared, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (Cf. John 13:34) And He explained: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love.” (Cf. John 15:9-10) And so we see that our love for Jesus is rooted in our obedience to Him … just as He was obedient to the Father.
Jesus is God’s example of love. His love is merciful … it is gentle … it is kind and considerate … it is compassionate … it is forgiving. Paul explained the excellence of agape love in this manner: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (Cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Yes, we are to follow the example our Lord and Savior has given us … to walk in humility as our own act of obedience to Him:
Philippians 2:1-8 (NIV)
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; 7 rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
So I pray that today, we would think about the message of love … loving others the way God has demonstrated His love for us. Romans 5:8 reminds us that God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Let that thought sink deep into your soul this morning. I pray we have made loving God and loving others our greatest resolve … our highest resolution for 2022! I think it should be if we desire to be the people who want to minister healing and deliverance for those around us. Let us be reminded that love is the most excellent way … no matter what goes on in our world … no matter who is elected to office … no matter what others have done or failed to do. Simply follow God’s example, as dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Amen.