Draw Close to God
“Become Imitators of God”
KINDNESS. Compassion. Forgiveness. Love. Sadly, it is rare to see people displaying such virtues today. What about you? Have you ever felt that your efforts to cultivate noble attributes are doomed to failure? A self-critical heart may insist that certain obstacles, such as ingrained bad habits or painful experiences from the past, make it impossible for you to develop appealing traits. Yet, the Bible teaches this reassuring truth—our Creator knows that we have within us the potential for cultivating positive qualities.
God’s Word admonishes true Christians: “Therefore, become imitators of God, as beloved children.” (Ephesians 5:1) Those words are a remarkable expression of God’s confidence in his worshippers. How so? Jehovah God created man in His image, according to His likeness. (Genesis 1:26, 27) God thus endowed humans with qualities that mirror his own.* Hence, when the Bible urges Christians to “become imitators of God,” it is as if Jehovah himself were saying to them: ‘I believe in you. I know that despite your imperfections, you have the ability to be like me to a certain extent.’
What are some qualities of God that we can imitate? The surrounding verses answer. Note that Paul prefaced the admonition to imitate God with the word “therefore.” This term is a connection to the preceding verse, which mentions kindness, tender compassion, and forgiveness. (Ephesians 4:32; 5:1) Then, in the verse following the counsel to imitate God, Paul tells Christians to pursue a way of life characterized by unselfish love. (Ephesians 5:2) Truly, when it comes to displaying kindness, expressing warmhearted compassion, forgiving others freely, and showing love, we have the greatest example of all to imitate—Jehovah God.
Why should we want to be like God? Notice the powerful motivation inherent in Paul’s words: “Become imitators of God, as beloved children.” Is that not a touching thought? Jehovah views his worshippers as children whom he dearly loves. As a little boy may try to be just like his father, so true Christians try their best to be like their heavenly Father.
Jehovah does not force humans to imitate him. On the contrary, he has dignified us with free will. So whether you will become an imitator of God or not is up to you. (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20) Never forget, though, that you have within you the potential for displaying godlike qualities. Of course, to imitate God you must first know what he is like. The Bible can help you to learn all about the qualities and ways of the God whose matchless personality has drawn millions to become imitators of him.
Colossians 3:9, 10 indicates that being made in God’s image has to do with personality traits. Those who want to please God are urged to clothe themselves “with the new personality,” which is “made new according to the image of the One [God] who created it.”