THOSE WHO FOLLOW GOD
As dear and precious children of God Christians must feel strongly the obligation to be God's followers. Paul admonished the Christians at Ephesus to, "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children." (Ephesians 5:1) As members of God's family, believers must rightly seek to be like their loving Father. We are God's children. God created us. If we are Christians God saved us by His grace. We are to live like Jesus by imitating Him. We must do as God does. After all, you are His dear children.
Those who follow God must walk in love. Jesus, our great example of love, offered Himself to God as an offering and a sacrifice. "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." (Ephesians 5:2) Love motivates the sacrifice of self to God. Once self has been offered, the sacrifice of time, money or other possessions is not difficult. Those who have difficulty offering "things" to God should "first give their own selves to the Lord." God's love for us motivates us to "walk in love." "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19)
Those who follow God must avoid sinful things. "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks." (Ephesians 5:3-4) Followers of God must avoid, (1) Any type of illicit sexual intercourse, (2) All impurity -- moral, physical or motive, (3) A greedy desire to have more, (4) Obscenity, (5) Foolish talking, and (6) Language that is indecent, coarse, vulgar or abusive. These qualities are very unbecoming to those professing Christianity. If these things are allowed into the life of a Christian it says to the world that Christianity is only being professed, not practiced.
Those who follow God must practice the art of giving thanks. Do not practice sinful things instead; practice the art of "giving thanks." (Ephesians 5:4) Jesus is our great example of thanksgiving. At the tomb of Lazarus Jesus gave thanks. (John 11:41) While instituting His Supper the Bible says Jesus "gave thanks." (Luke 22:17-20) Jesus was thankful and His followers must also practice the art of thanksgiving. "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Our greatest privilege and our greatest challenge are to be a follower of God. Following God begins with Bible study and obedience. (2 Timothy 2:15, Acts 2:38.) To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (Mark 16:16), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:36) and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) Following God continues as self is sacrificed to God. (Romans 12:1) The result of following God is "an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." (Ephesians 5:5)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street,
Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA