Many people go through life like they are driving down the highway looking in their rear view mirrors. They’re so focused on what’s behind them that they end up crashing. Because they haven’t dealt with the hurts, disappointments, and sins of the past, they often end up wounding 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 all His plans and purposes.
Whether your past was completely filled with pain and suffering or there were just one or two issues that wounded you, God wants you to be free from your past.
Freedom is Possible
If you’ve felt that freedom from your past is unattainable, remember that God delights in doing difficult things. Luke 1:37 (NIV) tells us, “Nothing is impossible with God,” and the Bible is full of examples of things that were impossible without God, but totally possible with Him.
Have you ever seen iron float? It’s impossible…or is it?
The prophet Elisha was with a group of men who were cutting down trees for a building when a problem developed. 2 Kings 6:5 (NIV) says, “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 of the problem, he didn’t despair and say, “This is hopeless!” 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. You see, according to 1 Cor. 1:25, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
The stick that Elisha threw in the water was just a plain ordinary stick with no supernatural power. But, 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 Mara, 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 shows that when bitterness is taken to the cross, things get better!
So it is for us. When we apply the finished work of the cross to our past, freedom is possible!
God Will Heal You
People generally act the way they do because of the 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 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 how you live your life today.
Sometimes it’s not what someone else did to us that caused 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, take away the shame of what happened, and give you back double the honor and double the joy. Isaiah 61:7 tells us, “Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion you shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall 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 the spot in the river where it fell in. For you, it might be the place where you were lied about, rejected or abandoned.
You may need to go back to where your spouse was unfaithful or where someone lied about you. Maybe you need to go back to where you began drinking or taking drugs. If you’ve been dragging bitterness around like a ball and chain, it’s time to go back and 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 that is as real and vivid today as it was 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 1:9-10 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse 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 His supernatural part, and the young man took responsibility to do his 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
God’s plan has always been that your end will be better than your beginning (Isaiah 61:7). Here are some steps that will help you walk in freedom:
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.
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!
About Duane Vander Klok
Duane Vander Klok, Ph.D., and his wife, Jeanie, are passionate about seeing people come into relationship with Jesus Christ and helping believers grow in their love and dedication to the Lord. They live to win people to the Lord and disciple them in the things of God. Pastor Duane is the Lead Pastor at Resurrection Life Church in Grandville, Michigan. He also hosts the Walking By Faith television program and travels in the United States, Latin America, and abroad sharing the Gospel and encouraging the body of Christ.
For more information on Resurrection Life Church in Grandville, Michigan click here.
For more the Walking by Faith Television Program click here.
Devotional Used with Permission