I was watching one of my favorite TV mystery shows recently, and an FBI agent was suggesting that one of the ways to try and find an elusive suspect in a case was to use the ‘Pattern of Life’ technique. He explained the method to the others this way. You try to find out elements of the person’s pattern of life — where they live, their family members, their daily habits such as where they work (if they do), where they hang out, what kind of car they drive, etc. Then, you focus on those facets of the suspect to try to find them. I don’t remember much of the rest of that particular program because that “pattern of life” idea got stuck in my mind.
It made me think about Christian lives. (Nothing criminal here, just the term ‘Pattern of Life’). If we are what I call practicing (we practice until we eventually get it right) Christians, what do our patterns of life look like? Perhaps, every once in a while, we should take time to examine them and see how we are doing. Are we making progress in our quest for that much sought-after meaningful life with the Lord? Or are we there already?
Some of the questions we might ask ourselves in this self-examination might be:
- Are we 24/7 Christians or are we just weekend participants? Do we faithfully go to church on Sunday mornings, but slack off a bit the rest of the week?
- Do we say grace only at home meals, or do we also say grace when we eat out? Maybe we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves in restaurants.
- Are we diligent with how we use our language, or do we often, in the heat of the moment, take the Lord’s name in vain, and then try to apologize for it?
- Do we pray often during our days in gratitude for all the Lord’s blessings in our lives, or only when we feel the need of His help?
- Do we remember to pray for others who are in need of the Lord’s wisdom, or do we just pray for our own concerns? Or do we really believe God is focused just on us when our lives get hard?
- Do we always remember to turn our problems over to the Lord, knowing that He will lead us to the right answers, or do we continue to struggle on our own?
Depending on how you live your life, there will be other questions that come to mind as you think about this. The answers you give yourself to all your questions can reveal that you really are traveling on the Lord’s path; or they can encourage you to get back on that path, if you’ve strayed from it. In the culture we now live in where Christianity is seemingly under attack yet again, we must be ever mindful of our faith and not be afraid to live it every day. We must be aware of the destructive distractions constantly put in our way by non-believers and keep our hearts on the Lord.
Let me tell you about a dear couple who have been my friends for many years and who are examples, in my opinion, of true Christians. Not only are they in church on Sunday mornings, but Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, and several Bible study group meetings during the week. They do much work for the church, and for their family, and many friends. They are always willing to help whenever help is needed. At home their favorite music is Gospel, with many albums, and they are often watching Gospel Music concerts on TV. They travel whenever possible to see their favorite Gospel groups in live concerts. When they go out to eat, no matter where or with whom, grace is always said before we eat. They are quick to visit those they know who are in the hospital or Hospice, bringing loving comfort by their very thoughtfulness. They frequently invite people they meet to attend their church with them if they do not have a church of their own, but they never push or drag. They just quietly, visibly live their faith 24/7. I believe their patterns of life are good ones to emulate.