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.
The new year has begun and many of us have resolutions we want to accomplish. As followers of Christ, we should take a moment to think about what we need to change in order to be more like him. In this passage, Paul encourages us to be imitators of God as his beloved children. These words are very difficult to understand. How can we be like God? Where do we start? The answer is simple. We are imitators of God when we walk in love, just as Christ loved us. This is the greatest attribute of God that is best highlighted throughout the gospels.
Love is such an integral aspect of the gospels that Jesus himself mentions it as an important attribute of a disciple. Jesus said in John 13:34-35:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Love is much more than just obeying commandments. Love is everything. Our love towards God is the reason why we obey him. Love is what drives us to help the needy. Love liberates us from sin. Love heals our hearts from deep emotional wounds. Love encourages us to forgive.
The Apostle John also stresses this commandment from Jesus. 1 John 3:10-11 states:
“This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister”.
In the same way, the Apostle Paul, a master scholar and expert in the law depicts how love should be the greatest commandment out of all the commandments that we must obey as Christians. He writes:
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 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, and always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away”. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 13).