Dirty Past

“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”
Those are wise words scribbled on a gas station bathroom wall that led me to think. How many times do we let ourselves be defined by our past? How many times do we let our past hinder us from doing what God has called us to do?
Isn’t it great that the Lord of Lords already knows our past?
The King of Kings, the maker of heaven already knows YOUR story
AND YET
He still has an AMAZING FUTURE planned for you BECAUSE of your past.
It’s easy to get stuck on the past. It’s easy to dwell on the unfair circumstances we were given, the people in our life that hurt us, or the tragic losses we have endured. It’s easy to dwell on the past people we were and the sins previously committed.
Anyone can dwell in the past, it takes so much more to look to the future.
Sometimes we let our past define us. We let everything that’s happened define who we are. But the past doesn’t define us, it just shapes us. Did you get that? Those things FORMED who you are but DO NOT DEFINE who you are. You are not your sins, your circumstances, or your losses. You are the son/daughter of the Creator who has given you a clean slate.
The Devil will remind you of your past every chance he gets. The Devil knows your name and calls you by your sin. God knows your sin and calls you by your name. (Ricardo Sanchez)

So many people let their past stop them from pursuing what God has told them. “I can’t preach about purity, I lost my virginity when I was young.” “I am too messed up. To scarred. No one will listen.”
Not True
If God has called you to be something, you can do it. If God wants you to do something, you can do it. God doesn’t use “perfect” people. He doesn’t just use middle class Americans from a two parent household that were raised on Christian values and never had any financial instability or emotional trauma.
We are so quick to put down ourselves from the circumstances that we’ve been dealt with instead of realizing that God can use that to bring HIM glory.

Philippians 3:33
“Focus in this one thing; forgetting the last and looking to what lies ahead.”

God’s purpose is not limited by your past and all those things that used to define who you were.

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God doesn’t use perfect people. No one is perfect! Rather, God specializes in taking broken people and using them to further his kingdom. No matter what you’ve done, who’ve you’ve been, or where you come from God CAN and WILL use you.

We see this in Luke 8:26-39
A man lived as an outcast for many years. He lived naked and alone in the tombs of Gadara. He was posses with demons. When he saw Jesus, he cried out for Jesus to have mercy on him. Jesus commanded the demons to leave him and then cast them into a herd of pigs. The pigs rushed down the steep bank into a lake and drowned. The man was finally free, both physically and spiritually. The man was so thankful for what Jesus had done that he begged to travel with Jesus. But Jesus had other plans. Instead, Jesus told him to go and share his story of what Jesus had done for him….and the man DID.

The terrible thing he had to live with became a story of healing and hope. It gave his life purpose. It became a testimony of healing.
“People can deny Christ, dispute Scripture and ignore prophecy, but they cannot deny, dispute or ignore God’s transformational power in someone’s life.”(Proverbs 31 Women Ministry)  Our stories of trials, heartache, pain, adversity are meant to serve as a testimony of God’s faithfulness and power. We are to show that God can take what the devil meant for evil and turn it into something good.

God NEVER wastes our pain. Only we do that. There is truly a purpose for everything that we endure. The man did not sit around and say “But no one will listen to me…I’ve been possessed. People will judge me based on my past.” By doing that, he would’ve disobeyed what Jesus had told him, but also missed out on the amazing opportunity to share how God had made a difference in his life, despite the burdens of his past.
There is a purpose to your past and God will use you BECAUSE of your past, not despite it.

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23 thoughts on “Dirty Past

  1. This was a great read! I am a youth leader at our church and I always struggle with feeling like a hypocrite when I guide them in a direction that is the total opposite of the choices I made when I was younger. The quote at the beginning is eye opening and really stirred me. I love it. Great post!

  2. “The Devil knows your name and calls you by your sin. God knows your sin and calls you by your name.” I love that quote! It is one of the most amazing messages that God uses the broken because we were broken! Nothing in our past disqualifies us from His healing and the plan He has for our lives!

  3. You speak truth! Our past can make us a victim. But we have a choice to leave that role and become a survivor and eventually to overcome! What helps me move forward is speaking God’s truth over and over. It takes a while for your mind and heart to align, but once they both have a handle on truth from God’s word…we start to believe in that truth. God wants to renew our minds, and all we have to do is let Him 🙂

  4. Very well put and an encouragement to my soul. The only thing I would add is that while God doesn’t use perfect people, those who appear to be perfect are not. Someone that grew up middle class and has never had any major hurts can still be used in a mighty way in God’s kingdom and can reach people that others may not be designed to reach.

  5. You say, “the past doesn’t define us, it just shapes us.” Amen to that! I’m so thankful that God is able to use my heartache and past transgressions for His glory and for my own good!

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