Following and Being a Pattern
“In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,”
From the early years of life, we are taught to copy a pattern. In kindergarten, you were given a piece of paper that had dotted lines, and you were told by your teacher to trace the lines. The exercise is certainly to help you to learn how to draw straight lines, but it is also a mental exercise that is teaching your mind the principle of copying patterns in life.
Though some may hate to follow patterns, every area of life has patterns to follow. People often read leadership books because they want a pattern to follow. People will read financial books because they want a pattern to follow with their finances. Parents will read parenting books because they need a pattern to follow in training their children.
There is nothing wrong with following a pattern because following patterns is a godly principle that is taught in the verse above. Paul told Titus, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works…” In other words, Titus was to be a pattern for others to follow him. Let me give you five observations about following and being a pattern.
First, you are a pattern, and you followed a pattern. Nobody is their own person. Everybody followed somebody; therefore, you not only followed a pattern, but you are a pattern to someone else.
Second, patterns are not to be a design but a model to follow. You can take a pattern and place it on a shelf as a design to beautify your office or home, but that pattern is wasted if it is not being followed. Sadly, to their own detriment, many believers have used the examples of believers from the past as a mere decoration that they refer to instead of a pattern to follow. The preachers from the past generation whom you knew are not to be a decoration to refer to in conversations, but they are to be a pattern to follow so we can see God work through us today.
Third, don’t destroy the patterns just because you don’t like something in it. What you don’t like about a pattern is part of what makes the pattern. If you pick and choose from those patterns in your life the things that you like, you are not following the pattern, but you are wasting its ability to help. Every part of a pattern is important to get what that pattern makes, and to only choose from the pattern what you like is to set yourself up for failure.
Fourth, don’t attempt to make your own pattern. Many have tried to make their own way in life, but the Scriptures clearly teach that destruction is the destination of that choice. Making your own pattern without knowing where it leads is foolish; however, following a proven pattern is wise because it gives you an example that you know what product it produces. It is much wiser to follow a pattern that produces a known product than it is to make your own pattern that you don’t know what product it will produce.
Fifth, you are a pattern; therefore, someone is going to follow whatever pattern you followed. My friend, you have a great responsibility to do right because someone is following you. You would be wise to follow those patterns in life that God has given you so that those following you have a proven example. Let me beg you not to be your own pattern; rather, follow the proven patterns that lead to a blessed life.