This week I saw the end of a evangelism series by Terry Rush. His point as he closed was that when we are convinced of our forgiveness in Christ and love others and each other as He intends us to, then we will be more effective at reaching others for Christ.
Unfortunately, it’s the being convinced deep in our cores that’s the hard part. We know we are saved. We know Jesus has forgiven us of past sins. But do we live and act as if we truly believe it? Or do we walk around still carrying burdens He doesn’t intend us to?
Part of the key seems to be not forgetting the past but embracing it instead. As we read the story of Paul, we see that before his conversion he went as far as to seek out and murder those who followed Christ. But even though he knew he was forgiven and set free of his past, he never tried to hide it. Instead he embraced it and used it to bring others to Christ (Acts 22:1-21).
We should do the same. In forgetting our past and distancing ourselves from it, we often cut ourselves off from valuable learning opportunities and opportunities to help others. Instead, we should give our past over to God, all that hurt and pain, and allow Him to walk us through it and redeem it for him.
In doing so, like Paul we can have a better understanding of just what Christ has set us free from and allow that realization to sink deep into our souls and pour out Christ’s love through us.
This. Is. Hard. I won’t pretend it’s not. When I had to face the hurts from my childhood and my attitudes about it, the walk through it all was very painful for a long time. However, because of Christ’s redemption of my past, my marriage is stronger, some of my friends marriages are stronger, and I’m a much better parent. However, if I would have just stuffed the past in a corner and let it be, then I’m not sure Jeremy and I would still even be together. My sons may not even exist.
Today, if you’re struggling with feeling inadequate, if you’re having a hard time loving others, if you’re running from a past of pain brought on by your sin, other’s sin, or some of both, I encourage you to bring it all to Jesus. Allow his to redeem your past and use it all for his glory. The journey won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!
Remember not the forum things, not consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. ~ Isaiah 43:18-19
Yes, those verses seems to contradict all I just said, however, I don’t think it does. Instead, it’s an encouragement to not try to return to the “good ole’ days” or to the ways and behaviors we had before. Notice right below that part God says He is doing a new thing. He is making a way in the wilderness. The wilderness and the desert still exist, but God is providing a path through it and bringing good things from it.
The same can be said of our pasts. He is more than able to provide us a path to walk through it, and He is more than able to bring up good things from it. If we only bring it to him and allow Him to redeem it.
Praying for you all today as you gather courage to fast your pasts. Love you all!