Who do you think you are, God almighty?
That is one way to react to Ephesians 5:1. Spoiler alert. It is the wrong way. The passage is translated, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” The word “imitators” can be rendered “mimic” God. Hence someone could accuse us saying, “Just who do you think you are, God almighty?”
That would be incredibly shallow and misguided.
Imitating God means what? God is all giving and self-sacrificing.
Mimicking God means giving oneself up, giving oneself away. Far from meaning assuming superiority over others, it puts us in the place of service and support and love. It puts us in the place of mercy, compassion and caring support. These are characteristics of God. Superiority, oppression and dominance are not characteristics of God. If anyone disagrees they need only look at the cross.
I hope we all have role models we try to mimic – acting out in ourselves the characteristics most admirable in the ones we strive to mimic. The best model of living is the Lord God.
How wonderful that we are called, “beloved children” in the Bible. It is noteworthy that the word translated children here is “teknon” which means son or daughter. According to the lexicons, the “teknon” is one with whom you have formed bonds of reciprocal love, friendship and trust, just like bonds formed between parent and child.
We stand in the relationship with God as daughter or son, child. God protects us and leaves as a bequest all he has to us. God loves us, parent to child. We in turn seek to imitate him, to mimic his goodness.
Will you pray with me? “Dear Lord, you are the greatest power in the universe, yet you love us with an intimate and tender love. You are king, yet you do not regard us as subjects, you are Master, yet you do not regard us as slaves, you are the creator, yet you do not regard us as things. You are all those things, yet you tell us to call you ‘Our Father.’ Thank you for showing us what love looks like. Help us to mimic your love! We ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.”