You love the Lord and want to serve Him with the gifts, strengths, and passion He has given you. But because of past failures, you believe the lie: “My past disqualifies me from opportunities to serve God.” But the truth is, the scars of your past often qualify you for God’s present purpose for your life!
As a child of God, one who has been redeemed by Jesus Christ, you have also been redeemed from your past. In fact, God’s word says, “You are a new creation in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) God has cleansed you from past sins and failures and has given you the Holy Spirit to empower you to live for His purposes now.
In God’s infinite wisdom and power, He doesn’t waste anything. He takes your past – the good and bad – and uses it all for His good purposes. God’s forgiveness of your sin and restoration of your life gives others hope for their own salvation in Jesus Christ. Your story helps validate the reality of His story!
The Apostle Paul, who considered himself ‘chief among sinners,’ says in 1Timothy 1: 12-14, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”
Paul, once proud and arrogant in his persecution of believers in Christ, was broken when confronted by Christ about his sin. Paul was in awe of this Jesus who could forgive him and restore him to Christ’s service. He goes on to say, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason, I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show His unlimited patience, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.”
I can relate to Paul’s claim of being chief among sinners. I, too, am awed by God’s mercy and grace, and the opportunities He gives me now to bring honor and glory to His name. God, in His wisdom, knows my failures and my weaknesses; but He also knows every person He will place in my path, who has similar failures and weaknesses, who needs to hear of Christ’s mercy, grace, and love, from the worst of sinners.
Receive God’s forgiveness, put your past behind you, and be prepared to show others the same compassion you’ve been shown. The opportunities will be numerous as you allow the Spirit to lead you. Experience the assurance that it is God who works in you both to desire and to do His good pleasure. He has called you, and qualified you, for His good works!
Carmen Pate is a Principal with Alliance-Ministries. Discover your place in God’s story at www.alliance-ministries.org