History lesson: there's this man, a great Man, that died almost 2000 years ago. Not even a sinner, yet died a sinner's death, at the hands of His Father. All for you and I. And here we come in our sinful nature, living sinful lives, missing the mark, making mistakes, unable to get anything right.
Well, I'm not sure about you, but I've messed up. A lot. I've done some things I'm not proud of. I've said some things with the same lips that are meant for praying and worshipping. I've thought some things with the same brain I use to meditate on His promises. And while I'm not who I used to be, I'm still striving every day to make better changes. Sometimes I still miss the mark, then beating myself up for the manner in which I handled something. I think of a passage in Romans. "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law..." Romans 7:15-22 NIV
Can anyone else relate? It's like I know what needs to be done, I know what's right and I know what's wrong. Yet it doesn't always go the way I desire. Guilt and shame creep in, often leaving me to second-guess how much of a "true Christian" I am after all. My holiness and righteousness gets called into question by none other than the filthy Accuser. How quickly I forget about the aforementioned history lesson: that He died for a sinner like me.
"But I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?" Romans 7:23-24 NIV My past is no match for His story. And His story is told by the following passage: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son." John 3:16-18 NIV
My past is no match for the future He has in store for me. Know that in the same way, your past is no match for His story.
You are no longer allowed to beat yourself for anything you did in the past. What is the past? It's anything you did before this very moment. Last year, last month, last week, last night, or this morning. It's all in the past. Seek forgiveness. Repent. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." James 4:8 NKJV
Whatever you have done, no matter what it is, if you have repented and sought forgiveness, I can assure you that when He forgave it, He forgot it. That's how great His love is. There's a lot to be said about history, your past, and His story. Individually, these three things may not mean much to some people. But combined, the 3 make for an awesome story. The glory story.