March 18, 2016

Overcoming Our Past

So many of us are trying to overcome our past. We are constantly asking “what if?” questions. As if we could actually make the past different by re-examining every word spoken and deed done. I think it is why we are obsessed with time travel movies – “Back to the Future” (I, II III), “The Time Traveler’s Wife”, “Source Code”. Everyone going back to try to fix something in the past to make the future different or better, either personally or globally. But in reality, it cannot be done. God alone transcends the boundaries of time.

Do we really want to do that anyway? I don’t. I made so many messes when I was journeying through the pain of sexual abuse – just ask my husband and kids. I do not think if I went back to try and fix it it would actually get fixed. I would make different mistakes, hurt other people, maybe more people. No, God had me go through it that I might learn He is indeed good enough and all-powerful to save. I have asked forgiveness of all I know I hurt. Some have received it and others are still healing. But the past must stay in the past – it is His boundaries set for human life. Only He lives outside of time.

So how do we live forward with the affects of an abusive past and the relationship wreckage left in our wake? How do we overcome our past?

We must accept God’s justification of us – covering of our sin with the declaration of “Not Guilty” because of Christ’s sacrifice. This brings peace with God about not only our past, but also our present and future. We are no longer condemned if we are in Christ. We have been reconciled with God, record expunged, files burned, replaced with papers that say “Identity: Jesus”.

We ask Him to help us keep the past in the past.

“In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

The Spirit protects our hearts from dragging the past into the present and future, reliving it and rehashing it, feeling the guilt and shame, because we are forgiven. We are no longer our past. He is our present and future. He will give you peace from the accuser who tries to remind and blame and dig things up. You are His daughter now and you are under God’s protection. Let Him have it and live in the peace of a forgiven past. The accuser’s end will be the abyss. God’s got him. Don’t believe his words about your past.

“The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. 10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” (Revelation 12:9-11)

This is followed by a reorientation of our mind from OUR past to our present reality and future promises in Christ. Paul, who had a very rough past, told the Philippians in Chapter 3 of that book, that he was forgetting what was behind, looking toward what is ahead, pressing forward to gain the call for which the Lord called him heavenward. His focus was a decision to embrace the forgiveness of God for the past and to look forward to the present call on His life with the goal of Heaven in the future – a promise from the Lord that He believed and lived by.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2)

Fixing our eyes on what is before us instead of the past and earthly things we cannot change, is a an assumed response to the testimony of others that God is faithful to His promises in the future. Jesus knew the reality of it and set the goal of the glory of His sacrifice to save mankind, BEFORE Him. He did not look back to the Garden. He looked forward to how His sacrifice would satisfy God’s wrath against sin – this was His joy. And then He sat down – He was done.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)

Earth is not our final destination. Heaven is – if we are in Christ. Our focus must be forward, eyes locked on Jesus, who has the power to erase the condemnation of our past and give us a sure hope in who we are in Him for the future. Our job is to take that very message to the world – the others who are trying to live backward, living in those “what ifs” and guilt and shame. His restoration of us with the Father, by His death and resurrection applied, is the key that sets us free to press forward. It is ours if we would but believe it and trust His declarations of forgiveness and belonging, having everything we need in Him to live the godly life He has saved us to live, truly overcoming our past.

  • Will you accept His forgiveness of all that is past?
  • Will you believe your standing and protection in Him is true?
  • Will you receive it and live with joy in the now, embracing hopes of your heavenly reward in Him?
  • How will your life change when you do? Share it with me below – this encourages me and all who read.