The Past Is Not The Future
Recently I was asked to share my testimony, and I have to admit that I was little reluctant to do so. Not because I don’t like public speaking - but because I wish my testimony was one of unwavering faith and obedience. I wish that you could go and talk to anyone I went to high school with, and they would tell you about my commitment to the gospel and my obvious love for Jesus. But they wouldn’t - because I wasn’t walking with the Lord in high school. And so my testimony is not one of unwavering faith, or obedience.
However, as I’ve thought about that over the years, God has reminded me of Philippians 1:6, which says, “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” This verse is a great reminder that, not only is God able to use our past mistakes for good, but He is also continuing to work in us now. And that’s really good news, because to be honest, there are still days when my testimony to others isn’t one of unwavering faith and obedience.
If you talked to the people in my life, some could say that they’ve seen me act pridefully. Others could say that I’ve used hurtful words. And others could say I’ve not helped when I should have. Unfortunately, that list could go on - and that’s because, while I do love Jesus and I am committed to the gospel, sometimes I let my sinful nature dictate my words and behaviors. But I don’t think I’m alone in this, and I would be willing to wager that most (all?) of you reading this can struggle in the same way.
That’s why the Philippians 1:6 passage is so important for us to keep in mind. Because in the midst of our sin - and the frustration, guilt, and self-disappointment that comes with it - God says, “I’m not done with you yet.” So when we’re feeling regret over past sins, or were feeling like we’ll never move forward in our spiritual transformation, God reminds us that He’s not finished with us. He’s still molding and shaping and conforming us to the likeness of Christ. He’s still drawing us into a deeper relationship with Him. He’s still calling us to be involved in His work. The key for us is to keep our eyes on Him, and not on our past/present sins. And then, as our sins do come to light, and we’re convicted of them - we need to confess them to God, ask for His forgiveness, and keep moving forward with a commitment to not return to those old sins.
Folks, no matter where we’ve stumbled or fallen, our Maker has a beautiful design and intention for us that is not yet complete. So today, let’s rest in that truth, and turn our focus upward and outward. Let’s allow God to change our narrow scope from simply being about yesterday and today, to being about eternity.