What it means to be a “disciple” – a “follower of Jesus!”
“And He said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?’” (Luke 9:23–25 ESV)
We just finished celebrating “Father’s Day”… I tell you, the person who has had a strong, godly, loving father is incredibly blessed!… One who loves unconditionally, forgives generously, parents wisely, disciples continually and worships authentically!! I had a dad like that and I am grateful to this day for His example and investment in my life!
My Bible reading today – the day after “Father’s Day” – emphasized the example of my “Heavenly Father” and His incredible self-giving, sacrificial love! It’s a brief passage but oh so profound…
“Be imitators of God, as beloved children! And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Here is what immediately came to mind today when I read those verses…
“God SO LOVED the world that He gave His only son…” (John 3:16)
Oh, I want to emulate the self-giving, self-sacrificing, overflowing love of my Heavenly Father! As a parent it will impact and influence my children, grandchildren (and others) more than all the strong-armed, threatening techniques in the world! Discipline is necessary but it even works best when it oozes love! Truth and convictions must be shared and taught but they communicate most powerfully when they are motivated by the love of God, love for God, and love for others.
God did not hold back… He sent heaven’s best – our Savior – on our behalf! Jesus loved us and gave Himself up for us! What an example!
Oh, let me tell you… I want to “imitate God” on this score! I want every day of my life to “walk in love!” Do I have help in this regard… You bet I do, His Spirit is at work within me producing godly love… In fact, “The fruit of the Spirit is LOVE…” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Hey, it’s the day after “Father’s Day” and I’m working on imitating my Heavenly Father!