Spiritually Speaking: Who You Were Makes You Who You Are

James A. Washington

A beautiful thing about being a Christian is understanding that wherever you go, your past goes with you. You are what you’ve done as much as what you’ve done is seared into your being. It’s all part of recognition, confession and acceptance of the sinner in you. Then and only then can we understand the reality of “God so loved the world that He…,” well, John 3:16 then becomes our personal truth. Once this occurs and we attempt to live out our faith as a matter of course, salvation and its reality to us become plausible, even in the face of acts you’re not particularly proud of. That, I believe, requires an understanding that whatever you’ve been through, whatever you’ve done or, had done to you is an integral part of God’s plan to bring the most and best out of you.

A real man or woman of faith has been through stuff that neither he nor she is particularly proud of. Honest Christians will share their faith with you from this perspective. It’s called testimony. Their truth is based on knowing that God has been faithful to them in spite of the hell they raised and the heaven they ran from. I know this from experience and not rhetoric. My testimony includes having a first-class ticket to hell with a welcoming committee and band prepared for my arrival. Then as most of us who finally get it, through God’s mercy and grace, I came to know…” If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all righteousness.” John 1:19. At first, I wouldn’t, I couldn’t accept this. I couldn’t believe anyone, let alone God, would see all of my flaws and faults and love me unconditionally anyway. Wrong! It’s because of those flaws and faults and yes, sins, that allowed me, forced me to ask God for forgiveness and know without a doubt that He would, even before I asked.

It’s not my job to bury my past for the sake of outward appearance. If I do that, then I can’t help someone else who is perhaps going through the same thing I did and can’t find peace or a roadmap to the truth. From one sinner to another, it’s now very simple for me. Trust and obey. Trust God’s love and obey His direction for you. It’s because of where He brought me from that gives you the spiritual insight to see, in part, where He’s leading you to. His belief in who I am is so much more than my belief in who I can be. There is a certain degree of freedom in being true to yourself and God. There is, or ought to be, great joy in understanding one’s past as a great prelude to a glorious future. It all begins with recognizing the ‘you’ in God’s rear-view mirror. It sounds simple enough but, as a Christian, you can’t get where you want to go until you swallow where you’ve been. God already has and Jesus was His antacid…”though your sins be scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land.” Isaiah 1:18-19.

May God bless and keep you always.

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