No Self-Imposed Purgatory, Thank You

Ever have one of those everyday, ordinary, routine moments impact you in a way it normally has not?

I’ve heard the song thousands of times, but “I Will Offer Up My Life” (Matt Redman) has been running through my mind over the last week. It’s a mediocre song musically, but the words are well worth the listen. I’ll leave that part to you… here’s the part that has caught my attention over the last few days from the second verse.

“You deserve my every breath for you paid the great cost; giving up your life to death, even death on a cross. You took all my shame away, there defeated my sin.”

I began to ask myself: “Do I live unashamed and undefeated? Or have I rendered the sacrifice of Jesus worthless?”

This week I went to breakfast with my new friend, Ernest Bowen. We had a short conversation about how people tend to put themselves into a self-imposed purgatory, beating themselves up over error/sins from the past. This is not at all the kind of freedom-bringing salvation that God promised through his son, but so many of us choose to live this way.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.”  -2 Corinthians 5:17-19

It seems that so many of us who have a less than perfect past can get caught up in playing the “What if” game. Not only is that a complete waste of time (unless you happen to have a time machine on hand), it is also living in a defeated manner. Jesus’ sacrifice frees us from the shame of past errors/mistakes. Do we still live with the consequences/results? Absolutely. But, as a follower of Christ, we have this promise:

“…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

-Romans 8:28

God has a habit of turning weakness into strength; in fact, Paul even became excited about his weakness, because it left room for God’s strength to work in his life.

“He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -2 Corinthians 12:9

Perhaps that habit, addiction, or temptation that plagues you is going to be used to help you bring freedom to another person’s life. Sometimes, the best partner to help a person out of a lifestyle is someone who has become free from that same situation.

Don’t live each day regretting your past and the manner in which you used to live. Live confidently and look for ways that your messy past may be used to strengthen your (or another person’s) future.

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