Thursday, December 1, 2011

You Need to Use a Template

When I’m woodworking and need to duplicate several pieces, I often make a template. It represents the standard that I wish to use as a pattern for how each piece should look. It makes reproduction a whole lot easier.

Occasionally I need a piece to fit into a particular space. Instead of risking messing up that piece, I’ll get a scrap board and work it down to the right size. It then becomes my template.

Cutting crown molding can get confusing. You have to think upside down and backwards. To minimize the brain drain I’ve made templates of inside and outside cuts so all I have to do is match my blade to how I need the cut to go. They are my templates.

Templates are not essential but very useful when you need to hold to a standard.

When I read Scripture, I find quite a few commands that bring me to a certain response. That response is a standard God has set for how my life needs to be lived. But more than just tell me how to act, He has provided me with examples of men and women who have lived out the response He is expecting. They aren’t the standard but rather are a template to which I might adjust my actions.

If I need to test my faith, I might place my actions next to Abraham’s. Have I abandoned my trust to God as strongly as he did? If I need to test my obedience, I might place my actions next to Moses. Am I committed to follow God at all costs? If I need to test my worship, I might place my actions next to David. Do I wear my devotion like a linen ephod as I dance before Him? If I need to test my proximity to God’s intentions, I might place my actions next to the Prodigal Son. Am I wandering or resting at home with the Father? If I need to test my vision, I might place my actions next to Paul. Am I intent on following God through the doors He has opened? If I need to test my heart, I might place my actions next to John, Mark, Ruth, Samuel, Saul, Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack, Abednigo, Rahab, Deborah, Samson, Mary, Martha, Nichodemus, Mary Magdaline, or a hundred other templates God placed in the story to help us flesh out what it means to walk with Him.

I don’t have to make up the agenda. I don’t have to recreate the wheel each time I need a circle. I need to read the story with an open heart to see how God worked with people throughout the book. Since He’s the same God and works in the same way, maybe I can learn from their lives how to bring my life closer to the pattern He expects from His children.

Who is your template?

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