5 1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
As we look at today’s first verse, what are we being asked to do? Follow Jesus. Follow his example. Walk in his footsteps. Love others as he loves us. This is quite a challenge! We think we are following Jesus by being in his word, performing good deeds, attending worship, helping others and generally being a good person. However, it is much harder to perform, especially in this complex world. Every day, we take footsteps and we take missteps. Missteps that lead us away from God’s word and his wishes for us. We become distracted. We lose our focus when we get “too busy”. A bit humbling as it happens to me for sure.
As I reflected on my own actions and today’s word, I thought about how to change the distractions that take us away from God. No quick fixes here. Certainly we as Christians can love one another just as Christ loves us. As Rachel posted yesterday, God looked on us with love and we need to offer that love and grace to others. Additionally, we could and should be offering up sacrifices. What if we all spent a bit more time each day trying to walk more closely in his footsteps. Would we have an impact on the world we live in? I think we would and could. If we impacted one person each day by showing extra love, maybe they would impact another person. It is a small thing yet could have a big impact. Love and grace. (Imagine the wave in a stadium!)
Most of my time reflecting on today’s reading has to do with verse 1 and following in his footsteps. I envisioned a morning walk in solitude. My footsteps being small inside of God’s large footsteps. Footsteps are part of my walk on God’s personal path for me. For each of us, even if we stop to smell the roses or happen to step on a thorn along the way, God is still guiding us, prodding us and showing love and compassion for us. As we take steps in our daily lives, we are trying to move forward on a Christian path. We are walking. Sometimes we try to run, but oftentimes we are throttled back to a walk, at God’s pace. On our walk through our days we have the chance to be looking up and out, not down at our own footsteps. Are we walking for our own pleasure or are we following God’s path? If we look up and out, we won’t miss the impact we can have on the world, showing love and grace.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a]
As we walk down this path and further into today’s reading, we are being warned to always be watchful, guarding against temptation. Are we walking on a cliff hoping we don’t misstep? Are we imitating Christ or getting caught up in gossip, foolishness and deceptive words? Do we misstep into greed? To receive this inheritance of the kingdom of God, we should not become distracted. We need to walk in God’s light.
In today’s reading, Paul simply asks us to walk in God’s footsteps, to follow his word, to imitate him, to show kindness and love to others just as he shows it to each of us. Be like God as you go on your walk today!