At various points and places in life, we come face-to-face with our past. In some experiences, this moment is thrilling and exciting. And at other times, that moment can be a shaming, sorrow-filled reality.
It’s easiest to run straight towards those exciting past experiences — it’s a moment of great joy, one you are proud of and most willing to recall and even repeat. But those moments of our past we face, those saturated in sin and self, we often choose not to run toward those things, but rather, we choose to run away from them.
Friends, it’s in those moments when we are confronted by the shame of our past, it’s those moments running away from the past brings no healing, no forgiveness and no redemption. Facing our past, or mistakes, our sin — it’s never easy. And yet, how we deal with our past mistakes and sin, that speaks volumes to the world around us about how deeply we understand the grace and redemption of God.
See, the Word of God tells us in 1 Peter 5:6 and 7 to “humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” The word picture here of “the mighty hand of God” is a powerful symbol in the Bible of God working in the experiences of men, always accomplishing His divine and sovereign purposes.
We often choose to run away from the process in which God has designed to use in our lives to purify us and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.
Seeking humility as we face the past, it positions us before God to truly receive his correction, his guidance and his empowerment to press on. 1 Peter 5 continues in verse 10 by saying: “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” God will work through our struggles, our sin, to produce his strength and character in us if we remain humble and let God work and transform every thought and every action we have.
We have to remember the Lord will not waste any pain that we face. Yes, we need to get serious about dealing with our past. And yes, we need to get serious about sin. For as disciples of Christ, we need to be radically committed to the spiritual discipline of confession and repentance so we can fully abide in the powerful and majestic life shaping grace of the Lord.
Most of us do not want to be humbled, so choose to be humble — choose to seek humility daily, staying devoted to having a contrite heart before the Lord, letting him speak to the problems you have and thus allowing him to restore and redeem you.
Remember, God is never closer than when he’s pruning and refining us, and action which is a “hands on” moment in your life. God is faithful to transform us when we address the discontent, the discouragement, the despair, the fear, the lies, and all of the other “stuff” from our past.
So, choose humility. Run toward transformation and redemption. Abide in Christ, so He may lift you up and out of the shame of your past.
Nick Emery is the senior pastor at Good Shepherd Wesleyan Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.