Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Imagine living the life described in this verse. A life like a “dearly loved” child. A life of love. A life like God Himself! This is the life God has for us if we will only “know and rely on the love God has for us.” (1 John 4:16). It is living to give, like Christ “gave Himself up for us,” instead of living to get. This is the abundant life Christ promised us. (cf. John 10:10)
Living to get is an ugly and empty life. It’s evaluating a future spouse based on what you think you will get from them, instead of what you think you can give to them. It’s choosing a church, a friend, and a job in the same way. It’s worshipping, praying, and spending time with God in order to get something from Him, instead of give ourselves to Him. There is this constant cost/benefit analysis going on, calculating the amount of sacrifice a decision will demand, compared to the expected benefit received. The people, churches, jobs, and god who will give the most for the least are the most attractive.
Thank God He doesn’t live or think that way, or where would we be? He surely wouldn’t have sent His Son to die for us. He has known from all eternity that He would always be giving us a lot more than we would ever give Him. And that is exactly the way He wants it. When we know God loves us like that, we can live like that. (cf. 1 John 4:19) Let us “be imitators of God” and live to give instead of to get!