Breaking the Captivity of Your Past
In my letter I want to address how we can live for Jesus, free from the influence of negative experiences we have faced in our lives.
We are held captive by our past. None of us was brought up in a perfect family or society. Since the fall of man, such an environment no longer exists on earth. We all carry scars from being misunderstood, disappointed, lonely, rejected or treated unfairly at some point in our lives. Perhaps we grew up in poverty and had to miss out on many things and opportunities others enjoyed, or we experienced deep hurt and unhappiness because of family problems, neglect or sickness.
Whatever it may be we went through, it left a permanent mark on our lives. In fact, the way we think about the world around us, how we deal with people and how we interpret words and actions have much to do with our past experiences. For example, if a child grew up in a situation where he was often lied to or taken advantage of, as an adult he will have a hard time trusting anyone.
Some of these scars hinder us from living the kind of life we long for, but we don’t know how to free ourselves from their control. Is it possible for us as Christians to escape the influence and captivity of our past experiences—or will they haunt us for the rest of our lives?
The Bible states that when we received Christ, we became a new creation. “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Each one of us can testify to the changes that immediately took place when we received Jesus as our Savior and Lord: Our sins were forgiven, we were delivered from Satan’s power, we found peace with God, we became sons and daughters of God, our names were written down in the Book of Life and we were on our way to heaven.
We also noticed that when we acted contrary to our new nature, our heart became troubled, whereas before we couldn’t care less. That’s because now the Holy Spirit lives inside of us. He teaches us right from wrong and helps us learn to live and act in accordance with our new nature.
However, this new nature resides in our old bodies and must live through our mind and emotions, which are scarred by past experiences. They will indeed greatly hinder God’s life from flowing freely through us if they continue to act based on our negative past.
God knows this. That’s why He wants our mind to be completely renewed (Romans 12:2), which happens through the Word of God.
This sets in motion a transformation of our entire being, which is God’s ultimate goal for every believer: “to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). Being like Jesus will leave absolutely no room for old scars to survive and dominate our walk with God.
The devil told us a lie! Many believers—even after knowing the Lord for a long time—still blame the disappointments and bitter experiences of their past for their inability to trust and love others, take responsibility for their actions, become transparent with other believers, submit to authority or live in victory.
Why is it that they can’t seem to rise above their scars? Because they believe a lie of the devil, who has told them that they can’t escape their past, however hard they may try. That lie has prevented them from surrendering their problem area to the Holy Spirit and experiencing His healing power, deliverance and transformation.
As believers, we have a choice to either believe the devil or God’s Word, which says:
... the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24).
As we put our faith in God’s promises, He will touch our lives, heal our scars and transform us into the likeness of Christ. But first we must want to change with all our heart. This means we must give up shedding tears, feeling sorry for ourselves or blaming circumstances. Instead, each time our scars bother us, we must deliberately choose to act on God’s Word. We will be surprised at the freedom that comes as a result.
It worked for me! As a young believer, one of the things I struggled with was my inability to open myself to others. Early in my life, I had closed my heart to others and wouldn’t allow them to know me. My salvation and God’s call brought many changes in my life, but not in this area.
About five years later, I learned about the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, and I asked Him to fill my life. He did, and shortly afterward, God made it clear to me that He couldn’t use me for others unless I opened up my life. I obeyed in faith because I loved Him, and in response the Holy Spirit began to transform that area of my life. Today I could never share God’s Word—and my life—with you and the thousands of other sisters if this hadn’t happened. I praise God for His faithfulness.
Dear Sister, what God did for me, He will also do for you! Give Him your scars—and experience His power to change you.
May you experience the love and grace of God in your daily walk with Him.