One of the most predominant issues I see as a pastor when dealing with Christian brothers and sisters has to be regret. It is one thing to have lived through a terrible period in your life. Maybe it was drugs, alcohol, unfaithfulness, adultery, but, as the Scriptures state, we are made new in Christ!
The Psalmist wrote, “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”-(Psalm 51:2) I believe that Christ cleanses the dirtiest soul as if it were never stained to begin with. I have never been so dirty and then taken a shower and cleansed my body only to go back and dwell in my filthiness. So why do Christians do this?
Well, I believe Isaiah provided a good example of this subject. Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
The first thing we as Christians can learn from this is that our past does not define our future. However, I have sat and watched Christians get constantly reminded of their past. I believe that Satan lives in the past. He wants people to dwell on their past, so he will use every opportunity to throw it back in the believers face, to make them feel a state of regret.
This is why Isaiah says, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old…” Christ does not focus on your past; He only wants your attention to be on the things of the future. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9)
If you find yourself constantly feeling the pressure of your past, remember that the voice you are hearing is not of God reminding you of your past. And if there is any doubt to this, simply repent of any sin that may be dwelling within and get back on track. The apostle Paul clarifies this for Christians, saying, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) If you are born again, then your past is nowhere to be found, because Christ lives in you!
Satan lives in the past because he has no future! His future was already sealed by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ! The serpents head is crushed and all he can do is take as many people as he can with him on a downward spiral. In Isaiah 43:19 he says, “I am doing a new thing…” As a Christian, you have felt the brokenness of sin. You have felt the despair that leaves you crippled and kneeling before a Holy God. You have cried out such as David, “Create in me a clean heart!” And because Christ is faithful and righteous he has cleansed you from all iniquity, He has removed all shame, He has left you white as snow, without blemish. So then why do we dwell on the past?
The only answer to this simple question is that either we have unconfessed sin that needs to be brought before Christ for forgiveness, or we are allowing Satan to torture our minds with past regret. Look to Hebrews 8:12: “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Our wonderful, merciful Savior not only forgives sin that is confessed but, He forgets it, too!
Christian brothers and sisters, do not dwell upon the things of old. Do not allow the enemy to divide and conquer your mind and soul. You are a child of the one true God, one of His elect! He does not want nor expects you to dwell on past mistakes. He wants you to believe and live!
Micah 7:18: “Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever Because He delights in unchanging love.”
Who is this God we speak of? He is none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The Way, the Truth, and the Life! He came so that you can have life and have it more abundantly. He lived to provide the perfect sacrifice for the atonement of our sins so that we could have the keys to the kingdom of heaven! Our past does not define us, but our Savior does!