I have been having these memories lately about my years as a young mother and even some from my childhood. They are random but somehow related and I am not exactly sure what I am supposed to do with them. They seem to be moments in time where the direction of my life changed significantly due to a decision I made. They say that the devil uses your past failures or sins to discourage you, to taunt you or cause you to be defeated. But I think the devil gets way to much credit for things that may be of God.
It is of my personal opinion that God may use our past to show us something about the current state of our heart. When God is ready to deal with an area in our life I believe He may start with a memory. The Holy Spirit may bring it to mind, showing it to our inward self much like a slide show. There may be no real trigger to the memory it may just be God’s timing. His time for us to sort through an experience or decision made that led to a turning in the road, a turning that changed our lives forever.
He does not condemn us but may want to teach us truth, truth about ourselves, our heart and its motives. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1) Yes, sometimes, there is pain involved or guilt perhaps because we did not face the truth back then. But for the most part there is freedom in looking at it and asking God, “What do I do with this?” Seeking His wisdom or healing in it.
While Paul speaks of forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to the prize of the high calling, I think there are times in our lives that God uses our past choices as lessons to transform and conform us into His image. David says to God, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;”(Psalm 139:23) He already knows everything we have said and done in our lives and the moment we become a child of God He begins to transform us. While our past sins are forgiven, often the past consequences continue to be evident in our lives, as well as the current blessings of a relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Every decision I made I made consciously but not always in wisdom. Much like a beginner chess player I did not look ahead at every possible move that could have put my ‘piece’ or my family in jeopardy. You know the choices we make in the past are never really at rest until we find God’s grace in them. I have struggled so much with choices I made for my children through-out the last ten years and at times the pain goes so deep. When I find His grace in it I am reminded that it isn’t about me at all, it is about what He does with our choices, good or bad, for His purpose.
Gods’ word says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) so we should not fear or be anxious about those past decisions. We should just believe that He will do what He says He will do. He will use “all things” to transform us into His image. How it all works I have not a clue, why there is pain involved I do not know but I do know that in trusting Him I find the grace and mercy of His peace.
The older I get the more I often wish I had known Him at a younger age. I wonder what my life would have been like had I known His ways before I chose my ways. I do know more now then when I first accepted Christ as my Savior that He is sovereign and even though He chose me before the foundation of the earth it was still up to me to choose Him. He gave me that free will. He gives it to me every single day, to choose His ways over mine. One of my favorite passages in God’s word is Romans 12:1-2 because I believe it is pivotal to what God wants to do in and through me.
“I beseech ye therefore brethren, to preset your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”
“O’ God, give me the wisdom and discernment to see the temptations before me, to apply the truth of your word before I choose so that my decisions glorify you, Amen.”