Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Dealing With Our Past

PSALM 25:6-7 – Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!

THEME OF THE DAY. DEALING WITH OUR PAST. There is a lot racing through the mind of the Psalmist in today’s scripture. First, he is thinking on his God. Next, he is praying to his God. He is also battling the inward conflict of his past with all its sins and transgressions. Yes, he is going through intense spiritual warfare that is seeking to spiritually paralyze his life by being fixed on a not so good past. And really what we are looking at is not just the struggle in the Psalmist, but the daily realities in the life of every Christian. This struggle is dealing with our past sins.

So in the intense battle in our minds that wants us to focus on our past failings and not God’s amazing grace, how can we consistently win and not live in the remorse of a sinful past? The Psalmist offers the most effective way to deal with our past. But before we identify it, let’s consider what he doesn’t do. First, he doesn’t appeal to God based on his performance. He isn’t quick to say, “Lord, I am sorry for my past sins and transgressions. I promise to try better, work harder.” No, he won’t appeal to his spiritual performance and resolve to be a “better” Christian. Another thing he doesn’t do is go light on his failures before God. He doesn’t simply acknowledge them but details them with the words “sins” and “transgressions.” He is transparently admitting to God that all his past life has been marked by falling short of God’s glory (sins) and violating God’s law (transgressions). But let’s shift to what he does do to break the chains of living in an unalterable past with its many failures.

The Psalmist makes his appeal to God in prayer. I know that is obvious, yet, the obvious in the Christian life often becomes the neglected. Prayer is so vital in our walks with the Lord. Without, the heart grows cold and in today’s case, it is a key element in successfully gaining victory over our past failings.

Another thing modeled for us in dealing with our past by the Psalmist is the direction his prayer takes It is based on His character. His petition in prayer is brief, but specific, and bathed with what he needs most – God’s mercy, steadfast love, and goodness. And this is always the place to go when our conscience and the accuser of our souls is raking us across the “spiritual coals” with guilt and condemnation. When we “remind” God of His mercy, steadfast love, and gentleness, we are asking Him to not deal with us as we deserve, but out of the abundance of His Person which is full of mercy, steadfast love and gentleness. In doing so, we take our eyes off ourselves and sin and put them on Jesus who has dealt with our sin – past, present, and future by His acts of His mercy, steadfast love, and goodness in His Gospel.

So, are we fighting off the fiery darts of the evil one, who wants to remind us then condemn us for our past sins and transgressions, as the Psalmist did? His weaponry was to appeal to God through prayer and in the appealing prayer, remind Himself of God’s character. In doing so, the God of steadfast love, mercy, and goodness will always respond to us out of the abundance of who He is – the God of love, mercy, and goodness.

PRAYER: “Father, help me to always keep my eyes on Your unchanging character.”

QUOTE: “Focusing on God’s character and not our past spiritual failures is the path to joy.”