I’m Not Who I Was

February 27, 2018

If I were your enemy…

I’d constantly remind you of your past mistakes and poor choices  I’d want to keep you burdened by shame and guilt, in hopes that you’ll feel incapacitated by your many failings and see no point in even trying again.  I’d work to convince you that you that you’ve had your chance and blown it–that your God may be able to forgive some people from some things, but not you…not for this.

I have always been pretty transparent about my past. I’ve openly shared my testimony here on my site and I’ve spoken to a small handful of Youth Groups in the past regarding my many, many shortcomings during my early college years. The few parts of my story that remain hidden and buried within the walls of my heart are pieces of my story that I have not quite reached the point of being ready to share.

For the most part, I have made peace with my past. I have prayed (many, many times) and accepted the grace that covers the multitude of sins in my life. I know that my Father has cast those sins away and forgiven them.

That doesn’t mean that they don’t still haunt me. That my mistakes don’t still creep into my mind all too often and that I don’t allow the enemy to plant lies in my head and my heart.

You are not the kind of person that God can use.
Look at what you’ve done in your past.
You aren’t qualified to minister to anyone.
God didn’t really forgive you for those things.

Any of those lies sound familiar?

The enemy really likes to drag up the past and our mistakes. Have you ever paid attention to the timing that those mistakes creep into your mind? For me, I always hear those things when I’m trying to pursue a calling God has placed on my heart; especially if it involves ministry of any kind. The enemy likes to sneak in and whisper the, “God could never use you” garbage in my ear and leave me feeling like regardless of the power that I have been given by the Holy Spirit through Jesus, I will never amount to anything.

One of my favorite verses is the one that reminds us that the enemy came to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus. Jesus came so that we might have life and have it abundantly (src). He wants nothing more than to steal the joy you have found in Christ, to kill your dreams and your passion and your drive, and to destroy any opportunities to share your redemption story that God intends to use for the good of His kingdom.

One thing that I have had to learn (and I still struggle with it) is that the enemy could care less about me. Or you. We are just pawns in his never ending attempt to hinder God’s work. We are the minions that he gets to do his dirty work…the grunts…the marionette that he tries to get to do his bidding. His real beef is with God. His soul purpose is to pull us away from the Lord and convince us that he knows a better way. He isn’t after you because he cares about you. He’s after you because the KNOWS that the God that we serve can use anyone to do work for Him.

He attacks our drive and dampers our passion. He steals our focus and causes us to lose sight of the big picture of God’s eternal plan. He throws wrenches into our marriages and comes after our children.  He causes us to question not only who we are, but WHOSE we are. And when none of those tactics work, he likes to drag up what we’ve done and who we were before Christ. All because he knows that if we were to step into the power that God has given us…if we were to allow our past to be a witnessing tool; something that can further draw people to the Kingdom, he will once again lose his traction and God will gain ground.

Our God forgives.
Our God casts all of our sin as far as the East is from the West.
Our God changes us from the inside and transforms us into someone he can use.

The bible is full of unlikely heroes and redemption stories. God uses all kind of people with all kind of mistakes and all kind of stories.

Let’s let our life be the next great God story.


FOR DISCUSSION

(feel free to answer in the comments or privately on your own)

  • Are there parts of your story that you think God can’t or won’t use for His glory?
  • What tactics does the enemy use to try to pin your past against you?
  • Do you find that he uses your past more often in certain situations than in others?
  • Are there areas of your past that you haven’t yet asked God to heal and forgive?
FOCUS VERSE

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…

Ephesians 1:7

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