In Wednesday's post I wrote about how to deal with the past. Today I would like to begin with a reminder that God has freed us from the past, therefore we have NO reason to be bound by it!
Some of the most encouraging words in the entire Bible are:
Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers—none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God.
There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NLT)
Do you really understand what this means? That regardless of what you were before you were saved, regardless of your prior sinful habits, you have been changed. Isn’t this tremendously encouraging to you? The Bible, which does not and cannot lie, tells you and I that we are not slaves to our past, and we have been freed from the power sin had over us in the past.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT) says, "But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it."
Obviously, we all still sin as believers, we are not yet perfected. This is part of the progressive nature of the maturing of the believer. The understanding that although we still sin, our relationship to those sinful habits is now different.
Now you are free from sin, your old master, and you have become slaves to your new master, righteousness. Romans 6:18 (NLT)
“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” The truth is you are no longer a slave to sin. Sin does not own you, you are not in spiritual bondage to it anymore if you are in Christ. I understand the struggle, even believing this truth you find you still struggle with certain habits and thoughts. This is very common!
One of things you must do is to discern what sinful habits you have developed in the past that shed light on the areas that you are struggling with today. Where there is sin, it must be confessed to God. If you have sinned against another person then make your confession to them and ask their forgiveness. Have you actually repented of the love for this sin? Do you still want to hang on to some aspect of it? To overcome you must forsake it, throw it overboard, flee from it. You must learn to hate it as much as you now love it. Then change will come.
Christ has opened the cell door and told you to go free but for reasons of your own, you are choosing to remain in the cell as a prisoner! This is what you are effectively doing as you regularly go back and remind yourself of sins you have committed in the past. If you have confessed them, stop beating yourself over the head with them. Do you see how this can lead to moodiness, discouragement and feelings of depression?
Living this way is preventing you from reaching out to others. It is preventing you from reaching in and serving others. And, most importantly- it is stopping you from putting the proper amount of effort into growing in the present, because you are too consumed with the past. I pray that you will begin to appropriate the freedom that you have in Christ, and begin to live for Him . Start today!