When the students of the area Christian high school in my city head out to their cars each afternoon, a Bible passage catches their eyes. “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children” (Ephesians 5:1 NIV84). Those words are engraved over the exit doors, lifted up so that every teenage eye can see them.
As much as I love the challenge of the first phrase (to imitate the God of love), I adore the final words even more. We are “dearly loved children.” It would be incredible to be called the children of God. Even more incredible to be called the beloved children of God. But Paul insists that we Christians are dearly loved children! That is the most incredible truth of all!
The love among the Father, Son, and Spirit overflows and gushes out into our lives. In the same way, God wants our love for one another to overflow out the doors of the church and flood our communities, schools, and workplaces. This is what Paul urged the Ephesian Christians to do, and today our calling is still the same.
Imitating God’s love is no small activity, but thankfully we have a solid identity through faith in Jesus. We are the dearly loved children of a glorious Father in heaven.