The Patterns of Jesus

"All our steps are ordered by the Lord"
Proverbs 20:24a
The spiritual disciplines that can be described as “The Patterns of Jesus” (habits, routines, commitments) are heaven-sent pathways to guide our formation into the beloved sons and daughters of the Most-High God. Our current preaching series is only long enough to touch the big idea and hit a few practices.

The truth is, that every purpose-filled journey in life is the cumulative summation of daily deposits of strategic and intentional commitments. These intentional commitments, in any disciple’s life, are known as "spiritual formation" through spiritual disciplines. They are the founding work establishing our genetic code of all that we do, of the attitudes we embrace, and the decisions we make.

Two of Christianity's leading authors in this realm are Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. Foster has categorized spiritual disciplines into three categories: (1) Inward Disciplines (meditation, prayer, fasting, and study), (2) Outward Disciplines (simplicity, solitude, submission, and service), and (3) Corporate Disciplines (confession, worship, guidance, and celebration).

Dallas Willard envisions spiritual disciplines in two classes: (1) Disciplines of Abstinence (solitude, silence, fasting, frugality, chastity, secrecy, and sacrifice) and (2) Disciplines of Engagement (study, worship, celebration, service, prayer, fellowship, confession, and submission). Both summaries have value in how we conceive the Patterns (habits) of Jesus as holistic engagement of our whole life (externally and internally) through ourselves and with others. Together, they represent whole-life intentionality and designed development; what others might call “on-purpose-living!”

I love the word “Intentional.” It means planned, calendared, committed, desired, and envisioned! Our target as disciples is to do everything we can to engage our bodies, souls, minds, and spirits to become fully conformed (shaped, inhabited) by the character and conduct of Jesus Christ. Some leaders have said, “Hope is not a strategy.” By that, they mean, the only vehicles that move are those put into drive. So, how are our lives purposefully engaged each day to be shaped by the Holy Spirit?

John Wesley once admonished his people about the importance of intentionality: “I am more and more convinced that the devil himself desires nothing more than this, that the people of any place should be half-awakened and then left to themselves to fall asleep again.” We are not called to become “almost” but “altogether” Followers of Jesus! Not half-hearted, but "fully devoted followers!"

Developing our faith means investing our lives in the habits and disciplines that shape our lives for heaven’s glory. Moses reminds us, “So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left” (Deuteronomy 5:32). Attending to the Lord’s ways means practicing spiritual habits, such as…

Study to show yourself approved” - 2 Timothy 2:15
Pray without ceasing” - 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Confess your sins to each other” - James 5:16
Meditate on it day and night…” – Joshua 1:8b

And the list goes on! In the end, our spiritual maturity (growth, completion) is what is at stake. Growing up in Jesus means dying to the old self and living according to new patterns of holy life and holy love. The question is, how intentional are we beyond Sunday morning to ensure our spirit is alive and growing? What practices define our daytime and nighttime?

Most of us eat 2-3 squares a day, but how often do we pull up to the table of God’s word? That’s why Jesus said, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4). Please join me In disciplining your life. The Apostle Paul has said: "I discipline my body and bring it under strict control" (1 Corinthians 9:27 CSB).

Please don’t be a dabbling, snacking, toe-dipping Christian. Be ALL-IN! Feast on God’s word; breathe prayer constantly; give generously; serve regularly; forgive graciously and give thanks continually! This is what God’s word calls us to do! Should we not all strive to become like Ezra? "For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord” (Ezra 7:10). Surely, this is what the “Patterns of Jesus” focused on!

Living On Point Together!
Pastor David 😊

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