Your Past Doesn’t Define You

Galatians 1:21-24

21 Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. 23 But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God in me.

Paul’s background was tough.  Before encountering Christ, he did everything in his power to see the church stamped out in its infancy.  Imagine the shockwave that rippled through the various local church bodies when they heard that he had gone from imprisoning and overseeing the murder of Christians to preaching Christ crucified.  Was it true? Was it a ploy?

People soon learned that in fact it was true, and they glorified God.  God gets great glory from unlikely developments. Any one of us could look at our own history and disqualify ourselves from being used for God’s glory.  Sadly, many people do just that. Interestingly, God doesn’t do that. He doesn’t see your history the way that you might, with guilt, shame, or inadequacy attached.  He sees your history in the light of Jesus. He sees an opportunity to redeem something for His glory.  

Religious thinking will remind us of our worst and tell us that we are disqualified.  That thing you did in college? The decision you made about that pregnancy? That marriage you wrecked?  The list could be endless. Religion reminds us of our past and brings shame. But that’s not what grace does.  Grace declares that Jesus qualifies us through His finished work! And when we allow ourselves to be brave enough to accept and live in God’s abundant grace, He gets all the glory.  

Fit yourself into Paul’s description today.  “(Your name) who formerly (your story) now preaches the grace of God.”  You don’t have to preach from a stage.  You “preach” every day that you brave grace by holding your head up and walking out God’s purpose.  When you represent the grace that Jesus died to give you, God is glorified. Don’t hold back. Your past doesn’t define you.  

Day 5

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