From The Heart

Publish date: 05/24/1998

Foundation Scripture: Ephesians 5:1-10  (NIV)

1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3But 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. 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person-- such a man is an idolater-- has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them. 8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord.

Little children are born imitators. It is in their make-up. It comes naturally. In fact we often see ourselves reflected in our children and we are not always pleased with the results, because they don’t always imitate only the good things we do and say! It is in our spiritual nature to follow and to imitate and the one we should be following and imitating is GOD.

3 John 1:11   (NAS)
11Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.

We have spiritual parents and leaders and we should follow them as they follow the Lord. Do not make the mistake of following someone who is only pretending to follow the Lord. The Lord is your example and the one you should look up to and the one you should try to be like.

Hebrews 13:7  (NIV)
7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

God is love and the first thing we must do is become filled with the love of God and let His love flow through us every day. This is not an optional thing. You don’t walk in love only on the days you feel like it and be mean and selfish whenever you want to. You walk in love, even when you don’t feel like it, because God walks in love every day. Aren’t you glad that God does not only love us on the days that He “feels like it”! No, He loves you every day, even when you act in an unlovable way.

We should keep ourselves from all sexual immorality and impurity of thought, word and deed. Sexual impurity is sin against your own body. It causes wear and tear on your body. It will also affect your heart and your spirit. Sex is a spiritual thing, not only a physical thing. You become forever spiritually linked to the person you join with, physically, whether it is your spouse or someone who is not your spouse. Adultery and fornication (sex outside of marriage and God’s parameters) will destroy you physically and spiritually if you continue in it.

James 3:2  (NAS)
2For we all stumble in many {ways.} If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

If we are going to imitate God, we must put a guard on our lips. The man who can control his lips can control his whole body. People excuse their sinful behavior by saying that they could not control their mind or body, but the control of your body and mind begins with the control of your mouth!  Do not be a greedy, covetous person, because this kind of person is an idolater! Money is their idol and God is relegated to second place.

2 Timothy 2:20-22  (NAS)
20Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21Therefore, if a man cleanses himself from these {things}  he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 22Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love {and} peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Follow after that which is good. Follow after righteousness, faith, love and peace. You are not children of darkness – you are children of light. Fellowship with those who walk, not in darkness, but in the light of God, imitating Him as dear children.