A Positive Pattern
Christianity is not meant to be done in isolation. We are to live in community with others. Sometimes that means that we help, counsel or teach others. Other times, that means that others do the same for us. One of the best ways to help someone is to be a good example for how to live. Paul emphasizes this in Philippians 3:17: “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.” Paul is exhorting the Philippians to follow his example, to use his life as a pattern for living. He also exhorts the Philippians to note those who walk in the right way…to pay attention to them and to use them as a pattern. A pattern is intended to show the right way to do something. The pattern shows you how to do something or make something. We all need to “note” those who live in a godly manner and should seek to follow them. I also want to emphasize that a pattern is normally used to reproduce something. If you use a pattern to cut out something, the pattern is designed to help you make more “things” that look like the pattern.
So, the application here is two-fold. First, who are the patterns in your life? Who are you watching up close and from afar to help you to follow Jesus? Second, how are you fulfilling your responsibility to be a pattern for someone else? You don’t have to be a “perfect pattern”…no one is. You won’t find one and you won’t be one. But we can’t let our imperfections or the imperfections of others rob us of the benefit of being a pattern and using a pattern.