Thursday, May 8, 2008

Pass on your Past

I was reading the other day in Romans 8:1 and it says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Everyone has a past. Some of that past is good and some is bad. Some you are proud of and some you hope no one finds out about. When people make statements like "I've got a past" or "If you only knew my past" they are usually not talking about a good past. There are just a few options you have when dealing with a bad past. 1 - learn from it, 2 - repent from it and 3 - move on from it.

If you constantly dwell on your bad past, whether it was sin, mistakes, unfortunate circumstances, etc. it starts to determine your present and future. A bad past can literally rob you of a good present and future life. Sometimes it leads to a victim mentality and that's all you can focus on. One or two bad things in the past can determine your huge future - what a shame!

The Bible says we do not have to live in the condemnation or guilt of the past but live in Christ. What does it mean to be "in Christ". The words "in Christ" are the same words used in the Old Testament to describe Noah being "in" the ark. How safe was the ark? How water-tight was it? Was he in danger of being swallowed up by what surrounded him in the ark? No. He was protected and safe. He was safe "in the ark" because he obeyed the Lord and put pitch on the exterior of the ark to seal it.

That word "pitch" is the same word used for "in Christ" or propitiation or a covering. Noah was saved from the raging floods by the water-tight ark he was in. We are saved from a raging world and a bad past life by being in Christ. There is no condemnation or guilt over a past life for those in Christ. We are protected from the destructiveness of a past that wants to drown us and destroy our present and future by being in the safety and protection of a relationship in Christ. The blood of Christ is the "pitch" that covers and protects our lives today. It provides access for forgiveness, repentance, second chances, and new beginnings.

Are you struggling with past? Are you in Christ? The freedom from a bad past and being in relationship with Christ go hand-in-hand. The bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" Do you need a new beginning? It's found "in Christ".

Paul said this about past in Philippians 3:11-14: "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: 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."

It's time to press on (move beyond your past) and take hold of what Jesus has for you. To do that, you need to forget the past, learn from it, repent from it, and move on. We used to say - Admit it, quit it, and forget it! You have to press in to do that. Press is a term that requires energy, effort and action. It can be tough. But somtimes you have to go through fire to be refined. After all, steel is made by fire. Gold is refined in fire. The fire hurts, but the result is worth it. God has reward and a great prize ahead of you. Stop living in your bad past - move in what God has for you now and the future!

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