Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Pattern

UV 1716/10000 The Pattern
Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

I Timothy 1 v 16

The key word in this uni-verse is “ pattern”. With Jesus’ birth, teachings, ministry, miracles, death and resurrection, a new template to building a living temple based on belief came into being. The pattern of our lives is determined by the pattern of our beliefs. Adam’s folly was not in the act of merely eating the forbidden fruit but in disbelieving the words of God and believing the words of the deceptive serpent. Adam’s pattern of belief was distorted in terms of what he along with Eve believed good, healthful, attractive, pleasant and knowledge and wisdom-producing. What he believed by choice began to produce the opposite fruit in his life and that of subsequent offsprings and the rest of mankind. Just as the disbelief of one man Adam brought eternal death and misery, the belief of Jesus and the belief in Jesus produces the fruit that is genuinely good, attractive, pleasant, healthful, wholesome and knowledge and wisdom-producing. The experience of the grace of God in Jesus alters not just an element or one aspect of our lives but the whole pattern of our beliefs, habits, lifestyle, goals, attainments, communication, attitudes and behaviour.

Paul regarded himself as the worst of sinners as the pattern of his unbelief had turned him into a callous monster of persecution and terror to the followers of Jesus. Now, the pattern of his belief in Jesus who was earlier anathema to him transformed the pattern of his life. He gave up everything that he had regarded as good and worthwhile in order to carry the great news of the new template or pattern of belief, hope and everlasting life to much of the contemporary world of the time. Belief in Jesus produces an altered pattern of hope, joy, love, assurance, purpose, power, conduct, communication and priorities in our lives. The pattern of God’s deep mercy, all sufficient grace, everlasting love and omnipotent power is also revealed in our lives. From being either gods unto ourselves or underdogs, we turn into "underGod" living templates.

The new template enables us to make greater sacrifices as we live not for the pursuit of our own happiness but to reveal the greatness and goodness of God. It enables us to be bolder, more patient and tolerant of suffering. It makes us tougher and not softer. It was interesting to read the testimony of the West Indies captain: He confessed an unshakable faith in Jesus, how Jesus endured great suffering on the cross undeservedly but went on to gain eternal glory. His belief is the engine that is driving the team and its current success and he foresees lifting the World T20 trophy later this evening. He is not distressed but challenged by trenchant criticism that his team is “brainless.” Regardless of the outcome of the game, he comes out a winner in life with his rock-like faith. The pattern of our beliefs sets us up for success or failure in life.

Prateep V Philip

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