Paul wrote to the brethren at Ephesus, “Be you followers of God, as dear children…” (Ephesians 5:1). Previously in the Ephesian letter Paul had written to them concerning some things that they should not be doing. For example, Paul wrote to them concerning lying (Ephesians 4:25), being angry (Ephesians 4:26), robbing and stealing in place of working (Ephesians 4:28), speaking in vile or corrupt manner, which would include cursing, swearing, and filthy joking (Ephesians 4:29), and having an attitude of being wrathful towards others (Ephesians 4:31). These things are set in contrast with being a follower of God. What did Paul saw regarding being a follower of God and how could that be carried out in the life of a Christian?
Paul said that Christians are to be kind, loving and forgiving one to another (Ephesians 4:32). The reason that is to be the attitude among Christians is because “even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). The principle is that we sin, and we receive the forgiving love of God with joy, but then we are not willing to extend what we have been given from God to our brethren. The follower of God will be kind, loving and forgiving toward brethren.
Paul said that another way to be a follower of God is to “walk in love as Christ also has loved you” (Ephesians 5:2). Paul reenforces the principle of desiring to be loved by God and Christ, but then being unwilling to extend that same love to others. Not only did Paul teach regarding this principle, but Jesus also taught the same in the Sermon on the Mount in various ways. One way was when Jesus said, “And why do you behold the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the beam that is in your own eye” (Matthew 7:3). The lesson is that one is critical and unforgiving for what he sees in his brother but does not see that he is the same and worse. He in effect is having a double standard.
Paul reminded the brethren in Ephesus that they needed to be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). He goes on to explain how that could be done, “speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). As the Word of God was in them through the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs they would be filled with the Spirit and able to be followers of God.
Today as Christians take in the Word of God though reading, studying, and listing to the Word of God the Spirit can live within. As Christians assemble with one another to worship God in spirit and truth and sing praises to God with psalms, hymns, and spiritual song, then the Spirit can live within. Let us be followers of God, as dear children.