My past is too ugly
The new year is fast getting old and already our resolve to do something great this year may be under heavy fire. But one thing remains constant – God can use anything we give Him and make something remarkable!
Many of us believe that God can’t work with our lives because “I have too many skeletons in my closet.” But God is an expert at cleaning our dirty laundry and making us sparkle. Do you believe that God can and wants to use your life for something significant?
God has done it so many times before. In the Bible, the Apostle Paul was responsible for directing thousands of people to Jesus Christ. “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul …” (Acts 19:11 NIV). But Paul didn’t start there; he had many literal and figurative ‘skeletons’ in his past.
In Acts 26, the Jewish Paul was in the Roman King Agrippa’s court defending his missionary actions. He had angered the Jewish religious leaders because many people were converting to Christianity. But Paul was not always a follower of Jesus Christ and said so: “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” “… I was so obsessed with persecuting them [Christians]...” (Acts 26:4-5, 11 NIV).
Before his conversion, Paul was a zealous, anti-Christ, murderer of Christians. But his life shows us that no ugly past can prevent a beautiful future from being shaped by God. Paul shows us how we can step away from our past.
Paul said: “I was going to Damascus … as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven … blazing around me. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me … ‘Saul, why do you persecute me?’” [Paul asks] “Who are you, Lord?” …“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting…” (Acts 26:12-15 NIV).
To begin with, when Paul recognised that he was sinning against God all along, but now had the opportunity to change, he took it. Overcoming our past begins with making a life-altering decision once we realise that how we have been living, is not pleasing to God.
I understand that it’s not easy because condemnation is one of Satan’s biggest guns. Paul’s sin was what got him down on the ground, but Jesus didn’t let him stay that way. He told him: “Now get up and stand on your feet. …” (Acts 26:16 NIV).
Jesus Christ did not want Paul to live with condemnation, and He died so we wouldn’t have to live in it either. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17 NIV)
The voices of your past may be haunting you each time you try to step out and live your dream. It may be the voice of an ex, a teacher or even a parent. But whose voice will you trust – people who don’t know your potential or the One who died so you could live up to it?
When Paul came in contact with Jesus, he believed who Jesus said he was, erasing the stains that others had put on him. And we also must recognise who we are in Christ. “… I am he who blots out your transgressions … and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25 NIV).
Jesus eventually used Paul’s past as His platform. Our darkest past can become God’s tool if we surrender it to Him. God wants to use the brokenness of your past as the platform for your future. Will you allow Jesus to take it and transform it for His glory?