Therefore 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.
I've been going very slowly (very slowly) through Ephesians.
Sometimes you notice things you'd otherwise miss, when you go very slowly. Of the many verses from Ephesians that we memorize and teach to our children, this one rarely makes the cut.
But when you really think about it, isn't this the main point?
We are not naturally drawn to make sacrifices for others the way Christ did. When Paul says, "That I may gain Christ... that I may know Him... and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death..." (from Philippians 3), that is not our favorite verse.
We always just want to take the "good" and not the stuff that appears unpleasant. This is why my husband likes to eat the praline topping off my praline squash dish. This is why many who purport to be pastors preach only that "God loves you" (which is true), and never that Jesus is coming again to judge the world, or that God condemns certain behaviors and lifestyles.
But it is easy to point the finger at what other people miss. What am I missing? What am I ignoring? Do I believe in the goodness of God, trust in His grace and have enough confidence in His sovereign plan that I am willing to sacrifice myself temporarily, now, for the great eternal gain of His Kingdom?
Most days, I do not think I succeed at this. Lord, help me.