READING: Isaiah 11-14, Ephesians 5:1-21
“Therefore” is not an insignificant word. Though its usages are multiple, it typically serves as a word that connects point A with point B—especially when point B is a consequence or result of something. For example, “therefore” in the sentence, “It is going to rain tomorrow; therefore, be sure to take your umbrella,” is a connector between the forecast for rain and the call to carry an umbrella. The latter part of the sentence seems common sense once you’ve heard the first part of the sentence.
In the version of the Scriptures I read, the word “therefore” begins Ephesians 5 in today’s reading (“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children”—Eph 5:1). Inclusion of this word indicates we must look backward and forward in understanding these texts. Looking backward, we find these challenges that are difficult to achieve: “Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ” (Eph 4:31-32). Looking forward takes us to an even higher standard: “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children” (Eph 5:1).
So, only by imitating Christ can we deal with sins that might become apparent even today. Only as we imitate God can we let go of bitterness, speak only with compassion, and forgive each other—just like Jesus did for us. Only in Him can we find forgiveness. Only in Him can we find victory and peace. Only in Him do we walk away from darkness and immorality. Because the Spirit of God lives in us, we can let go of yesterday’s sin and trust Him for today’s victories. Through Him, we can indeed imitate God.
PRAYER: “God, this standard is too high for me. I rely on Your Spirit in me to imitate You.”
DAILY ACTION STEP: All day long, ask the question, “Does this action, thought, or motive imitate God?”
TOMORROW’S READING: Isaiah 15-19, Ephesians 5:22-6:24