Have you ever done something that made you feel bad about yourself and kept you trapped in the mistakes of your past?
Have you ever been criticized by someone, and felt guilty, ashamed, or inferior?
Words of another can sting. So can the words of our enemy who seeks only to steal, kill, and destroy us (John 10:10).
So often, however, we don’t recognize his taunts for what they are: lies.
Having teenagers in the house brings with it the opportunity to remember not only my younger years when I was their age, but also the mistakes and poor choices that come with youth.
Sometimes those memories are twinged with guilt, shame, and embarrassment. If I really allow my thoughts to go unchecked, I can begin to wonder how God would ever use someone like me who tested the waters of independence rather than consulting His plans for me.
- Have you ever done something so bad that you feared God could no longer use you?
- Have you ever allowed shame over your words or actions to hold you back from God’s call on your life?
- Have you ever believed that your past disqualifies you in some way from serving God?
The enemy would like to convince us that our messy pasts erode any promise for our future.
I firmly believe, however, that God uses our greatest messes to be our greatest message for Him.
God desires that we would first believe in Him, and then that we would surrender our heart to His plans.
Joshua 2 tells the story of Rahab who is a perfect example of just this! Rahab was an Old Testament prostitute. Many would think of her as anything but ungodly. Yet scripture reveals that Rahab believed in the One True God.
Joshua led the Jews into the Promise Land. Two spies went on ahead into the city of Jericho. Rahab hid the spies on the roof top of her inn, and when the King of Jericho sent soldiers to her inn demanding that she turn over the spies, she lied about their whereabouts and sent them searching for the spies in another direction. Rahab kept silent about the spies’ mission, and in return, Joshua spared Rahab and her entire family’s lives when Jericho was invaded and destroyed.
“It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.”
Rahab’s history as a prostitute may have caused others to doubt her worth, but she believed in the One True God and risked her life for Him by providing safety for Joshua’s spies. She heard how God delivered the Jews from their enemy, then because of her faithfulness to God, she experienced His deliverance first hand when all those in Jericho who disobeyed God were killed.
James 2:25 reveals that Rahab was considered righteous because of her service to God.
God does not judge us in the same way we judge others. Nor does He use our status, accomplishments, or a blemish-free record as the determining factor for His ability to use us in service to Him. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8).
God is looking for those who believe in Him, and are willing to surrender to His plans. Our history, mistakes, and messes allow for God to receive greater glory for the outcome.
Don’t keep looking back and dwelling on the mistakes of your past—you aren’t going that way! Look ahead to what God is going to do in and through you for your good and His glory.
Have you ever let your past interfere with your future? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Depression doesn’t have to become a permanent part of life.
There is hope.
Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the companion Hope Prevails Bible Study help the reader understand how depression comes to be, recover their joy, reclaim their peace, and re-establish their true identity, while knowing their worth, remembering their secure destiny, and being confident that nothing separates them from God’s love.