Freedom From Your Past
Duane Vander Klok
Many people go through life like they are driving down the highway looking in the rear view mirror. They are so focused on what is behind them that they end up crashing. Because they haven’t dealt with past hurts, disappointments or sins, they often end up hurting others as well as themselves.
Fortunately, God doesn’t just send out a tow truck to haul you in for repairs when your life seems like a wreck. Instead, He has made a way to set you so totally free from your past that, no matter what has happened, you can live a life of peace and joy while fulfilling His plans and purposes.
Perhaps you have felt like you will never be able to get free from your past. If so, you need to be reminded that God delights in doing things that no one else can do! Here is the truth: “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
Can a heavy iron object float? It’s impossible…or is it?
The prophet Elisha was working on a building project with others when a problem developed. 2 Kings 6:5-7 gives us this account: “As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water. ‘Oh, my lord,’ he cried out, ‘it was borrowed!’ The man of God asked, ‘Where did it fall?’ When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. ‘Lift it out,’ he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.”
Notice that when Elisha heard what happened, he didn’t despair and say, “Too bad. There’s nothing anyone can do.” Instead, he cut a stick and threw it into the water. It may have appeared foolish to everyone around him, but it was actually a demonstration of God’s wisdom.
1 Corinthians 1:25 tells us: “The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” The stick Elisha threw in the water was an ordinary stick with no supernatural power. However, spiritually, it was a representation of the cross, and whenever a situation is taken to the cross, the impossible becomes possible!
When the children of Egypt were in the desert at Marah, which means “bitter,” the only drinking water available was poisonous. This was not a problem for God. He told Moses to cut down a tree and throw it into the water. As he did, the water was made sweet and drinkable. Here again, the tree was a type of the cross, and it illustrates that when bitterness is taken to the cross, things get better!
The same principle will work in your life. When you apply to your past what Jesus accomplished on the cross, freedom is possible!
God Will Heal You
People generally act the way they do because of things that have happened to them in the past. If you were hurt in a bad marriage, you may feel like you’ll never trust again. Maybe you were verbally abused and were told, “You’re so dumb. You’ll never amount to anything!” And now you find yourself treating your children the same way. Or maybe you were abused, and now you hold people at a distance so they can’t hurt you.
Has someone, somewhere in the past rejected you in such a way that it still hurts when you think about it? Do you bristle at the mention of a particular person’s name? Have you worked hard not to turn out like your parents? Were you abused or molested as a child? Were you promised things by people who didn’t fulfill those promises? These are just a few of the types of hurts that, if not dealt with, can still affect your life today.
Sometimes it is not what someone else has done to us that causes us trouble, but what we have done to ourselves. Perhaps you made the mistake of allowing drugs, alcohol, lust, overeating, or some other sin into your life. Maybe you’ve tried but haven’t been able to get free.
The devil will keep coming back at your weakest points until you deal with the real issue of your past. If that issue is disobedience to God, take it to the cross so God can heal you and set you free from the past.
No matter what has plagued you through the years, God will make it right when you take it to the cross. He will heal you and take away the shame of what happened, but that’s not all. Isaiah 61:7 tells us, “Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.”
How to Get Free
To walk in freedom from your past, start by identifying where the problem began. For the man with the lost ax head, it was locating the spot in the river where it fell in. For you, it might be the place where you were abused, rejected or abandoned.
It may have been when your spouse was unfaithful or when someone lied about you. Maybe it was when you began drinking or taking drugs. Whenever it occurred, if you have been dragging bitterness around like a ball and chain, it is time to deal with the place where the bitterness came in.
You won’t have to look far to recognize what needs to be dealt with. Any pain you carry today that feels as real as it did the day it happened needs to be taken to the cross.
Wherever that place is, confess any sin on your part to the Lord. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” If you were at fault, even a little, confess it as sin, asking God to forgive you and deliver you.
You Hold the Key
The devil wants to keep you dragging around a ball and chain of unresolved issues, but God has given you the key of forgiveness. Freedom comes when you forgive those who have sinned against you and when you receive God’s forgiveness for any sin you’ve committed.
Remember, after the stick had been thrown into the water and the ax head had begun to float, Elisha told the young man to pick it up. God could have made it come up out of the water and land directly on its handle, but He didn’t. Instead, God did the supernatural part, and the young man was responsible for the natural part.
God has, once and for all, thrown the stick into the water for you through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. He’s done His part, and now you hold the key that unlocks the freedom He purchased for you.
Take Time to Pray Now
Whether your past was filled with pain and suffering or there were just one or two issues that wounded you, God wants you to be free. Here are some steps that will help you:
1. Locate where your past holds you captive.
2. Choose to forgive those who have hurt you.
3. Confess any sin on your part.
4. Repent (determine to turn away from sin).
5. Receive God’s forgiveness.
If you are unsure about what from your past needs to be dealt with, ask God. You can pray something as simple as “Will you please show me if there is something in my past that you want to free me from?” Because you are His child, you can expect to hear His voice (see John 10:27).
Why not take time to pray right now? Go ahead and take your past to the cross, using God’s key of forgiveness to unlock that ball and chain. Because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you can leave your past at the cross. You can experience freedom from your past!
(Scriptures are from the New International Version of the Bible unless noted otherwise.)