If I gave you the opportunity to give me your life story in 15 minutes, what would you say? When you think about your past, does it bring back warm and fond memories of a loving and caring childhood, gentle and supportive parents and siblings? Or would your story contain memories of a past that was primarily bad?
Would your life story revolve around how you have been mistreated in the past; what has been done to you by someone? What was said/done, or not said/done? Maybe you have very few memories of your past, but regardless of what you remember, you have a past.
I believe it is imperative that we understand what God’s Word has to say about properly and biblically handling our past. God gave us our memory – He gave us the ability to retain and store information in our brains. Therefore, He must have a purpose and plan for those memories.
All you need to do is pick up the newspaper or turn on the nightly news to see that the issue of dealing with the past is primary in how the world deals with interpersonal problems, marriage and family issues, and behavioral matters such as in a legal trial for assault, or murder, or neglect.
Although it is not a popular view, I do not like to excuse poor behavior done as an adult by blaming families, and what happened to us as children. Yes, we may carry scars from our battles and we may have a sore or weak spot where we are especially sensitive, but ultimately all of this can be overcome in Christ.
The Bible clearly says that in Christ you are a new creation (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). You have a new family, the family of God. You have a new father, who is God. You have a new spirit, the Spirit of God who lives with your very being. You have a new nature given to you by the Lord Jesus Christ.
I refuse to be in bondage to the philosophy of the world that says we are all a victim of something. I refuse to blame my upbringing for my poor behavior. Even though I have had some very difficult circumstances in my life, I am not an emotional wreck, I am not a victim, and I am not co-dependant, alcoholic or mal-adjusted, I am a victorious, blood washed, born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am Victorious! And so are you!
How did I get from victim to victor? Because I learned and applied what the Word of God has to say about the past. Because the Bible has been talking about a person’s past for thousands of years. And the message we get from God’s Word is that a person’s past definitely affects her present and her future.
He who covers his sins (in the past) will not prosper, (in the present and the future) Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV emphasis mine)
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Galatians 6:7 (NKJV)
Have you ever noticed how many stories there are in the Bible? There are so many life stories of those who have gone before us, of their lives from beginning to end. There are stories of their families, battles, triumphs, tragedies. Why has God given us these historical records to read and review? Is it because He is a good story teller? Does He want to give us something to read beside doctrine?
The answer is that those records are there for us to learn from, so you and I don’t make the same mistakes in our own lives. You all are familiar with the saying hindsight is 20/20, well through the Bible; we have the benefit of seeing how decisions at one end of a persons life have affected them at the other end. Sometimes they have had drastic results, and sometimes glorious ones.
Your past can be of great benefit to you because you can look back at your decisions and learn from them all! The great decisions and the ones that turned out not so good in the end. Your past also helps you to accept new trials in life.
Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”Job 2:10 (NKJV)
Job was able to honestly say this to his lovely wife because he remembered the goodness and the kindness of God. He understood God’s faithfulness, and this carried him through the otherwise unbearable trials of the present.
How much do you apply the truth of what you know to your life? Do you take Bible verses such as Romans 12:1 and practically apply them? Do you consider yourself a living sacrifice? Are you excited about growing and changing? Does progressive sanctification excite and energize you?
I hope you are, because the degree to which you are not excited about growing and changing; that is the same extent to which you have been a poor steward of your memories and the lessons of your past. A woman who focuses on all God has done in her past is applying truth today out of love and thanksgiving.
I will have more on this important subject Friday.