I am not a florist, but I do like to play around with flower arrangements. I can remember a friend,who rocks
at arranging flowers, talking one day about flower arrangements with another mutual friend. Friend 1 said, “If you give me your pattern, I can help make the rest of these.” I really did not understand that phrase at that moment, I only thought you used patterns for cutting out material and sewing a dress or that patterns were a skill you learned in Kindergarten. It never dawned on me in order to make multiple arrangements you write a pattern.
The Bible talks about patterns too!
“Join with others in following my example, brothers and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” Philippians 3:17
Paul is following the example of Jesus in how he is living. Thus, his life is a model or a pattern for how other Christians should live their lives. Our lives as Christians should exemplify the Word of God and be the model for others to follow. We should be able to exchange patterns in order to duplicate, just like with the flower arrangements.
What is an example that Paul is speaking about?
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
In order to learn, you have to be taught. In order to be taught, you need to allow providential relationships in your life. These relationships should exemplify the model of Christ. People who think on what is true, what is noble, what is right, what is lovely, admirable and excellent. They talk and act in accordance with scriptures. Providential relationships can help us to duplicate the pattern. They are people we can talk to about where we are going, what our struggles are and celebrate our accomplishments as well.
We also need to put into practice what we are taught. I realize we will never be perfect that we all fall short. Yet, we can never stop striving to do what is right. It is vital to those who are watching us, believers and non believers, to see that we are consistent in our character and our walk. Paul could not have been the model for us to follow if one day he is preaching Jesus and the next day he worshiped other gods. How can we claim to know Jesus, but then act as though we do not know him through our actions?
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1
Notice the order of this scripture. Jesus is the ultimate example of how to live our lives. The apostles were called to follow Jesus and lead by his example. We are to follow the examples of the apostles. Today, when you have accepted Christ as your Savior and refer to yourself as a Christian, you have now become an example for someone else to follow. It is not only vital to you, but also to those who look to you, that you follow the way of Jesus! If we took our role as a Christian seriously and sought God day in and out, lived according to his word and practiced what the apostles taught us – would others who look to us be more apt to follow Christ? Tough questions, I know. The reality is you are the only picture of Jesus some people see.
Despite anything you have done, anything that you have failed to do, Jesus loves you. His love is unconditional. Our society, though, loves conditionally. Let us go out and love people who are difficult, who have offended us, who have stabbed us in the back. Let us show people what unconditional love is, just like Jesus did. He did something for us that we did not deserve. Whose pattern are you following?