Letting go of the past
Whatever has happened in your life, you can find forgiveness and purpose in Jesus.
The past. For some people, it's a word that numbs their entire body. It's a sad and hollow void filled with memories, events, faces, and places that they want to forget.
But is the past something we could one day accept? Or is it a stain in our lives we should try to cover up with our accomplishments and good deeds? What is God’s view on our past?
1. The past can cloud our view of the future God has planned for us
In Genesis 19:26, we see that as Lot’s wife takes just one wistful look back she is turned into a pillar of salt. Seems harsh, huh? However, the bigger picture rooted in that verse is that God’s plan for our lives is much more substantial than anything the world can offer us. We are far too easily distracted by our lives to imagine that God has a bigger picture for us in mind. So don't let your past ruin the future God has for you.
2. The past can’t be covered up through our good works
The Bible says we are saved by grace and mercy, not by doing good. God already knows our past, present, and future and all the sins we’ve ever committed. When we think about the past we often think of how many sins we’ve committed and how many times we’ve denied Christ. It can be, well ... kinda embarrassing. But we cannot earn God’s forgiveness, grace, mercy, and unfailing love through the things we do for him because “...all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6). Our goodness cannot reconcile us to God - only Jesus can. So don't try and cover up your past, but open up to God, seek forgiveness and trust in the grace of Jesus.
3. We are bigger than our past
God’s love for us is way bigger than we could ever imagine or try to comprehend. His love for us is unfailing, unconditional, and everlasting. For those who trust in Jesus, our past life without him is completely forgiven. Don't let your past become a vacuum that sucks up all the joy, hope, peace, happiness, and confidence you can find in Him. Instead, continue to run the good race of faith and keep your eyes on Jesus.
4. Your past can still be used by God
I remember when I first gave my life to Christ. I was so overwhelmed with feelings of infinite love, grace, and mercy, that my past began to feel like an embarrassing and even annoying burden. But when we show others how God has saved us by bringing us into the light, they can be encouraged and inspired. Don't pretend that you've always been 'cool' and never been through trials, tribulations, tests, and temptations. Show others how God can turn trials into testimonies and tribulations into triumphs.
“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory.” (Romans 5:2 NLT)
Forgetting what's behind...
Micah 7:19 says: “He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” When God forgives, he doesn’t bring it up later on and use it against us. He has a purpose and plan for our lives that looks beyond our past of who we were and looks to who we can be.
So don't try and cover up your past with good works, but trust in the grace and mercy of Christ, and focus on him for the present and future. God makes everything work for our good, so learn to forgive yourself about the past because God already has. And then like Paul, you can also say ...
"… forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.". (Philippians 3:13b-14)