A Sweet Reflection

The entire Bible is a love story. It begins with God and His family and God says “it is very good.” God created a place called Eden which means pleasure and delight and placed His family there. Because of what they did, they had to leave paradise. The gospel is about God getting His family back. There was a time in Eden when God consistently worked with His man. Man was a help to Him. Everything that God made He brought it to the man to see what he would call it and whatever he called it, that is what it was. So man was a help to God and God made woman to be a help to the man. God was consistently working with man and the scripture talks about God walking with man in the cool of the day, spending time with His man, walking and fellowshipping with him. God loved His creation. Love cannot be fully realized without an object. The purpose for the creation was so that God could express His love and receive love in return. In the garden, satan was trying to steal love…the love that belonged to God only. He wanted man to love him; the essence of worship is an expression of love and devotion. When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit they thereby devoted themselves to satan. God had to find a way to get His love back.

Many times I have asked myself why God did not just wipe this creation out and start all over. One day I realized that wiping this creation out would be in essence a divorce, God’s love would not allow Him to divorce His creation. He was so committed to His creation, that He was dedicated to getting them back. No matter what He had to do to get them back. God’s love has to do with His commitment, His devotion, and His dedication. That’s why the scripture says in Romans chapter 8 that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. It gives God the greatest satisfaction to see His creation return the same kind of commitment, devotion, and dedication back to Him.

Jesus said the greatest commandment, the greatest law or the greatest standard, is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This means there is no part of my being that does not love God or that loves something else more than God. My love for Him is expressed in the entirety of my commitment. My love will reflect His.

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 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 sweet smelling savor.” Ephesians 5:1-2

The Apostle Paul in this passage encourages the church at Ephesus to “Be … followers of God…” The Greek word that is translated “followers” is mimetes, which also means to imitate. It is the Greek word from which our English word “mimic” is derived. “Mimic” in Webster’s New College Dictionary is defined as “to imitate closely in expression, speech and gesture.” We are to imitate God closely, diligently ordering our expressions, speech and gestures to His image!
Ephesians 5:2 says that Jesus walked in love. The Greek word translated love is agape, it is covenant love. Another way to translate agape is “I will love”. It is a commitment to love. Verse 2 then gives some insight on what it means to imitate God. It says “…walk in love.” Walk is from the compound Greek word – peripateo: Peri means around. It suggests the idea of something that is encircling. Pateo means to walk. It denotes movement of the feet and can be translated to step, stride, tread or trample. Putting them together it means to habitually walk around in one general vicinity. Thus it is sometimes translated “live”, and suggests a person who has walked in one region for so long that it has now become his environment, his place of daily activity, the sphere that encircles his existence.

Love, then is to become my environment, my place of daily activity, where everything revolving around me is a reflection of my love. So the pattern has been established, I must closely imitate the pattern. Note the result is that this lifestyle of love has a “savor”, a fragrance before God. Christ gave Himself an offering and a sacrifice to God for us, and in order for our leadership to be pleasing to God, we must walk in love (i.e. a self sacrificing devotion to God in behalf of another). Who better to devote ourselves to than the ones we serve and lead. Our devotion to them is in direct proportion to our devotion to God and has an aroma.

The phrase “sweet smelling savor” is used in the Old Covenant referring to the burnt offering. Unger’s Bible Dictionary says the burnt offering symbolized the entire surrender to God. Ephesians 5:2 says that Jesus’ total surrender to God was a sweet fragrance. If we walk in love as Christ did, we also will give a pleasing fragrance unto the Father. Love has a distinguishable fragrance and when the sacrifice is not totally surrendered, due to selfishness, it has a different type of fragrance. We have to get “I” out of there. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” (Gal. 2:20)

The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible says the burnt offering was called a consecratory offering, a continual offering; the emphasis was on surrendering the whole gift to God, it was also said to open the way to fellowship with God. Walking in love has to do with your commitment to God and walking daily as a sacrifice. This opens the door to more intimate fellowship and that is what God has craved from the beginning of the creation, He wants to spend time with His man again. When God sees the offering consumed, in other words you have given all, it brings a sweet savor before His presence and He will meet you there. God is a consuming fire. As we put ourselves on the altar, God fully consumes us. He can smell the aroma of love and it smells sweet.

Paul later in Ephesians chapter 5 clarifies the love relationship to leadership (headship) in the household:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27

The process of the wife’s sanctification and glorification begins with the sacrifice, “…gave himself for it (her)…that it (she) should be holy and without blemish.” Regardless to the issues or challenges your wife may be facing; love never fails. You can love her to such a degree that she can be without spot or blemish through your commitment to her. It is not proper for you to take your love away from your wife. Your love (commitment, devotion and dedication to her) is vital to her deliverance. You will never change her by pulling yourself back and not talking to her. When she is scarred or injured, those things are the work of satan. What you are saying if you pull back is, “I’m going to let satan have her.” You should rather determine that you are going to begin to put the salve of God’s love on those injuries and love her to wholeness and holiness. It takes absolute commitment and devotion to love this way because the scripture says, “he gave himself.”

It gives God the greatest satisfaction to see His creation return the same kind of commitment, devotion, and dedication back to Him. In all that we do, our desire should be to please the Father and to be a perfect reflection of Him. Not only will it be fragrant to Him but those whom we serve can be made whole and holy by it and a lost and dying world will be drawn to it. How pleasing it is when the Father sees His love come to completion in us as we love one another.

This article is written by Pastor Thomas Wilson

Senior Pastor of Word of Faith in Grand Rapids, Michigan