“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children . . . just as Christ loved us” (Ephesians 5:1,2). Did you see that? You can follow God’s example, not so that God will love you but because God loves you. Just consider how dearly loved you are! God chose you before the creation of the world; he sent Jesus to die on a cross to wash away your sins and then found you with the sweet message of your salvation. In another spot in Ephesians, the apostle Paul prays that you might “know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (1:18). Do you see what that’s saying? We all have things in life that when we look at them, they make us feel rich. Maybe it’s a car or a family heirloom or a child. But do you know what makes God feel rich? God feels rich when he looks at you! You are dearly loved!
Suddenly, I want to please the One who loves me like that. I want to imitate God. Have you ever noticed that? You start to imitate those you love. It’s almost imperceptible to you, but it’s obvious to everyone else. Husbands and wives have tons of inside jokes. Friends start to imitate each other’s style in clothes and music. Kids are chips off the old block—there’s truth to the phrase, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
So what will I do for the One who suffered hell in my place? I want to be just like him!