Example -a pattern or model, as of something to be imitated or avoided.
When I was a teen, my grandma tried to teach me to sew. She was a beautiful sewer who could make anything. She even made a quilt big enough to fit a queen size bed all by hand-even the quilting was done by hand. She completed all of this in seven years. She was amazing! As a teen, I thought an important skill to have as a wife and mom was to sew. Grandma took me to the fabric store and we picked out a pattern and some fabric and she set about to teach me how to sew. Everything had to be precise. The material must be pinned to the pattern and then cut with only fabric scissors. Scissors that were used to cut chicken or paper just would not work. Once the pattern was cut, the sewing would commence. After a seam was sewed, it must be ironed so it lay down and not cause any bulges. The finished product was a denim skirt that I had so desperately wanted. If I did not follow the pattern and Grandma’s directions exactly, my skirt would not have looked like the picture I was trying to copy.
Metaphorically speaking, our lives are to be patterned after Christ in such a way that after the cutting from the pattern, sewing, and ironing when we are held up do we look exactly like the picture on the front of the pattern? “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.” (I Peter 2:21). The picture, of course, is Christ. This verse reminds us of the book In His Steps by Charles Sheldon. A man walks into church and challenges the congregation to walk “in His steps.” What does this really look like?
Jesus came to earth not to do His own will, but “the will of Him that sent Him.” (John 6:38). Jesus spent time alone with His Father in prayer, seeking His Face, and enjoying fellowship with Him. Love is a great motivator of our will. Jesus loved the Father so much He was willing to do what He asked.
Are we willing to follow this example? The example that Christ left for us? Do our actions and words look like the picture left for us in Scripture, or am we so far removed from the original it is hard to tell what the original really was?
The words on our kitchen wall remind me of the qualities that Jesus has that I am to emulate: respect, thankful, love, humility, faithful, joy, sacrifice, serve, lead, patience, and kindness. He is our example in all of these things. However, He does not leave me to flounder on my own trying to figure out how to make the “skirt” myself, how to be Christ-like. He does not want me to fail in following His example, rather He walks through life with us each step of the way helping us to follow His steps.