Embrace the Past
Today's reading: Acts 9:19-31
Despite his sinful past, Saul's encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus changed his life forever. One of the things that I find appealing about Saul's conversion account is how God uses his horrific past of hating and persecuting Christ-followers as a way to highlight His powerful and transforming love and offer of salvation.
So often we shrink back and shy away from letting others know about our pasts—past failures, sinful choices, mistakes—because we somehow feel we're "less than" others around us. The fact of the matter is, the moment we receive Christ as our Savior, all of our past sins are forgiven, and as we make poor and sinful choices as we move forward (and we all do) asking God to forgive us cleans our slate with regard to those too. There's an added bonus to being forgiven as well—we can use the details of our pasts and how God has forgiven us for God's glory.
When I first started having anxiety and panic attacks 25 years ago, I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn't understand it at the time, but God was using anxiety to turn my wandering heart back to Him. A number of years later, I started telling people about my anxiety and how my struggles drew me back into a right relationship with God. I was completely surprised by the responses I received. Sharing about this painful and difficult season served to open the door for me to talk about Jesus, God's sovereignty and the importance of being in God’s Word with many people. That being the case, I am now intentional about looking for opportunities where openly talking about my struggles, sinful choices, mistakes and painful experiences can be used to present Christ or encourage someone in their walk with Christ.
So what's your history? What experiences from your past can you use, both good and bad, to connect with people and tell them about Jesus and/or encourage them as they walk with God? Would you pray with me in asking God to prompt us to be intentional about using our past to help and reach out to those around us? Tami
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