Last week, we started a blog series about the “life caught” aspect of discipleship. If you’re anything like me, inviting people into your life can be scary because we aren’t perfect. However, what if seeing the messy parts of your life is important? What if you saw the very moments you fail as an opportunity to model repentance for those around you? Let’s talk about that.
Since I was a kid, I’ve always been a very competitive person. Whether it was one-on-one basketball against my dad or Pop Warner football, I always wanted to be the best. As I got older, I realized how playing a flag football game or pick-up basketball could completely change my mood and control my day. I started to identify this frustration as sinful shortly after becoming a Christian at Mercy Hill during my freshmen year of college.
The dilemma for me was that playing sports provided a great opportunity to connect with new people and have gospel conversations. Over the last few years, God has grown me in this area. However, I’m not immune to competition from time to time.
This is where my story with David comes into play.
Repentance at the Rec Center
I met David Cobbs in the fall of 2017. David was a freshman at UNCG that I got connected with during my first semester as a college resident. Throughout this past year, David and I became great friends. He had joined my college Community Group, which allowed us to have many spiritual and gospel conversations. Since discipleship is both “word taught AND life caught,” we spent time together working out and playing basketball.
Due to my bent towards over-competitiveness, I was constantly on my toes when we played basketball at the UNCG Rec center. If I’m being honest, I wanted David to see me as a good dude. I wanted him to only get the good side of “life caught.” However, I can remember one instance during the spring semester when I let my competitive nature get the best of me. We were playing a 5-on-5 game with some other people at the rec, and I was playing terribly. I missed shot after shot, and my attitude was beginning to shift. Then came the last straw. Someone on the other team drove to the basket, I blocked them, and they called a foul. I took off the hat I was wearing, threw it on the ground, and yelled. Within minutes, I started to feel some shame. I knew I messed up.
After the game was over, I apologized to everyone for my behavior, including David. While I was talking to David, he told me he had never seen anyone apologize for losing their temper while playing sports. I got to share with him about this sinful area in my life, repentance, and the cross. Our conversations about repentance from Community Group were getting fleshed out. David was able to see me practice something we had previously talked about. The idea of “life caught” is just that: inviting someone into your life so they can see you live out the “word taught.”
What does this mean for you?
I hope this encourages you to fully invite people into your life and walk alongside you in discipleship. This should probably go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway—this isn’t an invitation to just sin. Paul says in Romans 6, “What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not!” Because we have not yet been made perfect in practice, when people look into our lives, they are going to see our sin.
We are going to wrestle with sin until death or Jesus returns, but we have no reason to fear when we fall short. We can have confidence in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus. He has paid for all of our sin; and in the moments when we fall short, we can model repentance for those who are catching our lives.
-Patrick Anderson (College Team)