Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us ... and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day. Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly. (Nehemiah 9:32–33, ESV)
In Nehemiah’s prayer, he refers to God as gracious, merciful, mighty, awesome, righteous, and faithful. Think about each of these characteristics of God. He is gracious (compassionate). Merciful (forgiving). He is mighty (strong). Awesome (to be revered). He is righteous (just). Ethical (moral). He is dependable and peaceful, a God of loving kindness and steadfast love. Even though we act wickedly, he deals with us faithfully.
Paul says, “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1, ESV). Think about all the words we just used to describe God. Think about how children imitate their loving parents. We are to imitate God in all of his attributes. We are to imitate his grace, compassion, mercy, and faithfulness. He is to be revered, and we are to revere him as do children who have loving parents.
This topic is one of the most challenging aspects of our walk with God. We are to imitate his grace to others. We are to imitate his compassion and faithfulness. Whether our relationships are healthy or not, we still need to imitate God. Your marriage may be crumbling, but you need to show compassion and mercy to your spouse. You may have experienced the wickedness of this world, but you need to remain faithful and strong. Don’t lose heart. You don’t succeed by your grit or might; in the face of another’s wickedness, you are only able to imitate God because of his work through Jesus Christ on the Cross, as you are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Lord, help me to imitate you. I am experiencing brokenness in some relationships right now. I need your compassion to transform my anger. I need your mercy to transform my judgment…. (Continue praying.)