Patterns and Principles – Part 1 – July 20, 2019


Patterns and Principles – Part 1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

In his book The Me I Want to Be, John Ortberg points out that a ‘pattern sin’ is one you’re habitually drawn to. That doesn’t mean nobody else commits it. It just means you’re vulnerable in that particular area. Usually the pattern of your sin is related to the pattern of your gifts. Just as home-run hitters in baseball also strike out a lot, your gifts and passions can indicate your areas of vulnerability. For example, extroverts who have the ability to inspire and encourage others are sometimes prone to gossip. People who love to learn may be tempted to feel superior and talk down to others. People who are spontaneous and have a great appetite for life often struggle with impulse control. Good listeners can become passive enablers. Optimists are often susceptible to denial. Greek mythology speaks of the nemesis (an enemy who seems unbeatable). Your nemesis is like you in almost every way, except he’s the ruined version of you. Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis was Professor Moriarty, also a brilliant man. He was like Holmes would’ve been if he’d gone wrong. Because there’s a relationship between the best and the worst versions of you, in many areas of life you’re your own nemesis. And what they have in common is – they’re both you! Why is it helpful to know this? Because awareness and sensitivity to your own proclivities are the first steps towards building a defense. We have a staggering capacity for self-deception and self-justification. Addressing careless, cold-hearted believers in the end-age church, Jesus told them they needed ‘ointment [the Holy Spirit] for your eyes so you will be able to see’ (Revelation 3:18).

Heavenly Father, help me recognize the sins I am prone to and with Your help guard myself in these areas. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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