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Putting The Old Life Behind

Putting The Old Life Behind
Letting Go of The Past

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

There is probably no better proof of God's transforming power than our personal testimony.  The before and after results of our way of living should be obvious to all who witness our life.  But what if someone hasn't seen us before we gave our life to Christ - how will they know of God's great and wondrous works?  This is where our testimony comes forth.  

Sharing our testimony is powerful, and it is passionate as we exude truth of Christ's transforming power.  God in His sovereignty schedules divine appointments with specific people in the perfect time and place, and allows for our witness to emerge as we seek to share His Word, and encourage.  It could be when someone shares their personal hardships, and you immediately relate to their frustration, and temptation to quit trusting God, or to be afraid of the uncertainty of what the future holds.  

This is our personal chance to share a brief segment of what we faced, and how God walked us through it, and delivered us.  We must continue to point them back to Christ, and His Word, and steer them away from only reacting based on their feelings and emotions.

As good as our testimony is, we must be careful in how we use it.  Let me explain.  All too often, we can be tempted to camp out on our past - our life before Christ (BC), or the "Old Man" as the Bible refers to it.  We talk and talk, with vivid detail we speak of the things we partook in, the tragedies we faced, and the horrendous things we have experienced while growing up.  We speak from the perspective of our being a victim, and of how bad things were.  

Q:    What is happening as we do this?

A:    We are putting the focus on our sin, and ourselves and not God.

Oh sure, we may get around to Him eventually - after all, He represents the happy ending of our story.  It's like we can speak for a half hour on our past, and then finish with, "Oh, but that was before I found Jesus," and end it there.  But this is not how it is suppose to be.  We are not to glorify our past, or profess to be a victim.  We should not be beaming with excitement when we speak of our past actions - they are not a badge of honor to be displayed - God is to be honored.   Nor should we be sobbing as we are going back to revisit our tragedies, bringing them up over and over again - it's as if they have not been dealt with.  

Listen to what God's word says about handling the past.

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:7, 13-14 (NKJV)

So we can see here how the Apostle Paul handled his past.  He used it in his letter to the Philippians to briefly let his audience know how he could relate to their temptations - but only for this reason.  He immediately shifts gears and begins to speak about Jesus as soon as possible.  Paul's testimony wasn't the focus, Christ was.  His testimony was simply a tool to bridge the conversation to Jesus.  

I don't know if God really wants us all to sit down and write a book about our past. I don't believe God wants us to peel back the issues our past one layer at a time like some onion in an effort to deal with them by continuing to discuss them and their effects.  I believe He wants us to bring them to Him and to deal with them once and for all - just as Christ dealt with them once for all when he died for them on the Cross (Rom 6:10; Heb. 7:27).   

If it is a previous committed transgression continuing to come up, then confess it.  If it still comes up, identify that it is simply condemnation from the enemy and cast the thought down, and replace it with a Scripture promising God's forgiveness. We are told to cast down those arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2Cor. 10:5).  This means if we are thinking on things other than what God wants us to think upon, we are to stop it.  We are to be thinking on the things He has told us to think upon - whatever things are true (God's promises), whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of "Good" report - if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things (Phil 4:8).  

If it was someone else's sin that has affected you, acknowledge it for what it was, an attack spawned from Satan - now forgive the person who committed it and pray for them.  Now, drop it!  Only then will we be healed.  Once we have been healed, we can talk about the healing and the Master Physician, and eventually allow God to use it for good.

Here me in this Christian, focus your talking on the things of God; about the healing of God, and about the gift of God through Christ Jesus.  Trust Him, as He will use your past for good (Rom. 8:28).  A testimony is a good tool for sure, but it is never to take center stage.

STUDY QUESTION: According to the Scriptures contained within this devotional, what can we learn about our past and how we should deal with it?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you still struggling with something from your past?  Do you find yourself attempting to deal with issues over and over again?

APPLICATION: Seek God and lay any issue you are dealing with at His feet.  Acknowledge the source of any evil as being from Satan.  Now purpose in your heart to forgive any person for any offense.  If there is something you have done, confess it to the Lord, and to whomever you have offended if possible.  Let it go now, and walk in newness of life - Christ died for ALL sin, and it has been forgiven.  

Father, Thank You for allowing Jesus to die once for all.  Thank You for forgiving me of all my offenses.  Father, I forgive all persons who may have sinned and offended me.  I pray You will continue to work within their life to draw them to You.  I ask this in Jesus precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000