“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2.

Most of us have had the opportunity to stand in awe as our eyes perceive the beauty of a perfectly mowed grass pattern in a baseball stadium. Stripes, checkerboard style, or even artistic expressions add flair to a baseball field. But how exactly do they get these patterns in the grass? Some say the grass is mowed at different heights or is colored to achieve the effect, but neither assumption is true. Rather, patterns in the grass have everything to do with how the grass is bent, which affects how the light hits it.

Patterns are an important part of our lives in many ways. When a contractor builds a house, he uses a pattern called a “blueprint.” When a mechanic repairs your car, he uses a pattern known as a repair manual. When a mother sews a dress for her daughter, she follows a “dress pattern.” And when your favorite cake is made, the cook follows a pattern or “recipe.”

In each case the pattern must be followed or the end product will not be faithful to the original pattern and the results could be disastrous. The house not built to pattern may leak or worse, it may collapse; the car not repaired by the manual may run like a “lemon” or not run at all; the dress may not fit or look awful, and the recipe may be uneatable. We are very comfortable with using patterns with the exception of the best pattern of them all, the Bible. God has always provided a pattern for His people to serve as a guide to worship and service acceptable to Him.

In the Old Testament, God led the children of Israel out of the slavery of Egypt down to the foot of Mt. Sinai. There God called Moses up the mountain and gave him a “pattern” of laws and a “pattern” for a place of worship for the Jews. As God gave Moses this divine pattern, He also gave a warning: “Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.” (Ex. 25:9). He repeated the warning in Exodus 25:40: “See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

The tabernacle was constructed following God’s pattern. But not everybody heeded God’s warning through Moses to follow His pattern. Leviticus 10:1 tells us: “Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command.” The consequences appears in verse 2: “So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.”

No I have not become a fire and brimstone preacher. I bring this up for two reasons. First, God’s pattern is always right. And second, we should treat His pattern with respect and obedience. The apostles, led by the Holy Spirit are a pattern for us to learn from, imitate and walk after. “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.” (Philippians 3:17) And 2 Thessionians 3:9 says “We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate.”

Discussion Question:

  1. What is God’s pattern for your life? How did you come up with your answer?
  2. How can God’s patterns help us to grow in Him?
  3. 2 Timothy 1:13 says: “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.” What is that verse trying to tell you?
  4. Hebrews 8:5 reminds us of Moses and building the tabernacle: “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” How is that verse applicable to us today?
  5. Pray and ask God to show you His patterns for life.