Browns' David Patten
by Michele Yowler
David Patten, #82, is a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns. He is a veteran player signed this season by the organization as an unrestricted free agent. Although he is living out his dream as a NFL player, his number one priority is maintaining his relationship with Jesus Christ.
David was raised in the church and attended services with his family growing up. However, when he went away to college he turned his back on God. When David chose to walk outside of God's will, he believes that the Lord closed doors of opportunity for him. "For four years I didn't serve God and He closed all the doors in my life," David said. But his family lifted him up in the midst of his season of straying from God's presence; "Even when I was out there in the world living a life of sin, they kept encouraging me to trust in God." Because of the sin in his life, David knew he could not receive God's favor or God's will for his life. David acknowledges that he had tried to place the Lord on hold for a season. "Ultimately, I knew I would have to give my life back to God. But, I put a time limit on Him." With a look of dismay David stated, "I mean who am I, a finite man, dealing with an infinite God? If justice had been served he would have cut me off, because I knew the way. I was raised in the truth from a young age and I turned my back on him. The word says that it is worse for a man who knows the way and doesn't do it."
When questioned about what gave him the confidence to believe that he could turn back to God and receive grace and mercy David replied, "I know God is always there with his arms stretched out wide. We turn our backs on God; He doesn't turn his back on us. God can't tolerate sin. When you live a life of sin, his presence leaves you. The only thing a man has to do when he falls out of the will of God is turn away from his sin, fall down on his knees, confess his sins, and God is right there to receive you right back unto him. I knew I had to change my way. Everyone has the chance to turn to God and receive His forgiveness, provided they humble themselves, repent, and turn from their wicked ways. That is what I had to do with my life, and that is what I did." David shared, "I'm grateful today that He kept me and He had grace and mercy upon me. Now I'm living out my life's dream and I know that it is only through His blessings. God has turned my life around tremendously, now it's not about football. I do my job to the best of my ability to the glory of God. Because I serve the only true and living God, in everything I do I give my all for His glory and His honor.
Asked if he sees favor on his career because of his walk with the Lord Patten stated, "Ever since I re-dedicated my life to the Lord, my career has been enhanced. I take no credit. I boast not in my own abilities, but I boast in the Lord because I know without him, without him waking me up, without him giving me breath and life, without him giving me the talent that I have, I couldn't do any of this. I give all the glory to God because I know, through him, I can do all things. Some people say, 'well you did it on your own'. But I believe in Jesus as my sole source of help. Everything I do is through him and because of him. I give him all the praise and all the glory."
David believes that treating all mankind with respect shows the fruits of his walk. "It's a matter of treating your neighbor right. Being Christ-like is what being a Christian is all about." Walking in love as Jesus did, David is a witness by his actions. "A lot of people say they are Christians but they don't live the life. They don't follow God's Word, and they are not obedient to it. They do things that are in conflict with the Word of God, but they call themselves a Christian. In all aspects of my life I try to treat others as I want to be treated. Show love and encouragement to people I meet.
David makes an effort to live the life of a Christian and not just talk about it. He doesn't want people to believe that he is a Christian simply because of the things that come out of his mouth. He wants people to know he is a Christian by the life that he lives according to the Word of God. David's favorite scripture verse is a testimony to that outlook. "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20
David is an encourager who believes his purpose is to share his faith with non-believers by the way he lives. "The only thing you can do is encourage folks by the way you live. They have got to accept God for themselves. It's a personal thing; all I can do is encourage a man, tell him what God has done for me, and share my testimony. Before a person can walk in the newness of life, they have to first believe, they have to first accept Christ, and they have to accept His plan of salvation."