Shake It Off!
…And you will be given a new name by the Lord’s own mouth. Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his bride. (Isaiah 62:2, 4 NLT)
Have you ever noticed all the people throughout the Bible that God gave a fresh start? Moses was an old man before he had an encounter with a burning bush and was called by God to lead a nation. Then David, a humble shepherd boy, was anointed to be the king of Israel. Peter, the apostle who denied Christ, was forgiven and called to spend the rest of his life preaching and glorifying God. And Paul, who once persecuted God’s people, was transformed on the road to Damascus and ended up writing much of the New Testament.
When you think about all the people throughout the Scriptures whom God forgave, redeemed and used in mighty ways, can you doubt that He is able to do the same for you? Our God is the God of “do overs,” second chances, fresh starts and new beginnings. And He doesn’t have any limit on how many you can have. But sometimes, we lose sight of what God can do because of something in the past that has us stuck, unable to move forward with the wonderful plans He so desperately wants to reveal to us.
For me, it was the memory of sexual abuse I experienced as a child. For many years I was stuck in a place of anger and bitterness because of what happened to me. I had a big chip on my shoulder and wanted someone to pay for what had happened to me. I took my feelings out on everybody around me. Then I would feel guilty for the way I was, get on my knees and pray over and over again “Please forgive me, Lord.” Then finally one day I heard God way down in my spirit say, Joyce, I forgave you the first time you asked me. Now you have to forgive yourself and move on. I had to receive His free gift of grace so I could release my past, and little by little, move on from it.
Frozen in a Moment
Maybe you’re stuck, frozen in a moment. It might be past abuse. It could be a personal failure of some kind or something completely beyond your control, like an illness or the death of a loved one. Perhaps you’ve been disappointed by an unmet expectation—nothing turned out the way you wanted it to. So you think, it’s over. It’s too late for me.
But it isn’t too late. It’s never too late to have a fresh start when you have life in Christ. Your past is not your destiny. If you refuse to give up hope, and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you out of your “stuck” place, not only will God restore what you had, He will make your life even better:
And I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten—the hopping locust, the stripping locust, and the crawling locust, My great army which I sent among you. And you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord, your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you. And My people shall never be put to shame. (Joel 2:25-26 AMP)
You Gotta’ Get Out of the Boat
You have a bright future waiting for you. God’s Word promises, For I know the plans I have for you…plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT).
But you have to learn to take a step of faith. Just like Peter, you can’t walk on water if you won’t get out of the boat (see Matthew 14:28-29). It may be harder than you thought—and it may cost you something. But if you follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, it will produce good fruit in your life.
Romans 6:13 (NLT) says, …Give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.
So often God leads but we don’t want to go where He’s leading. We must learn how to yield instead of being resistant—learn to surrender instead of being stubborn. When you do, you will enjoy your life, even when things don’t turn out exactly the way you wanted them to. And if God asks you to give something up, understand that He’s not trying to take away something you like or want just to be mean. God always has your best interest at heart. Trust where He’s taking you.
Baby Steps of Faith
Second Corinthians 5:17 says if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation. When you were born again, He gave you a new heart and a new way of living. But in the beginning, we are all like babies learning to walk. When babies take their first steps, they fall down many times. But they always get back up and try again. God is asking you to do the same thing.
When you fall down in life, you have to get back up, regroup and take another step. But no matter how many times you fall down, eventually you will get to where you need to be—if you will simply choose not to give up. Your new beginning is closer than you think. Just keep walking!
And He Who is seated on the throne said, See! I make all things new…(Revelation 21:5 AMP)
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