What's the Pattern of Your Days?
By: Maggie Meadows Cooper
“Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me - a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus.” - 2 Timothy 1:13
As a kindergarten teacher for many years, one of the activities I did with my children was creating and continuing patterns. With teddy bears: red-green-blue, red-green-blue, red-green-??? With pattern blocks: circle-square-hexagon, circle-square-hexagon, circle-square-??? You get the idea. But at this stage as a mom, it’s the patterns in my own life I am thinking of most. Recently I was reading 2 Timothy and came across this:
“Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me- a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:13 NLT
As moms, we have been entrusted with the most awesome responsibility of teaching our children a pattern for life in Jesus. Not only how to create one, but how to continue it. And, I’ll be honest, I fail miserably on many days.
When I think of a life patterned after Jesus, it might go pray-read scripture-share what He’s done, pray-read scripture-share what He’s done. But in my house, a lot of times it seems to go fuss-complain-sigh, fuss-complain-sigh...ever been there? I think we probably all have. So, with high hopes for changing my own pattern, I want to share a few things from 2 Timothy 1:13 we can do to be more like Jesus, than the grouch my children tell me I tend to be some days.
1. Live by faith.
Paul tells us that our pattern should be “shaped by faith.” Faith is defined as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” in Hebrews 11:1. So how do we do that? We look back at what the Lord has already done in our lives. We remember how He has given us strength in the past and believe that He will in the future. Then we rely on Him for that strength. If you haven’t seen Him move in your own life, look at those of your friends or look to the Bible for assurance that God will do what He says He will. When I live with faith at the forefront, my heart is better able to handle the trials of the day with grace and peace and joy, because I know that God is with me.
2. Love like Jesus would.
Next, our pattern should be “shaped...by love.” I consider myself to be a pretty loving person, but there are days I don’t even like those around me, much less feel like loving them. I grudgingly serve them and go through my day with a chip on my shoulder because I know I need to. But, y’all, that’s not at all a picture of Jesus. His love is patient, kind, humble, unselfish, easy-going, rejoices in truth, never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and patiently endures (1 Cor.13:4-6). We have to make the choice to put ourselves aside. To choose to love, not in our own strength, but in His.
3. Remain in Christ Jesus.
Finally, our pattern should be shaped by faith and love “in Christ Jesus.” Y’all, this just confirms that the faith and love we have cannot be of ourselves, but only found in the Savior. I have found that sometimes I trick myself into thinking I am in Christ Jesus...meaning in His presence...when really, I’m hanging around Him...ya’ know, close enough to claim Him, but not close enough for Him to rub off on me. And that won’t get it y’all. If we really want the pattern of our life to reflect Him and all He is, we have to cling to His coattails, kneel at His feet, or ask Him to gather us in His arms and hold us close to His chest as it says in Isaiah 40:11. We need to draw as close as possible...and stay there.
Now, some of you are thinking, this sounds great, Maggie, but it’s harder than it looks. And I know that, y’all. I make no claims that this is easy. But it is worth it.
Look at the pattern of your life. Examine your heart and see if there need to be any changes. And boldly ask Jesus to draw you closer to Him.
I pray that we will all strive to change our pattern from fuss-complain-sigh, or whatever yours may be, to faith-love-Jesus, faith-love-Jesus, so that our children might see our example and learn to continue the pattern themselves. This momming thing is hard, y’all. But don’t give up. His mercies are new every morning. His grace is never ending. And everybody said, Amen!
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