Thursday, June 25

Ephesians 5:1-2
“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and  gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

Jesus Christ invites his followers to deny themselves. Jesus Christ invites his followers to take up their cross. Jesus Christ invites his followers to come and die.  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul, in these opening verses of Ephesians 5, invites you and me to imitate Christ.

Consider this syllogism.

A.     Major Premise: Jesus gave himself up for others. 
B.     Minor Premise: We imitate Jesus.
C.    Conclusion: We give ourselves up for others. 

Although logically, the conclusion may align with the major and the minor premise, there is a weakness in this equation. The weakness: sinful human behavior. It can be very difficult to give up our lives for others. We are prone to judge, criticize, compare and evaluate ourselves versus other people. As a result, we can find reasons for not giving ourselves up for them.  

By God’s grace, there is an insightful phrase in these verses from Ephesians 5 which may help us to give ourselves up for others. The phrase: “sacrifice to God.”   When Jesus gave himself up for us, he did so with his “eyes” on the Father. Because of His love for the Father, Jesus sacrificed his life to the Father. Consequently, when Jesus calls us to give ourselves up for others, we do it not by focusing first on the “others.” We do it by focusing first on God. We too, make a sacrifice of our lives to God! 

Consider the people in your life that God is calling you to serve.
Consider how God is inviting you to give yourself up for them. Now, turn your eyes to Jesus and once again, sacrifice your life to Him. See how the Spirit of God changes your perspective of the person God is calling you to serve.

Thank you, Jesus, that you sacrificed yourself to the Father for my sake. Please fill me with your Spirit that each day I sacrifice myself to you. Teach me that in sacrificing to you I am now freed to give up my life to others. Amen.