Patterns, what comes to mind when you see this word? For me, images of sewing, crocheting, my spirograph from childhood, blueprints, mosaics or stained-glass windows come to mind. All of these, and multitudes more, have patterns. Have you ever considered the similarities between these natural patterns and the patterns of living a Christian life? We are going to dive into the patterns God expects our lives to follow and see where we are measuring up.
The Cambridge English dictionary defines the word pattern, first as a particular way in which something is done, is organized or happens. Also, a drawing or shape used to show how to make something. Today, I want to bring your attention to Scripture and how it can arrange and shape us into the pattern of Christ-like character.
In Titus 2:7, the apostle Paul instructs the young pastor to whom the letter is addressed, saying, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed having no evil thing to say of you.”
Paul is urging Titus to present himself as a pattern for others to follow. Paul’s instructions show how this is accomplished, by being an example that’s duplicatable. In other words, Titus’ congregation could replicate his actions of godly character and service without great hardship.
When Paul says, “In all things,” He is including everything. He wasn’t just talking about Sundays or midweek service meetings. It wasn’t just on Titus’ good days that he was to be an example, but also his bad days. Titus was to teach without corruption, filled with purity and blameless. They were to carry a sense of gravity. In our western thinking, this word means seriousness or solemn. In this Scripture, it means reverence, respect, honor and purity.
There is a pervasive lack of honor and respect in the world. Life is becoming less respected and honored, as are parents, others belongings or property. Paul admonished Titus to live above the status quo and uphold a pattern of respect, reverence and honor.
Titus’s speech had a pattern too. It was sound. It couldn’t be condemned. Even those who opposed him couldn’t find anything bad to say about him. The word “sound” here means healthy, well, true and whole speech. In other words, Titus spoke truthfully and accurately. The word “speech” means just what it says, speech, talking, communication, utterances. What a game-changer it would be if we didn’t say anything that the enemy could use against us. He is the accuser of the brethren, according to Revelation 12:10.
This seems a tall order for the young pastor, but history shows that Titus didn’t tuck tail and run from the challenge. On the contrary, he lived boldly for the gospel. Titus acted as a commissioner of Paul to Corinth and later traveled to Crete as Paul’s delegate. According to tradition, Titus became Crete’s first bishop. He took Paul’s instruction to heart and lived a sold-out life for Christ.
In 1 Peter 4:17, Scripture declares that the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God. The verse continues, “And if it first begins with us what shall be the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” If Titus hadn’t taken the responsibility of being a good, godly example, his influence would have damaged the kingdom rather than build it. Today, we can all take a lesson from his godly example. As the body of Christ, we are first held accountable to follow the pattern of Scripture. Judgment comes to the house of God first. It’s our responsibility, just like Titus to show ourselves as a pattern of good works.
What did Jesus say in Matthew 5:14 & 16? Let me remind you: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.” Someone is paying attention to our works, good or bad.
Some might say, “Yes, but Titus was in the ministry. I’m called into business, the medical field, entertainment, or government. God hasn’t called me to ministry, so the pattern for me will be different.” There’s one big problem with that train of thought. It’s not true.
The application of the pattern might be different, but the pattern is the same. God calls us to represent Him by looking like Him. Sound speech, honoring, respectful, pure, true and blameless actions are God’s pattern choice. Living with these traits is one of the ways we seek to glorify and make Him known.
At Regent University, Christian leaders that will change the world are being built, shaped, formed and patterned. Regent encourages us to live in God’s pattern that he calls us to. I would challenge you this week to think about this with me: Are you allowing the pattern of God to form you into Christ’s design, or are you trying to form the pattern to fit what you have designed for yourself?
All Scripture taken from KJV.