EL CAJON, Calif. (BP)–Because fabrics and their patterns were originally created by hand rather than computer-controlled looms, the pattern represented something of its creator. In the Scottish tartans, the pattern often reflected the ups and downs of the clan as interpreted by the weaver.
So in the spiritual life, the patterns in our lives — the characteristics that intersect like the warp and woof of different-colored threads — define who we are. As we weave our lives together, a pattern emerges.
Threads. A piece of cloth is made of individual threads. Think of those as the words, deeds and thoughts that comprise our lives each day. Every moment we are adding new threads to the fabric as we speak, act and think. Every word, action and thought is permanent. For good or ill, they cannot be removed from the fabric of our life (Matthew 12:36).
Colors. The thread colors are like flavors developing in your life. Dark colors and bright colors — bitter flavors and bursting flavors; earthy colors and mod colors — sweet flavors and sour flavors. Every time someone is in our presence, they leave with a certain taste in their mouth. They see the patterns of our life and have a response — one that hopefully leaves them wanting more (Psalm 119:74).
Patterns. Threads and colors create patterns. When we flavor our words, thoughts and deeds consistently over time, patterns emerge that define who we are. Because threads are entered and sown daily, we sometimes don’t see the patterns developing (Psalm 19:14).
Time. Like madras fabric, which bleeds and fades with each washing, over time the threads of our life bleed together as we get set in our ways. Our patterns, practices, personality — they blend and meld so it becomes hard to separate one thread from another. The good part of this aging process is that we become unified in body, mind and spirit. The bad part is that threads that we’d like to remove get harder to find in the fabric (Job 5:26).
Imperfections. Original, handwoven madras fabric had slubs — slight imperfections in the threads that showed up in the finished fabric. Those slubs were a sign of genuineness. They added character to the pattern and the garment. Thus do the imperfections in the fabric and pattern of our life add proof of endurance and willingness to persevere (Psalm 119:67).
PATTERNS OF OUR LIVES
If threads and colors ultimately result in patterns, what can we do each day to influence the patterns we are creating in our lives?
Repetition. The second time the same thread is used in a piece of cloth, a pattern has been created. And the closer the two are together, the more visible they are. Add a third, fourth…. The same is true in our lives. A word of any sort uttered once does not form a pattern. But every time it is repeated, the pattern is strengthened. The more threads and the bolder the color, the more noticeable the pattern becomes.
Reinforcement. Therefore, if you want to build patterns of godliness in your life, enter threads — thoughts, words and deeds — colored with kindness, love, mercy and grace. The more times those threads appear, the stronger that pattern will become in your life. And like all patterns, the stronger and bolder it is, the more visible it becomes to others.
Removal. Likewise, carnal threads must be removed immediately. The biblical term for such removal is repentance. Any threads left in the fabric will be seen. When you speak, act or think in a way that is not Christ-like, find that thread and remove it through repentance.
Finally: Respect the slubs — those imperfections that occur in the weaving process. Like the knots of thread on the back of a beautiful tapestry, slubs in the fabric of life add to the genuineness of a beautiful pattern. Mistakes might not be removable, but they will not detract from a pattern that overshadows the imperfections with its beauty, humility and message.
May the fabric of your life and mine develop daily, one thread at a time, into a pattern that our King would be pleased to wear!
David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. For more information on Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.