Moving Past Our Past
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
I think you’ll agree when I say we all have a past. What are the things in your past that you’re not proud of? For me, plenty of things come to mind, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.
Often, what keeps us from following God is who we used to be or the things we used to do.
I remember the story of a girl I met a while back. She was beautiful and sweet … and she had a past. One mistake she made in high school stuck with her for years. It was made public and ultimately prevented her from being accepted into any sorority at her college. All I could think about was how sad that had to be. She didn’t have the opportunity to continue on to her future in something she would have loved to do, all because of something she did that wasn’t a representation of who she is. It felt so unfair.
A lot of times, we feel the way my friend felt — like our past has disqualified us and is preventing us from moving forward.
But the power of the gospel is that we have hope in the newness of life, and there is a resurrection story for us, just as our key verse says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
How do we step into our life as a “new creation” when everyone knows us for who we were? There are two steps I’ve taken in my life when it comes to moving past my past:
#1: We must know who we are and what God’s Word says about us. If we are not rooted in this truth, we will listen to the voice of the enemy. However, if we are truly anchored in the reality of who God says we are, when the enemy comes to attack we will stop him in his tracks and remind him who we are.
#2: We must fully commit our lives to Jesus. We can’t fully be who we’re meant to become if we’re still living our old lives. For example, it would be very confusing if Paul, who wrote many New Testament books in the Bible, had continued to murder Christians (Acts 9:1) after he became one himself. (Acts 9:3-18) The powerful thing about his story is that he committed; he didn’t turn back. Plenty of people in the Bible had to press past their pasts to step into God’s calling for their lives — like Moses, Joseph, Rahab and Ruth. We can do the same.
What’s crazy to think about is that if these people in Scripture hadn’t pressed past their old lives, our lives would be drastically different. Many of our favorite Bible verses were written by Paul. We are impacted by people who have pressed past their pasts.
The same is true for our lives. What people am I going to reach when I finally get past who I used to be and step into who God has called me to be? Amazing impact lies on the other side of getting past our pasts. Live the life He has called you to, friend! Don’t let your past hold you back.
This can sound easy but can be a long journey. However, today you can start that journey with your thoughts. What is a word you’ve been declaring over your past? Is it “failure,” “lost,” “abused,” “dirty,” “sinful,” “weak,” “jealous”? If your past still brings you shame, I want to encourage you to change whatever your word is to “redeemed.” That’s who you are in Christ — made new and washed clean.
The only way we’ll see the world change is if we truly change by the power of the gospel.
God, I thank You so much for the power of the gospel. I thank You that I don’t have to live entangled by my old sin, and I can live redeemed by Your sacrificial blood. God, I thank You for making me new. I pray that, when I feel stuck in old sin, You will break the chains. I pray that I will boldly preach the gospel but, above all else, live the gospel. I love You so much. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.