BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
The life of a human being can be divided into two – pre-conversion life and post-conversion life. That is life before accepting Jesus as Saviour and Lord and life after salvation. All born again persons were formerly sinners by birth and sinners by the way they chose to live their lives. Crossing over to a new life in Christ Jesus is a personal decision which takes place at various times in people’s lives.
There are three ways of living: living according to the will of God, living according to evil desires and living according to human desires. Human desires can also be influenced by the devil in some people so human desires and evil desires can amount to the same thing.
Furthermore, there are two kinds of the will of God: the will of God for everybody and the will God for each person. A Christian should not just live within the universal will of God but move on to find out and live out the specific will of God for him as an individual. Whereas the will of God for everybody is clearly stated in the Bible, His will for each person is not specifically stated. Each person will have to find out for himself what the will of God for him is.
Jesus was so committed to doing the will of God that he said his food was to do the will of Him that sent him and to accomplish His work (John 4: 34). He also said he sought not his own will but the will of the Father who has sent him (John 5:30).
The Bible also says of David that he served the will of God in his generation (Acts 13:36). Moreover, reading the New Testament, one discovers that the early church gave high priority to doing the will of God (Acts 21:12-14; 1Peter 4:1-2; Eph 5:17; Heb 10:36; Col 4:12).
After someone gets born again, he needs to forget the past that he lived according to evil desires and/or according to human desires and begin to live the rest of his life to fulfill the will of God. He must forget the past and press forward (2 Cor 5:17; Phil 3:13-14).
You can’t do anything to erase what you did in your past; the sins you committed, the mistakes you made, among others. God knew you were going to do all those things and had already made provision to take care of their consequences in your life in Christ Jesus. You don’t need to continue to regret or lament over them.
None of those things can stop the purpose of God for your life if you’ll forget them and live the rest of your life to discover and fulfill God’s purpose for you. If you do this, when you tell people the story of your life, it may be difficult for many who’re unaware of your past to believe the negative story of your past.
God has blessed us all with three phases of life: yesterday, today and tomorrow or past, present and future. No matter your yesterday (past), if you’ll do the right things today (present), your tomorrow (future) will be the best part of your life. God will do something beautiful in your future that will wipe away the memory of the ugly things the devil did in your past.
Some examples of how people lived the rest of their lives
Some examples of how people lived the rest of their lives
i.Rahab. Her past was that she was a harlot but she became an ancestress of Jesus Christ. Her past did not hinder the fulfillment of God’s plan for her life because she made a turnaround (Josh 2:1-3, 6:17-25).
ii. Ruth. She had a background of idolatry – a Moabite. She was a widow but the Lord settled her (Ruth 4:13), and a foreigner became an ancestress of Jesus Christ (Matt 1:5). Her widowhood did not stop her neither did her background of idolatry. Your own negative background, history and experiences cannot.
iii. Mary Magdalene. She had a demonic past. Jesus cast out of her seven demons but she served Jesus the rest of her life (Luke 8:2-3). It is significant that she was the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection. “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” (Mark 16:9 NKJV).
You don’t have to feel useless because some demons were cast out of you. Even if the demons cast out of you were legion, God can still use you. The man Jesus cast out legion-demons from, the mad man of the country of the Gadarenes became an evangelist! He went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him (Luke 8:38-39).Your past can’t stop the fulfillment of God’s purpose for your life.
iv. Paul. He had a murderous past. He was a persecutor, a man of violence and blood. Nevertheless, he became a mighty apostle (1Tim 1:13-16). He was a major force in the spread of the gospel in the early church. He testified that though he wasn’t qualified, grace made him all he became (1 Cor 15:10). He wrote the largest part of the New Testament books though he was not one of Jesus’ twelve disciples.
v. King Manasseh of Judah. He was king of Judah for 55 years; he reigned longer than any other Israelite king. However, he also did evil more than any king of Judah! Instead of following the footsteps of his father, Hezekiah, who was a good king, Manasseh followed the example of his evil grandfather, Ahaz, a man who reigned for 16 years, and when he died, he was buried without honour – he wasn’t buried in the tombs of the Kings of Israel (2 Chron 28:27).
Manasseh’s evil far surpassed that of his grandfather. However, he repented, and the Lord gave him a second chance, which he used very well. He served God in the rest of his reign on the throne after his reinstatement (2Chron 33:1-20).
This list is not exhaustive but the important thing to note is that God overlooks our past whenever we come to Him in true repentance. The times of ignorance God has overlooked but now calls everyone unto repentance (Acts 17:30).
How to live the rest of your life
Let me share with you briefly how to live the rest of your life notwithstanding where you’ve been and what you’ve done with your pre-conversion life or with your life up till now. I want to share with you what constitute the will of God for you if you’ve given your life to Jesus and you’ve settled down in a church as a member (If you are not yet born again, your first duty is to give your life to Jesus). Live the rest of your life doing these things.
1.Obey the Word of God. Be a doer of the Word of God not a hearer or reader alone (James 1:22). The blessing is for the doer, not the hearer or reader! If you’re not yet born again, the beginning of obeying the Word of God is for you to give your life to Jesus. “For whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom 10:13 NKJV).
2. Live a sanctified life. Live a sanctified life i-e be separated from sin and embrace righteousness – live a holy and upright life. Sanctification is the will of God for you (1Thess 4: 3-7).
3. Obey your superiors and constituted authority. God is the God of order. He ordains structures for order at home, the work place, the community, the nation, etc. Obedience to your superiors and constituted authority is the will of God (Eph 6:5-6).
According to 1 Peter 2:13-14, Christians are to submit themselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who’re sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. Verse 15 says, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (NKJV).
Sometimes, obeying your superiors and constituted authority is not always enjoyable but the Bible says it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is the will of God, than to suffer for doing wrong (1 Peter 3:17). Obedience to the Word of God is more important than your comfort. “So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you” (1 Peter 4:19 NLT).
4. Win souls and disciple them for Jesus. Prov 11:30b says, “He who wins souls is wise” (NKJV). The New Living Translation says those who save lives are wise. This scripture is also true of sinners’ salvation. Their salvation is the will of God. Winning souls and making disciples of converts is wise, and is the will of God. Jesus stated this in John 6:39-40 with regard to his assignment on earth.
If you’re saved; you should also seek the salvation of others (Mark 16:15-16).You’ve been reconciled to God and given the ministry of reconciling others so that they can make the most of the rest of their lives (2 Cor 5:18).
5. Find out your place in your church and in the body of Christ and fulfill it. There is no Christian God has not given grace, spiritual gifts, talents and abilities. Find out yours and use them to the glory of God. God’s plan is not that anyone will be idle in church or in the body of Christ. He has given everyone different gifts to use (Rom 12:5-8).
Your gifts are not really for your selfish enjoyment but to bless others. “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” (1 Cor 12:7 NKJV). 1Peter 4:10 says, “God has given each of you special abilities, be sure to use them to help each other, passing to others God’s many kinds of blessings” (The Living Bible).
6. Discover God’s purpose for your life and pursue it. This is your divine destiny. Find out what it is and devote yourself to fulfill it, avoiding distractions. Jesus’ purpose was to die on the cross to save mankind and he fulfilled that purpose (John 12:27). The purpose of John the Baptist was to be the forerunner of Jesus Christ and to herald his coming, and he did just that (Matt 3:1-3; John 3:28).
7. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in everything. Spend the rest of your life to rejoice always – don’t let circumstances determine your mood. Count it all joy when you fall into various trials (James 1:2). The joy of the LORD is your strength (Neh 8:10).
You must also cultivate the discipline of prayer. In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus told a parable to illustrate that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. Similarly, Paul said we should never give up praying (1 Thess 5:17). Whenever you pray, never forget to thank God. “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Col 4:2 NKJV).
Thanksgiving is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thess 5:18). Give Him thanks always (Ps 100; Ps 95:2-3). There are so many Bible passages on thanksgiving especially in the book of psalms. Learn to give thanks to God for all He has done for you.
Benefits of living the rest of your life according to the will of God
It is important for you to live the rest of your lives according to the will of God, not according to the dictate of the devil or fleshly desire. What are the benefits of living the rest of your life according to the will of God?
a. You’ll enter the Kingdom of God i-e eternal life. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven,” Jesus said (Matt 7:21). According to 1 John 2:17, the world is passing away, and the lust of it but he who does the will of God abides forever.
b. You’ll become a part of the family of Christ. Jesus said, “For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother” (Mark 3:35 NKJV).
c. Willingness to do the will of God will give you knowledge of His teachings. Jesus said in John 7:17, “Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own” (NLT).
d. You’ll receive answers to your prayers. Matt 7:7-8 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (NKJV). The prayer of a sinner is an abomination unto the LORD. “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is His delight” (Prov 15:8 NKJV). God’s ears are open to hear and answer the prayers of saints. His will is to answer your prayers. “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him” (John 9:31 NKJV).
e. You’ll enjoy God’s blessing. James 1:25 says if you keep looking steadily into God’s perfect law — the law that sets you free — and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. There is divine blessing for if you live the rest of your life according to the will of God.
f. You’ll be immovable. If you live the rest of your life after the will of God, you’ll enjoy stability in life; you will be solid and established. Jesus said, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock” (Matt 7:24-25 NKJV). The converse is also true for those who hear the Word of God but don’t do them; they shall experience a great fall! (vv. 26-27)
g. You’ll receive fulfillment of God’s promises for your life. “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45 NKJV). If you live the rest of your life according to the will of God, His promises shall come to pass in your life. Matt 24:35 says heaven and earth shall pass away, but God’s words shall not pass away. That means your hope shall not be dashed. “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Heb 10:36 NKJV).
Conclusion: Your past is already used up and standing before you to use is the rest of your life. How will you use it? If you’re born again, devote the rest of your life to do the will of God. In case you’re a backslider, return to the LORD today and serve the will of God the rest of your life.
If you’re not yet born again, will you use the rest of your life the way you used the past and you’re using the present, or will you open a new chapter of your life by giving your life to Jesus and start a brand new life? He that is in Christ is a new creature, old things are passed away behold all things have become new (2Cor 5:17). If you will take that decision to give your life to Jesus, I invite you to pray this prayer:
O God, I have read your Word and I have decided to give my life to Jesus. I know that I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came and died to save me. I repent of my sins and now ask you to cleanse me with the blood of Jesus Christ shed for my salvation. I confess Jesus as my LORD and SAVIOUR. God, I want to be your child that you may be my Father in Heaven. Make me a new person today. I believe I am now born again in line with the Word of God. Thank you for saving me and giving me a new life in Jesus Christ. (AMEN)
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. You will need to join a Bible believing church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus.
There is nothing about your past that should intimidate you or frustrate you. Your tomorrow is more important than your yesterday. And God is on your side to make it a glorious one. The rest of your life can be the best of your life! You will grow up into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be in Jesus’ name.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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