Skip to main content

Follow the Pattern

What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 
(2 Timothy 1:13-14)

May I ask what you 'keep safe' or 'guard' in your life? If you are a parent, it is likely you may have answered that your primary focus is to keep your little ones safe, harboring them against all harm as much as possible. If you are the owner of a company, you may say you are working hard to keep 'safe' that investment you made into that business and all the employees you have working within it. If you just got a brand new car, you might just admit to parking further away from the front door of the store because you want your car to be 'safe' from scratches and dings for as long as possible. We 'guard' or 'keep safe' a lot of different things in our lives, huh? Some are significant others, while others are things. Either way, there is a lot more attention paid to that which we desire to keep safe than to the people or things we really have no interest in protecting, right? That which is protected requires our attention. If we are to keep this 'good deposit' we have been entrusted with as we came into this life with Christ Jesus safe, we need to GUARD it against all things that may encourage us to just let it drift away.

Sound teaching creates patterns of behavior in those who adhere to that teaching. It is the reason we 'teach' anything - to see that pattern of behavior created in the lives of those we are instructing. God gives us the very best teaching in his Word with the desire that it creates patterns of behavior that will not only keep us safe, but that will keep others safe around us. Guarding that teaching - that 'good deposit' of 'patterns of behavior' we are to learn to walk in - this is partially our responsibility, but we also have the Holy Spirit in our lives to help 'guard' those truths. What would you identify as some of the 'good deposit' God has made in your life today? This may be a little harder question to answer than you may think because we aren't usually accustomed to 'recounting' what gets 'put into' our lives. We might for a moment in time, but then to actually go back and look at the books, so to speak, is not really as 'practiced' of a pattern for us. If we want to be sure we are 'guarding' the right stuff and not letting it get away from us, we need to pay attention to these things!

Patterns of behavior are rehearsed. They don't qualify as a 'pattern' if they aren't used over and over again. This is why we have a pattern - to guide us in making the same thing over and over again. If we want to have the godly behavior we learn at the feet of Jesus each day to become patterns within our lives, we have to do more than pay them casual attention. We need to allow the pattern to be established in our lives. This is like us allowing the creator to draw the pattern. Then we begin to 'trace the outline' of that pattern over and over again until we have seen the outcome of the pattern produced. This 'repetitive' action of going over and over the patterns God gives us to follow is what helps the behavior to develop. The behavior that God desires becomes a patterned behavior - the outline is there, and we adhere to it. When we veer from the pattern, we observe 'deviated behavior'. The 'thing' produced is a variation of the desired product. I know this because I have sometimes cut off little pieces of a cardboard pattern I use to trace outlines on wood I am about to cut. When I cut the tenth one with all those slight deviations in the pattern, the tenth one is significantly different from the first!

If we want consistency in our walk with Jesus, it begins by allowing the right pattern to be created within us. Then we allow that outline of behavior to be repetitively followed, not affording any opportunity for deviation at all. When we adhere to the pattern, the behavior will be consistent. Whenever we allow deviation or 'sloppiness' in following the pattern, we don't do as well with our consistency! Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,