Several years ago, I was pulled over for speeding. (Most state troopers aren’t moved by the fact that you are on your way home from preaching)

As I slowed down on the side of the road, Bryce asked, “What are you doing?”  I had a choice to make.

My desire is to be an example for Bryce. I want to disciple him in such a way that he can see a Christ-like life lived out in front of his eyes. Ideally that means that I’m making the right choices and living “above reproach.”

But what happens when I mess up? Do I say, “Bryce, close your eyes for the next ten minutes?” or “Ignore everything that happens next?”

It occurred to me that modeling a Christ-follower lifestyle requires exemplifying how to live above reproach even in light of mistakes, rebellion, and sin.

In fact, given the fact that I know my son is a sinner (something I passed down to him myself), it is possible that setting an example for how to react to our shortcomings might be one of the best lessons I can teach him.

Modeling Christ-likeness requires a disciple-maker to reveal “real life” to the disciple – faults included. This involves great intentionality because human nature prefers to hide imperfections just as Moses hid the fading effects of God’s glory on His face. Remember that? Embarrassed to let the people to see that he was unable to perfectly maintain the glow from his encounter with God, Moses wore a veil (Exodus 34:29-35). His intentions were not to protect the people from the glow (as some have suggested), but to protect his pride from being exposed.

I didn’t want to repeat Moses’ mistake. So, I determined to do it right. I chose to honor Christ in the situation. I said “yes sir,” “no sir,” “I’m sorry sir,” and every other polite phrase you can think of to the officer. Then, when we drove away, I told Bryce how blessed we were that God sent the officer to remind us to slow down and be safe.

Suddenly, Bryce asked, “So did he give you a ticket?” I didn’t realize Bryce knew what a ticket was.

“Yes buddy, he gave me a ticket,” I said.

“Why dad?”

I proceeded to explain to Bryce how the officer disciplined me for my actions just like I sometimes have to discipline him for his actions.

Then, in a way that only a four-year-old could state it, Bryce said, “So daddies spank kids, and police officers spank daddies!” I couldn’t stop laughing…

Isn’t it wonderful that our mistakes are not wasted in discipleship? A disciple learns from the way his disciple-maker models growth even through adversity and faults. Therefore, II Corinthians 3:18 states, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” Just like Paul explains, we have the opportunity to share our unashamed testimony of transformation taking place through the power of Christ manifested through the Holy Spirit as we receive discipline and correction in front of our disciples.

So, are you willing to “remove the veil?” If so, remember:

  • Your disciple already knows you are a sinner. They really are curious how you deal with your sin and the consequences of your sin.
  • Don’t forget that someone is always watching your actions as well as your reactions.
  • Instead of hiding the consequences for your sin, talk through them with your disciple. It’s one of the best ways to cultivate deep relationships. Disciples long to know that their disciple-maker is “prone to wander” just like them. This gives them hope and encouragement for growth.
  • Make sure that your example is not an act, but rather a heart-felt response.
  • Never pass up a “learning moment” –especially when it requires humility.

So, pay attention to how you react to discipline. Its great for your disciples and it makes the state troopers job a little more pleasant!