I’m the oldest of three sisters who are very different. In our teens the differences were glaring. But as the years pass, similarities abound: we all enjoy reading, crafting, organizing, genealogy and homemaking. All three of us are early risers, even the sister who never saw a sunrise without a fight in her youth. We dress alike, talk alike and think alike. The relationships we have with our children and grandchildren are similar. We even all use the same laundry detergent and dish soap. Oh, and each of us has lost her heart to a small dog.
My sisters and I are imitating our parents, walking in their footprints, becoming more like them as we age. God created us to be imitators and designed our family relationships to reflect the kind of relationship he wants with us. Not all of us have been blessed with parents worthy of imitation. But we have all been given an example of godliness in our Savior, Jesus Christ. “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.” Ephesians 5:1-2
God created us to “walk in love” and then provided us an example in the life of Jesus. In our society, to love someone means to want them to be happy. But Jesus did not make everyone happy. He focused on truth and forgiveness, challenging and encouraging others. He looked for humble, contrite spirits and fed those who were hungry to know more. Christ demonstrated his love for us when he gave himself up for us, putting our needs in front of his own. He died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Don’t hesitate to ask Jesus to reveal ways you can do a better job of walking in love like he did. Perhaps you need to be more forgiving in your relationships. Maybe you’ve been living a lie in order to avoid confrontation. My self-reflection has revealed a hardened heart that is too content in my own relationship with the Lord and not concerned about helping others who hunger for him. And I fall very short of considering “others more important than myself” in so many ways. (Philippians 2:3-4)
During this time of corporate self-reflection at Alpine Chapel, it is easy to become discouraged at the many ways we fall short of Jesus’ example. When that happens it is because we are looking at ourselves through our own eyes, not the eyes of God. The Lord has a plan for your life and knows the struggles you face. He’s still looking for humble, contrite hearts so he can strengthen them with the bread of life. Remember that when you are weak, you are strong because your weakness allows the power of Christ to work through you. Surrender to his love and tenderness. Through his Spirit, we can turn our backs on our selfish ways and turn our eyes to Jesus. Let’s walk in love the way Jesus did and leave a legacy that will endure forever.