Together in Christ: 'Living Love in Real Life with Real People' — Ephesians 5:1-2

Thursday, May 30, 2024

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Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

— Ephesians 5:1-2 NLT

Key Thought

The Scriptures repeatedly have challenged us to be like God, our heavenly Father. We are told to be holy, [1] perfect, [2] and forgiving [3] like God, our heavenly Father. In our verses today, Paul challenged us to be like God in our relationships: "Imitate God... in everything you do." The ultimate way we must become like God is by loving as God loves. [4] Our lives are "filled with love" because love is the essential nature of God [5] and because we are his "dear" (literally, "beloved" from a Greek word having "ἀγάπῃ/agape" as its root) children. As God's children, God re-created us in Christ to be like Him and love others as He has loved us. [6] Loving others is also the example Jesus left for us to follow. [7]

Paul didn't leave any doubt about what he meant by the word "love." He told us that Jesus defined it by His actions: "Christ... loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us"! John said something similar. From his description, you don't have to look in a Greek lexicon to understand what this love (ἀγάπῃ/agape) is:

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion — how can God's love be in that person?

Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. [8]

. . .

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love — not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. [9]

In other words, sacrificial love for others, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ, should permeate our lives. When we love each other as Jesus loved us, the presence of God and His love are "brought to full expression in us." [10] We show ourselves to be God's children because we are like our Abba Father! [11] As Jesus said, all people will be able to recognize us as His followers because of our love for each other! [12]

[1] 1 Peter 1:15.
[2] Matthew 5:48.
[3] Ephesians 4:32.
[4] 1 John 4:7-8, 16.
[5] 1 John 4:8.
[6] 1 John 4:7.
[7] Ephesians 2:10; John 15:12.
[8] 1 John 3:16-18.
[9] 1 John 4:9-10.
[10] 1 John 4:12.
[11] 1 John 4:8.
[12] John 13:34-35.

Today's Prayer

O, Father, I want to love my brothers and sisters in Christ as you love them and me. Please, Holy Spirit, pour God's love into my heart [A] and empower my love for others through my attitude and actions. I pray that people can see my love for others and know I follow Jesus. [B] Through my loving actions, help others to experience the love that sent Jesus to save them. I ask all of this in Jesus' name and for Jesus' honor. Amen.

[A] Romans 5:5.
[B] John 13:34-35.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 3:16-18, 4:7-12
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

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Illustration

Illustration of Ephesians 5:1-2 NLT — Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.