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!