Our past is a funny thing. Depending on what your past was like depends on how you deal with it. Some people obsess over their past, some try to block it out, and some move forward so fast that they rarely think about it. There are a lot of different ways to deal with your past depending, first, on what your past was like, and second, what your current situation is.
The way you deal with your past is probably some combination of things that I already mentioned. Some people have what we call a checkered past. Maybe as a child, teenager, or even adult you did some nefarious things. Perhaps you were rebellious as a teenager; possibly you were a really tough child; or possibly as a young adult in college or in your 20s or 30s you did things that you don’t want anyone to know about.
Then there are people who love their past. People who had a magical childhood with great parents. People who were financially secure. Maybe you were the star of some sport in high school, a straight A student, or someone who was really popular.
We then take our past and filter it through what is going on in our lives now. Is your past now better or worse than your current situation? Some may feel that they are being punished for their past. Others are living in the consequences of it or possibly reaping the benefits of it. Some people feel they had a great life before, but are miserable now and living vicariously through their children.
So how should a Christian interact with your past? First, I think we need to learn from it. Proverbs 24:16 says “For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumbles in times of calamity.” It is less about how many times we failed in the past, but rather how many times we get ourselves up. Do you learn from your past, or do you lay in it and sit and moan about the past without repenting?
We all have things we did for which we are not proud of. We had opportunities that were squandered, people we offended, or things that we feel we missed doing. We should consider these as learning opportunities. Let’s redeem those mistakes to benefit our future or help someone else who may be going through the same thing.
Second, let’s commemorate our past. I am not talking about obsessing over it, but remembering the good things in our past. Most of us have something of which we can be very proud. Maybe you had a high SAT score, you were on a winning team, or wrote an excellent paper. It could be something as simple as appreciating the fact that you were kind to someone else who didn’t have any other kind individuals in their lives.
Christian’s should also look at things in our lives that God has accomplished through us. Several times in the Bible memorials were built or made to commemorate great acts by God. There are always bleak times in life even for the best individual. Sometimes we need to remember during those times what God has done for us in the past. I know I have certain memories and even certain items that remind me of the great things God has done in my life. These things can help encourage me when life seems bleak and it seems that failure is the only option.
Third, don’t let Satan dominate your past. It says in the book of Revelation that Satan likes to remind you of your sins and therefore your past. Revelation 12:10 says that Satan is so evil that he has the audacity to stand before God to tell God you are a sinner. If you have put your faith in Christ, you are forgiven, so while we strive to do what is right, we bask in the forgiveness of Jesus.
We definitely all have regrets, such as bad choices which hurt others, or shameful things that you hope no one will ever know. The deceiver, Satan, takes those mistakes from your past and rubs them in your face. While we need not erase the memories of our past failures and the lessons learned, we definitely are not called to dwell on those bad decisions.
Why does Satan do this? He wants to keep you at bay. God has great things for the Christian to accomplish. Satan wants to tell you that you can’t be used by God because of your past. He wants you to think that your life is one of failure. The fact is that if you have confessed your sins to God, He has forgiven you. While there are natural consequences to your sin, God will not disqualify you because of your past, only Satan will.
So how should you think about your past? Do you take time occasionally to sit back and ponder the great things God has accomplished in your life? Do you take time to relish in what God has done in your life? Do you use your past as an opportunity to make better and wiser decisions for the future? Or do you allow your past to hold you back and discourage you?
There are times we need to remember where we came from. If your past is evil, but you have changed by the grace of God now, take time to remember it as something great God has done in your life, but don’t let Satan use it to hold you back. If you had a great past, enjoy it and think about the good old times, but don’t dwell on it so much that it keeps you from accomplishing anything great again.
Remember, it is called your past for a reason. It is past the time of right now. You can’t change it, so don’t let it discourage you. Look to what your future holds. And if you are a Christian, if you have put your faith in Jesus, if you have confessed yourself a sinner and called on Jesus to save you, no matter how horrible your past is, realize that Heaven awaits you. Think about the fact that one day, you will no longer care about the past. One day your future will be perfect as you stand in Heaven where God will make you blameless and Jesus will perfect you in every way for eternity.
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, Pa 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.