Let Your Past Be Past

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

What does it mean to belong to Christ? Think of it like this. Let’s say you buy a used car. It’s new to you, but at one point it belonged to someone else. You now own that car. What does that mean? It means you’re the new operator. It goes wherever you want it to go, whenever you want it to go, at the speed you want it to go. It’s no longer under any obligation to its old owner. It does whatever you direct it to do.

As with any illustration, this one has its limitations, but that’s essentially what happens when we become a new person in Christ Jesus. We’re under new management. Like an automobile, or any possession for that matter, we don’t belong to ourselves and we’re no longer under our previous owners’ (satanic) control. We now take our directives from Jesus. We move in new directions; we learn from new sources; we develop new habits; we begin to steward what now belongs to God. Essentially, He “cleans house” and begins to orient us to our new life and new way of living.

At first, we may rebel and complain about how our new Owner is leading us. It’s not unlike starting a diet or a workout program. At first, it’s hard and even though we know it’s in our best interest, it still doesn’t feel very good. It makes us “sore” and cramps our previous “style.” But over time, as we get to know our new Owner better, we understand He doesn’t do or say anything except it’s in the context of His great love for us.

Photo by William Choquette on Pexels.com

Some reading this may not like the reference to Jesus as our new Owner, but Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” Another way to say what Paul wrote is, you are under new management.

As we submit our body, mind, soul, and strength to the Lord’s control, we find that the old ways aren’t satisfying anymore. And over time we begin to understand and enjoy being God’s “property,” God’s child. We also discover that some things in our past are difficult to release, not necessarily because of our grip on them, but because of their grip on us.

Some sins die hard, especially habits that seek to pull us away from what the Holy Spirit is working to do in and through us. The only antidote is to form new, God-honoring habits to take their place. Our minds are designed to only focus on one thing at a time. So as you think about the times you’re tempted to take drugs or over indulge in alcohol, watch pornography, post inappropriate material or comments on social media, spend time with the wrong people who are pulling you away from the Lord, or anything else you know you need to leave in your past, you’ve got to allow the Lord to “train” you to fill that time with things that will bless you and honor Him.

For example, in order to change the negative thought patterns that previously ruled our minds, we’ve got to learn to fill our minds with things that are positive, uplifting, encouraging, things that will point us to Jesus, not pull us away. Reading and studying the Bible is a must. Yet, some very common objections I hear when I make this suggestion is: “I hate to read” or “it’s boring” or “I’m not a good reader” or “it makes me sleepy.” There are others, but hopefully you get the point. You’ve got to move your focus from what you don’t like to what this new discipline will do for you. What do you want your life to look like? Find someone to mentor you who models what you want to become and let them walk with you through the things you find difficult to do on your own.

Join a small group of people who are also new to following Jesus and support each other, holding one another accountable to do, at least at first, minimal Bible reading and study, as well as attending corporate worship together. Then talk with people you respect who have walked with the Lord longer and get their input.

For the nearly sixty years I’ve been reading the Bible I still marvel at the new things the Lord is teaching me nearly every day. I so appreciate how the Lord will speak to me, lead me, love me, direct me, counsel me, implore me, discipline me, correct me, and encourage me through His holy Word.

The only way you can learn to let your past be past, is allowing your new Owner to help you see and long for your new, bright, and eternal future.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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