I wish to encourage you to use past failings for Christ.
More often than not, we simply want to put our sinful failings behind us and move on with life. While that’s a good attitude to have, we often fail to see the opportunities Christ gives us, where we can use lessons gained from our failings for His glory and the benefit of others.
Scripture is rich with people who, like us, were repeat sinners, through whom God graciously worked to accomplish His will and purpose. Like many, the apostle Paul had a wicked past. Yet in Christ, he could say, “one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). Paul accepted his cleansing through faith in Christ’s substitutional death. Consequently, he looked forward to exalting Christ in the realisation of his past being left behind. Therefore, Paul put his past out of his cognitive thinking, allowing him to stride ahead for Christ more fully focused.
The apostle Paul, following a list of sinful people who will not inherit the kingdom of God, reminds us that; “such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). Believers are sinners saved by grace, reborn, regenerated by the Holy Spirit. God cleansed us of past sin “by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). Praise God for His grace and faithfulness that brought you out of past sin; “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).
From failings you learn how you were led into temptation, and then seduced by sin. From that, you can form a strategy to prevent that particular stumbling reoccurring. “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).
Part of God’s sanctification for you, is to wisely use the lessons gained in the Christian walk to serve others, for their strengthening. Past failings equip you for rescuing those presently caught in the same sin. Paul puts it plainly; “if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). This is how you can assist other believers from being side tracked from an obedient walk with the Lord. It makes you an effective discipler of other’s on Jesus behalf, maintaining the testimony of believers for Christ. But more importantly, it serves to strengthen the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sin is a messy business! Hypocrisy damages the individual believer, discredits the Body of Christ, and dishonours the name of God. As those who are growing in our faith walk with Christ as Lord, we need to persevere in upskilling ourselves against the seductiveness of sin. Don’t allow yourself, or anyone else, to hold you down in the mud of discouragement with false guilt over past failings and sin that you have repented of.
Today, be encouraged to use past failings for Christ’s glory, for strengthening others, and as a tool to share the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz