Not Your Past

 

Read: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Perhaps you have seen the Peanuts cartoon where Charlie Brown and Lucy are playing baseball?  During the game a fly ball is hit to Lucy and she misses it. Charlie Brown is curious as to why she missed such an easy fly ball out.  Lucy responds by saying that while the ball was in the air she remembered all the others she had missed in the past.  She said, “The past got in my eyes.”  Perhaps you can relate.  You have trouble moving forward because of guilt or shame from the past.  Some years ago Major League Baseball manager Sparky Anderson said, “I’ve got my faults, but living in the past is not one of them.  There’s no future in it.”

Too often people live as if their past defines them.  They can’t move past their failures, mistakes, and sins to embrace the grace and forgiveness of Jesus.  In the story of Nicodemus and Jesus in John 3, Nick comes to Jesus in the cover of night and asks him what this teaching about being born again really means.  Jesus explains that we are not born again physically but spiritually into a new creation in Him (Jesus Christ).  Not long after that encounter comes one of the most quoted verses in all the Bible in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Going back to the Peanuts.  Many times we are like Linus who carried his security blanket around everywhere he went.  We don’t let go of our soiled and difficult past to embrace something new.  A new more promising security in Jesus.  Peanuts creator Charles M. Shulz introduced that blanket for Linus in a comic strip in 1954.  Interestingly, toward the end of the comic strip’s run, Shulz had the blanket appear less and less.  During a Charlie Brown Christmas special Linus even drops the blanket and says “Fear Not!”  The same words that Jesus comforts his disciples with in the book of Matthew.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul proclaims, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”  This is why we don’t have to live in our past or dwell on those mistakes when Jesus has been invited into our lives.  You don’t have to listen to condemning voices from your past or be overwhelmed by guilt and unforgiveness.  His grace and forgiveness will cover you.  You are or will be a new creation in Jesus once you receive his gift of salvation.  I love the way that the Peanuts characters brought so many of these life lessons to us through the years.  Many of them were even lessons straight from the Bible.  My prayer this week is that you can find redemption and grace for your past through Jesus.  He is about your future, not your past!

Make it Personal:

  This week I hope you can make these words from Isaiah 43:18-19 personal and a part of your life moving forward.  “Forget the former things; so do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Have a blessed week, Pastor Glen Rhodes