Does Your Past Define Your Present? 

I was talking to someone the other day and she mentioned how people don’t take her seriously as a Christian today because of her past. While talking further she revealed that in her youth she was a drinker, and enjoyed going to bars and clubs. She also stated that she was known for hanging out with the wrong crowd. Her life changed when she got married and God was introduced into her life. She is now a faithful Christian but people that knew her when, always bring up the “good ole days”. The thing is, they treated her like she still lived that life. She found this very discouraging and a hurtful reminder to her. This is true for a lot of people. Some individuals simply do not understand that it is possible for others to change the path they are on.

God is more interested in who you are now than who you once were and used to be. So many folks today focus on the past of others than their present. We all have a past, some good, some bad. I remember the words in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Pay special attention to the words in that verse, “AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU”. What a blessing to know that whatever past we had, we can be washed and made clean. 

 So does this mean, we can have a second chance? Yes, God forgets our past, for He has forgiven us of all the things we have done, but only if we repent. So if we have repented and turned from that old life then in God’s eyes, we have no past, only a great future. Isn’t that an amazing and wonderful comfort? In 1 Timothy 1:12-17, Paul talks about what Christ did for him, even after all he had done to Christians in the past. He persecuted and murdered Christians. After seeing the truth, he turned out to be God’s minister in the faith. Paul is a great example of making a change and what a wonderful example he was and still is through the written Word.

We can have comfort in that forgiveness. I love the verse in Psalm 25:7 “Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good.” I have found that people who are constantly bringing up people’s former way of life is usually because of one of two reasons. One being they are very far from Christ themselves, so they cannot begin to understand His love or the second reason is they have a bitter heart and want people to feel as low as them. Both are very sad and deserve our prayers that they will come to the truth and knowledge of Jesus Christ before it’s too late.  

 I know that it is a hard thing to do, but we must also resist dwelling on past mistakes. The verse in Isaiah 43:18 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” Satan is the mastermind of bringing our past mistakes to the forefront of our thoughts. He tends to remind us of the past right as we are trying to strengthen our faith and grow in knowledge. Yet we must resist thinking on our past mistakes. The devil hates when we use Gods Word to get us through those thoughts. He will do anything to bring us down. This is proof that knowing and learning Gods word is the best defense against Satan. Don’t let anyone, especially Satan try to remind you of who you used to be. Don’t allow your past, whatever that was, bring you down. God wants you to move on. He doesn’t want you to dwell on it. He doesn’t want you to entertain it. I love what Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” When someone tries to remind of you of your past, show them what kind of person you are today. You are a child of God. Some people will respect that and unfortunately some will not. People can change, and those who truly love you will respect the change you have made. So, don’t lose heart if they don’t. Some people are not meant to be in our life anymore. It’s sometimes apart of the journey. You are standing firm for the Gospel of Christ and that is more important that what was in your past and more important than the people that want to keep you there. 

What has occurred in our pasts may shape us, but it never defines us. You may make difficult or even bad decisions, even ones that will impact you for the rest of your life, but rest assured when you turn to God, repent, and be baptized (Acts 2:38) your new life begins. It is such a rewarding life and a life that for me personally, is the best life. Remember those in your Christian journey that do not share the same values as you do. Remember to pray for them and maybe, through your influence that they will be on the right path with you.

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