DON’T LET YOUR PAST DEFINE YOUR FUTURE

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

MARCH 12, 2024

TOPIC: DON’T LET YOUR PAST DEFINE YOUR FUTURE

BY T. O. BANSO

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:12-15 New International Version).

Everybody has a past, and many are not proud of some things in their past. Jeremiah 31:19 says, I turned away from God, but then I was sorry. I kicked myself for my stupidity! I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days” (New Living Translation). There are things people wish never happened, decisions or choices they never made, and experiences they never had. Some people sometimes try to explain or justify their past to others. Sometimes, some people demand explanations from others about their past or use their past to describe them.

You don’t owe everybody explanations about your past; you owe very few people any explanation. If there is any need for explanation, you determine the details of your past you share with people depending on the levels of their relationships with you. Nevertheless, whatever happens, don’t allow anyone to make you feel guilty about your past or hold you captive to your past. You must also not continue to live in regret, tied to the past, and unable to move forward.

You know the truth already – I hope you do. You know where you failed; you know what you would do differently if you had another opportunity. Therefore, don’t let anyone use your past to undermine your future. Neither should you sabotage yourself by allowing the guilt about your past to hinder you from making better use of today that God has given you to shape your life for a better future.

Don’t live in denial of your past. Face your past but don’t get stuck in the past. Admit your past mistakes or sins, ask God for forgiveness, learn lessons from them, and move on with your life, guided by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Don’t let your past define you. Nothing that happened in your past can stop you from fulfilling the purpose of God for your life. Despite your past, you can still become who God has destined you to be, for God knows His thoughts toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

Don’t let what happened to you in the past make you live your life negatively, hopelessly, or recklessly. You may have made some wrong decisions or bad choices in the past, but you shouldn’t continue in the wrong direction. Change and make the right decisions so that you can arrive at the destination God has planned for you. If you decide to live differently from your regrettable past, your future will be positively different.

Someone could have been a drug addict, prostitute, fraudster, drunkard, or engaged in any other sinful and destructive lifestyle in the past or even up till now, but he doesn’t have to continue in this direction. He can repent today and decide to live a better life in obedience to the Word of God, thereby realizing a future different from the past or present.

Paul was an enemy of Christ and His followers. But when God encountered him on the way to Damascus, he was converted (Acts 9:1-9). He started defending the cause he had fought. Paul didn’t allow his past to define his future. He was a persecutor but became an apostle. His past would have defined his future negatively if he had not surrendered to Christ.

Hear what Paul said about himself: I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:12-15 New International Version).

Many people knew the past of Paul. Some could have tried to hold him captive to the past, but he didn’t allow that. When he was newly converted, he tried to associate with the believers in Jerusalem, but they were afraid of him because of his past. They did not believe he was a disciple. But Barnabas convinced them about his conversion (Acts 9:26-27).

Paul would talk about his past without feeling guilty or condemned. He didn’t deny his past, but he also didn’t allow it to stop him from doing what God had called him to do. God showed him mercy despite being the worst of sinners, as he said in 1 Timothy 1:15-16: Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life” (New International Version).

Paul didn’t allow his past to define his future after he surrendered his life to Jesus and became an apostle. He sacrificed all his valuable credentials, considering them worthless because of what Christ did; he discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage so that he could gain Christ (Philippians 3:7-8).

He said in Philippians 3:13-14, Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above” (New Century Version). Don’t cling to your past; learn from it and forget your past.

Forget about what happened in the past. Don’t let them stop you from experiencing the new things God wants to do in your future (Isaiah 43:18-19). No matter how much you have wallowed in sin, you can repent and receive God’s forgiveness. As Isaiah 1:18 says, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. You can, in partnership with God, birth a glorious future for yourself different from your sinful past. Your past doesn’t have to define your future.  

Don’t let your past define you. Mary Magdalene was demon-possessed before she met Christ. Jesus expelled seven demons from her (Luke 8:2). But Mary didn’t allow the stigma of that to discourage her from following Christ. She became His disciple. Her focus was not to explain her past to people but to join other women to provide financial support for Jesus and His disciples (Luke 8:3).

She witnessed the burial of Jesus (Matthew 27:60-61). When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and some women came to see the tomb of Jesus and anoint his body with spices (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1). She was the first disciple to know that something unusual had happened to the tomb of Jesus. (John 20:1-2). She was the first disciple Jesus appeared to. “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe” (Mark 16:9-11 New King James Version). Mary’s past as a demon-possessed woman didn’t stop her from developing a close relationship with Jesus. Her past didn’t define her future.

Despite Peter’s confidence, he denied Jesus three times (Luke 22:54-62). He wept bitterly and later went back to his former business of fishing. But that was not the end for Peter. Failure was not final. Jesus went after him and reinstated him into the ministry, committing to him the leadership of His disciples (John 21:1-19). That failure didn’t define Peter. He led the early church effectively and there was no record that he denied Jesus again. Peter is believed to have been crucified in Rome. He died for His Master.

Your negative past doesn’t have to define your future either. There is nobody who has never failed, made mistakes, or sinned. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Whatever the negative events of the past, including your mistakes and sins, tell God about them. Confess and forsake them. God can redeem your past and make your destiny become a reality, for in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28a). If you follow Jesus, God will restore the years that the swarming locust has eaten (Joel 2:25).

Jeremiah 31:17a says there is hope in your future. Don’t let anyone undermine or cancel your future because of your past. God has not given up on you.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself, and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS:  Father, thank You for Your good thoughts towards me and the good future You have for me. My negative past shall not define my future. I shall realize my future in God in Jesus’ name.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947
Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
cedarministryng@gmail.com
Website: www.cedarministry.org

BE OUR FINANCIAL PARTNER 
Account Name: Cedar Ministry International
Bank: Heritage Bank Plc.
Naira Account: 6001608129
US Dollar Account: 2100077073