I have a brother eighteen months younger than me. In my mind’s eye, I can see him with his toy shovel, digging the snow beside our dad, right in step. He imitated his father, whom he loved. Perhaps Paul envisions a similar picture as he writes these words to the Ephesians. “Be followers of God as dear children.” There are family values here. We must follow as dear children by the manner in which we conduct ourselves, how we communicate and what we allow to influence us. It gives off the fragrance of Jesus to the Father.
The Manner in Which We Conduct Ourselves
Is it named among us? Paul says it shouldn’t be. He mentions fornication and uncleanness. He also mentions covetousness. Perhaps he remembers the words of Jesus.
“Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
These behaviours give off the smell of dissatisfaction. Onlookers interpret incorrectly that God is not sufficient.
How We Communicate
“Is it fitting?” he writes. Again, perhaps the words of Jesus ring in Paul’s ears.
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”
Instead, he writes, give thanks. Reflect on the goodness of God in your heart and mind.
What We Allow to Influence Us
“Let no one deceive you with empty words.”
Paul reminds the reader that these things have caused the wrath of God on those who do not obey His word, those who are not part of the family. Empty, unfruitful, destructive talk distracts from the goodness of who He is. Don’t play any part in it. Don’t listen, don’t laugh, walk away.
Jesus, also known as our elder brother, broke down the dividing wall between the Father and mankind by offering Himself as a sacrifice and an offering to God. Therefore we must follow as dear children by the manner in which we conduct ourselves, how we communicate and what we allow to influence us. Does it illustrate a dear child imitating his much-loved Father?