It's said that God is not as concerned about
individual sins in our lives as He is the pattern of sinfulness.
to say, He forgives us -- forgives and forgets the transgression for good
-- as long as we correct the errant pattern.
One who glimpsed a "life review" on the other
side says she saw a man whose sin had been forgiven, but that when he repeated
it, all the times he had sinned in this way came flying back onto his record. He
was back to square one.
The lesson: It's the tendency, the routine, the
inclination, that we
should purge -- breaking and casting it out as we would any spirit: not
just always asking forgiveness. "So a curse without cause does not alight," says
Proverbs 26. "Like a dog that
returns to its vomit; is a fool who repeats his folly."
(How blunt Scripture can be!)
Name it and command it away, with
and do this
every time the inclination arises.
Jesus Name, I break and cast out the spirit of lust/gluttony/sloth/gossip/criticality,"
you might pray --naming exactly whatever's behind your imperfection.)
Often, these patterns are in our internal
dialogue -- when we are speaking interiorly (thought talk) or visualizing
things. Saints call it our interior life. If it's in your thought process,
the sin may occur
several times a minute!
When a bad thought arises, stop yourself immediately
(mentally) and say, "Wrong
pattern," or simply: "Jesus."
For example: If your first instinct is to look at a situation or person negatively
or with any anger or lust or jealousy or temper -- especially ill thoughts -- you need to
Practice makes perfect -- stopping yourself
and replacing wrong with right, the negative with the positive, is what works; soon, you will
have established a holy pattern.
It's a trend. It's a routine. It's a
routeway -- a path. It's what we repeat and trample upon. The very word
"errant" comes from two verbs, one the Latin errare, meaning "to wander" or "to err"
and the second, errer, meant "to
travel," and traces to the Latin iter, meaning
"road" or "journey."
errant pattern takes
us closer to God or farther from Him.
we hurt ourselves by plodding on the same path over and again, never
changing, never allowing God to intervene. We're too stiff. Sometimes
our paths should be the "straight and narrow," of course -- stiff in that sense
-- but God
wants us to approach life totally led by Him. That means not straight
lines but curves; it's the winding road that takes us to the
mountaintop (that takes us to new heights). A home-run really sails
when we hit a curve ball.
are too "strait-laced" (trying to control everything ourselves, in a
mechanical way, as if we are our own gods; all rigid lines) we don't progress like we might
pattern. He looks for "a new and right spirit" (Psalms 51:10).
Straight lines are
the creation not of God but of engineers. What
in nature is perfectly straight? (Even light bends.)
The Lord must be given room to operate.
He must have the opportunity to stay or change our course. He is a
God of surprise -- and takes us on paths we cannot imagine! All to
Look at every twist (however painful) as excitement.
The Lord wants us to be natural -- diligent, but flexible; open
to His prompts; allowing His input in everything. He wants us to work hard at our missions yet be joyful and
carefree. Joy grants energy.
guessing; some suffering; all handled with: faith.
faith that allows us to go on such a journey without fear of what's around the
bend. It's faith that purifies the robe we will gain in paradise.
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," advises
And as a new book
called Seated With Christpoints out, we get too wrapped up in pleasing the
world -- in comparing ourselves to others -- rather than in simply "sitting with
God" and accepting the role He has for us: breaking out of artificial patterns
that we've created and imposed (on ourselves) through a wrong pattern of thinking.
Bust out of that.
Let God form your pattern.
we're seated with Christ, the difference is that Jesus is with us, and we are
looking at our sin together," says the author, Heather Holleman. "He is
giving us the power to change. He isn't shaking His Finger or turning His Face
away when we come to Him with a repentant hear. He's ready to embrace us in the
midst of our sin. He loves me. He loves you. He delights
in us. We are seated in this delight and acceptance."