Why do we look to our past to define us? All of us have "stuff". And the only life we have lived is in our past. So it cannot help but be a part of who we are. There is no denying that. However, sometimes we cling to the past and let the past define who we are today to the extent that it strips us of our joy or stops us from moving forward and looking at the Future Christ offers to us.
Many "believers" struggle with this. It is a message for all of us.
But, as Louie said on Sunday,
"Whatever is in your past does not have dictatorial power over your future"
"the past is strong", "we don't hear truth"
"Jesus is more powerful than your past"
He called on us to "set our minds and hearts on things above"
sometimes consequences of our past remind us of our mistakes so it is hard to let go of the past.
He challenged us to not cling to the past and let it dictate our future, but instead to be "pulled into the future"--pulling us forward.
He also challenged us to change our "diet" and "excercise" program of our faith if we really want the change.
"Old paths don't lead to new outcomes. Some may need a funeral for things in the past."
All of this was based on these verses in Colossians. It was just so impactful to me on so many levels.
He spoke about Colossians 3:1-15
(I know this is long, but it is so rich--I have to share it)
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I don't think I'm capable of interpreting scripture. But, I do hear "hope" in these verses. I also hear a challenge---I need to "put to death" things that make me focus on "earthly" things and set my heart and mind on "things above". This is such a humbling challenge. When "earthly" things are sitting right before my eyes and the "things above" are hard to see, I struggle.
This train of thought will be continued with something Peter wants to share that happened last night while I was gone to work (6/6)....stay tuned...
As a side note, this Sunday was the first Sunday of our kids program at the church building we moved into. A friend of Isaac's was taking pics of the kids and took this pic of Lucas ..