1-2Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. (Eph. 5:1-2)
Believe it or not, we are creatures of habit. We live life almost without thinking. I rise each morning, put on the coffee, turn on the computer, and settle in to begin my day with little more than the thought of do I want chocolate caramel creamer or vanilla today! Paul offers a little bit of a challenge to us today in this passage because he is calling us to NOT be passive in our existence in Christ. We are to watch (this is an action word) and to do (definitely an action word).
Watch - see what comes, see what is done, see what is happening. Keep what God is doing under your attentive view - in order that you might both see and learn of him. We must be engaged in "observation" - it is not a happen-chance thing. Purposeful observation requires attentive focus. We sometimes miss what God is doing right in front of us that reveals so much of his fatherly love! Kids learn by first seeing, then by doing. I remember that I would add water from the hose to a pile of dirt, mushing it up with my hands until it formed a round "cake" mixture - because I had watched Mom make "cakes" in the kitchen. Sure, it was a mud pie and complete inedible, but it was my "cake". After a while, in observing my Dad around the yard, those "cakes" became little "bricks" that I could build make believe miniature houses and fences with to protect my little green army men! All this creativity came by watching and then doing!
Doing - requires some effort on our behalf. It is the effort we exert to see a result. God is our example of what we are to be about "doing" in our daily walk. Paul reminds us that we are to observe God to understand what love looks like and then we are to be about the task of "doing" his love! This is more than doing things that reflect his love, like simple tasks of service to others. It is also the silent moments of lifting someone in prayer that is experiencing a weak moment, or maybe the times when a gentle hand on the shoulder conveys support or encouragement.
How do we become proficient at "doing" what reflects God in our lives - by spending time with him. The only way I imitated what Mom or Dad were "doing" was because I spent time "underfoot". I got in their space and took in with all my powers of observation what they were doing. Sometimes being "underfoot" got me a special little treat, like licking the icing off the beater tenderly passed on to me by Mom, or enjoying a glass of iced tea on a hot summer day with my Dad. God counts on the fact that we will be comfortable enough with him to be "underfoot"! He knows that is where we will become acquainted with the traits he wants us to develop.
So, the best place for us to watch, and eventually learn to do, is to be right there at our heavenly father's feet - observing with all the powers of observation we have been given. Taking it in with our mind, allowing it to affect our heart, and eventually directing our hands / feet in response. His love is extravagant - going beyond what others think is reasonable or deserved. We only learn to love like this by being exposed to his love over and over again. For me, there is no better place to learn of his love than "under his feet". Watch out God! I'm underfoot again!