Freedom from the Past

Trapped: /trapped/ verb 1. held tightly by something so that it cannot move or be freed. If I'm being honest, I've been feeling extremely trapped and suffocated by my past lately. I constantly feel imprisoned by who I was, and all of the mistakes that I've made. Maybe you can relate; you have yanked around the heavy chains of your past for so long that you've become exhausted. The chains have deprived you from the joy of the present and excitement for the future. One thing that I learned this week is that no matter how hard you try, you can't escape your past; but that doesn't mean that you can't be freed from it. God drowned the demons of our past in His perfect love, grace and mercy, so that we can live a life of forgiveness, freedom, and redemption.

"Jesus overcame the grave to give you the strength to overcome your past."

What broke you? If you could go back in time what would you change, what would you do differently? Chances are, the answer to these questions popped into your mind right away; and that’s probably because the thought never actually leaves your mind. Maybe you’re constantly being tormented by something that you did or something that happened to you. No matter how hard you try to leave your past in the past, it keeps on distracting you from the present, and continues to steal your hope of the future. You wear your past like your favorite shirt and you wear a filthy coat of shame that you think everyone can see. Can I tell you something? You’re the only one that sees the grimy coat; you’re the only one that can hear the voices of the past. Jesus died and shed His blood so you wouldn’t have to live a life covered in guilt and shame. Isaiah 1:18 says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

I am done with being consumed by the thoughts of my past. I am tired of having flashbacks of things that I don't want to remember, and I am sick of crying over things that I can no longer control. I know you're just as tired as I am of being trapped in the past. The only thing that you need to do in order to be freed from it, is remember that Jesus overcame the grave to give you the strength to overcome your past.

"Allow your past to shape you and stop letting it define you."

The moment that you ask God to forgive you of your sins, He forgets all about them , “as far as the east is from the west, so far He has removed our transgressions from us,” (Psalm 103:12). The Creator of the universe has already forgiven you of your past…so why can’t you forgive yourself? Allow your past to shape you and stop letting it define you. No sin is too big and no past is too dark for God to forgive. Jesus died for the drug addict, He died for the pastor, and He died for you too. God knew that you were going to make mistakes and that’s why He sent His Son to die for you. Jesus suffered and died a brutal death, with your name on His mind the whole time. He was tortured so that you wouldn’t have to be tortured and tormented by your past. He knows everything about you and still loves you. Nothing would stop Him from sacrificing His life for you, and if He had to…He’d do it all over again.

"God doesn't care about who you used to be, He focuses on who He has already chosen you to be."

God has a habit of choosing people with appalling pasts to do astounding things. Do you remember King David? He was called a “man after God’s own heart”, but did you know he also killed someone and had an affair? You all know Moses as the guy that parted the Red Sea and freed the Israelites, but he was also a murderer. Paul used to be Saul and he killed Christians, but God still had an extraordinary plan for his life. Noah was a drunk, but He “found favor in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). Rahab was a prostitute and God still used her. God doesn’t care about who you used to be, He focuses on who He has already chosen you to be. God sets “His treasure in fragile jars of clay”(2 Corinthians 4:7); so that when they break, His light and love can shine through them. He chose you in your brokenness, so that He can shine through you. He turned your ashes into beauty, and set all of your brokenness aside and made it beautiful. No matter how grim your past might seem, God can and still will use you.

"Next time your past starts to creep up, remind it of your future in Christ."

Everyone has a past and everyone has felt trapped by it at some point in their life. The bondage of our past cause us to live a life of guilt and shame, but luckily our God specializes in forgiveness and redemption. Let the power of Jesus be your past, present and future because He alone is able to free you from the prison of your past. Next time your past starts to creep up, remind it of your future in Christ. Romans 8:1-2, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death."

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