I made the trip up to my attic the other day…you know the attic…the place in your home where the most random of random things go to collect dust and cobwebs? For some reason, we put our family pictures and sentimental things up there (in plastic totes of course). I came across one of my high school yearbooks from when I was a Junior at Bedford High in 2002. I opened it and began looking at the pics of all the people I went to school with, and of course found a picture of a much younger me. I wondered what many of these people were up to, if anyone of them were still the same person, or if some of them went through deep changes through their early adulthood. When I looked at my pic, I know the question I had was “wow, who is that guy?” It wasn’t because of the long hair or 16 years younger…It was because I was literally a completely different person…A different identity…A different set of values and a different worldview….I was chasing the World and no idea that God was chasing me
2 Cor 5:17 says that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
I am so thankful for that truth as I reflect on the person I used to be. I remember endless nights of partying, the drama that came with that, crazy nights playing in a garage band, Spending the night in jail, going to drug rehab, and at some point, thinking there had to be more than this to life. Of course I found that purpose In Christ. The life I sought was the life that was promised in John 14, saying the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I (Jesus) have come to give life to the fullest.
You know what though, I need to be reminded each day that I am a work in progress and Christ is not done working in me. I am in need of His strength each day.
See, if I am being completely transparent, there are times in my life when the enemy of my soul creeps up and begins to tell me lies and highlight my past.
Have you ever looked at your past and then be paralyzed with different feelings about it? Guilt, condemnation, shame, temptation, etc? Sometimes we are so wrapped up with the person we used to be, it hinders us from moving forward into what God has for us.
In the last 2 days, we explored the Israelite’s journey out of Egyptian bondage and how God would lead the way. This whole plan was nearly derailed by what happens in chapter 14
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelite’s looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
See, God was leading them outward into the place He promised, but they took their eyes off of it and looked backwards. They were so comfortable in the dysfunction of their past identity, when they looked back at it…they were willing to trade what God had for them to be back there…See, when you have your eyes fixed on Egypt, you can’t see the promised land ahead.
You might have a past just as I do…be encouraged today knowing that there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ, that He began a work in you and will see it through until it is finished, that in Christ you have victory because of His life, death, and resurrection…and that means when your past comes creeping in, when your eyes look backward at things before…and when fear sets in…we can be reminded today of what Moses response was to the Israelites when they were in this situation
13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
God is fighting for you….Walk in the victory He has for you, and keep your eyes fixed on the Promised land in front of you