Our Past Is Not Our Future
Read: Genesis 42:18-43:34, Matthew 13:47-14:12, Psalm 18:16-36, Proverbs 4:7-10
One of the greatest obstacles I faced in becoming a Christian was reconciling the actions and desires of my past with the knowledge that through Christ I would be changed. I had spent years defining myself through alcohol, drugs, sex, and emotional and physical rage, and I was convinced that no one would believe I could change. I began to doubt God’s sovereignty and the depth of His grace and power.
The fear of what people will think is pervasive. But here’s the thing: What you have or haven’t done is irrelevant once you’ve entered into a relationship with Jesus. Those who believe in Jesus will be changed in a dramatic and perpetual fashion, becoming more like Him every day. The fear that such a change would alienate friends, family and co-workers while forcing you to reconsider your habits, addictions and other sinful patterns is a valid concern. Some people will accept that Jesus changes lives. Others won’t be able to see past who you used to be, and they’ll try everything they can to keep you in the past as well.
In Matthew 13, Jesus experiences what it’s like to feel trapped by the past. After hearing Him preach, the crowd was astonished by the breadth of His wisdom and the scope of His works. But soon enough, their doubt overcame. They couldn’t get over the fact that He was just “a carpenter’s son” (Matthew 13:55). Isn’t this Mary’s son? There’s no way he could be capable of such teaching and works. Jesus responds by saying, “a prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household” (Matthew 13:57). With that statement, Jesus walked away from the people who had known him the longest. Their appreciation of Jesus’s teachings was diluted by their own reluctance to move past the past.
Jesus calls us to give Him our lives, wholly and completely. In exchange, He makes us new. Make today the day you follow Jesus’s example and walk away from the past and into all God has planned for your life.
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