Many of us feel trapped by our past. We repeat our past mistakes. Relive our past regrets. Live in bondage from unforgiveness caused by our past wounds. Bitterness comes from past hurts. Overcoming the past seems out of the question.
We believe who we once were is who we are and who we will always be. We are often at effect from our upbringing, never pausing to examine if our beliefs and habits are our own or handed down from our families or the culture we were raised in.
Your past does not define you. Overcoming your past does.
Isaiah 43:18 NIV declares: Do not dwell on the past.
We all can be free from our past. God is in the business of making the darkness of your past into the Gold of your future. Freedom from your past, and overcoming it, is found in understanding 3 key truths.
Overcoming Your Past
1) The Power of God is stronger than your past.
By His Grace and Wisdom, you can learn from your past. Do you believe that? Do you believe that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and placed Him at the right Hand of God far above all rule and authority and every name that is named in this age and the one to come is alive and at work in your life? Ephesians 1:19-21. That means that no matter what you have done in your past, if you are a follower of Jesus, there is nothing that the power at work within you cannot overcome.
2) You have the power to decide to declare your future.
We all face struggles and temptations every day. Our past can exert a strong influence on us. We believe our very identity comes from it. If we are to be free from it, we must find our identity from somewhere else: In Luke 4:18, Jesus has returned to his hometown. The people He grew up with have a view of Him that is not in line with the identity of Messiah that God has just spoken over him. Likewise, you were one way in your past but because of your salvation, God has spoken a new destiny over you, and the people who knew you before will still simply see you as the way you were. If you look to you peers for your identity, you will never have anything solid to stand on. To where will we turn for our identity?
We must turn to same place Jesus himself did the Word of God. Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for He has anointed to preach good news to the poor.” Jesus knew exactly who He was, where he was going and what He was called to do. His identity came from the Word of God. Can you say the same? Do you know who you are? Where do you find your identity? You must settle these things in your soul before you can truly be free.
3) Live it out.
I have heard it said that we do not raise above the level of our own beliefs. I have also heard it said that we are at the mercy of how we think things really are. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” We always try to change our behavior, without changing our core beliefs. Inevitably we revert to the level of our beliefs. But by transforming our beliefs in line with the truth of God, we are EMPOWERED from the inside out to live out the life He is calling us to live.
Once the foundation is laid, you will have the power to live from that solid place. Once you stand on the truth that Jesus truly is Lord and authority over everything you have ever faced or will ever face, those things lose their power over you. Think of this as “removing the bad.” We then own who we are in God as declared in His Word. Think of that as “adding the good” from that healed and whole place, our lives can change, freed from our past, and move forward in power.