I had another opportunity Saturday to search after the elusive speckled trout. Our goal was pretty clear - unlike the trip we took a few weeks back, we wanted to put some nice trout in the boat and return home with a cooler stinking of something other than ice! But more specifically, we wanted to figure out at which depth the fish were holding, to which type of cover or structure the fish were relating and on which kind of prey the fish were feeding. Well, it took us a while to start catching fish Saturday, but once we boated several in close proximity to one another, we analyzed the depth, the structure and the bait (and the presentation), and then set forth to trying to develop a pattern.
Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Do 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.
What is a pattern? A pattern is defined as the method, how, what, when, and where in a given body of water you are catching a specific species of fish consistently. There can be a pattern within a pattern, and there can also be more than one pattern used during the day. The best fishermen look for patterns so that they make their time on the water the most productive it can be. Once the right depths, structure, baits and approaches are determined, fishermen can focus specifically on those patterns, while avoiding or putting aside approaches that are not catching fish.
Similarly, Scripture reminds Believers that in order to become like Christ, we must learn to recognize our sinful patterns, choose to die to our sinful natures and continue to renew our minds. This is the process referred to as Sanctification. One of the chief roles of the Holy Spirit is to help Believers see where we must die to sin, while helping us adopt the pattern of righteousness. Alternatively, when we ignore the convictions of the Holy Spirit and continue to chase after our sinful natures, we choose to conform to the pattern of this world.
The most successful fishermen have spent so much time on the water that they learn to swiftly discern, adapt to and fine-tune patterns that are presented by their target species. But what type of pattern are you developing spiritually? Is it one that flees from sin and is transforming you into Christ-likeness through the renewing of your mind, or one that has you seeking after your fleshly desires and thus conforming to the ways of this world? A local church's message board nails it home with a note to the effect of: How can we say we know Him, and not be changed by Him? - GE