Christianity is not some type of unattainable ideal. It is an ideal but one which is both attainable and practical. In the above text, Christians are described as "dear children" and are urged to imitate their Father.
When people become children of God, there should be a change in the way they live. The verses which follow our text, Ephesians 5:2-13, address this subject. From them Christians can learn how to "be imitators of God."
One's "walk" is their manner of life. Christians should be characterized as loving individuals. The standard for the Christian's love is Christ (John 13:34-35). He should love as Christ loved, sacrificially (Eph. 5:25). This is the principle of esteeming others before self (Phil. 2:3-8).
Similar warnings are found in Galatians 5:19-21 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. In the moral quagmire of our time, Christians must stand up for the morality of God. For to reject God's standard is to reject God. Immoral acts should "not even be named" among Christians (v. 3).
This includes rejecting covetousness for it is also immoral. The Christian must not be consumed with "things" (Luke 12:15) but must rather put them in proper perspective (Matt. 6:33).
It also includes "filthiness" and "foolish talking." Christians must be careful of what they say and how they say it (Jas. 1:26; 3:2). Words reveal what is in the heart (Matt. 12:34). God's children must always speak properly (Eph. 4:29; Col. 4:6).
Every New Testament writer warns of false teachers (cf. Matt. 7:15; 2 Pet. 2:1; 1 John 4:1). The only possible solution to the problem of false teaching is the word of God, the Truth (John 8:32; 17:17). The only way to be imitators of God is to know and obey the Truth. Sadly, that is not always the case even among those who claim to be God's people (Gal. 4:16). Only obedience to the Truth of the gospel will purify one's soul (1 Pet. 1:22).
Christians must continually strive to obey and practice God's word and let no one deceive them.
God draws a clear line between good and evil, light and darkness, His children and the children of the devil (Col. 1:13; 1 Pet. 2:9). Because He has delivered Christians from Satan's darkness, they must live with Him in light, their lives showing His light (Matt. 5:14). To be like God, one must walk in the light (John 8:12; 1 John 1:5-7).
Those who belong to God must "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness" (v. 11). If they are children of God, they belong to the light (1 Thes. 5:5-6) and their lives should reflect it.
Verse 14 provides the closing admonition to the text: "Therefore He says: 'Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.'" Life without Christ is a spiritual stupor for it is Christ who motivates and energizes one's life (Rom. 6:4; Eph. 2:1). Certainly one who claims to wear the name of Christ ought to awaken and live for Him and by His word.
Because they are His children, Christians must let their lives reflect that glorious and sacred relationship. They must be "imitators of God as dear children."