“And Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him (Stephen) to death,” Acts 8:1a.
I imagine Saul suffered intense guilt over his persecution of Christians and his part in the death of Stephen. However, instead of letting the past dictate the present and future, he allowed the forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ to drown painful memories and wash away guilt and shame. The Lord transformed this man and renamed him Paul.
God healed and renewed Paul for fresh purposes. He became the most remembered Proclaimer of the Lord Jesus Christ to ever live. You may carry profound burdens from the past, but Paul’s experience encourages. So, how can you and I recover from a past that seeks to delude and destroy our present and future? Consider these statements.
Assess your seasons of darkness. Be honest.
Ascertain God’s presence. You may not have noticed at the time but God showed himself, perhaps through a Bible verse or lesson, a friend, a teacher, a loved one, circumstances. “. . . And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” Matthew 28:20b.
Abandon doubt. It can erode faith if not handled with prayer.
Acknowledge the good God has brought. Your presence today shows God’s faithfulness of yesterday. “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,” 1 Corinthians 1:9.
Attest to God’s goodness by telling others. Yours is a story of God’s victory.
Accept God’s hope for the present and future. “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast . . .” Hebrews 6:19.
Finally, affirm another’s journey of faith. Christians are to live in community and we need each other. With whom will you share your story?
“Dear Lord, help me to recognize Your healing and renewing power. Wash over me, Lord Jesus. Thank you, Amen.”
Blessings of victory through Jesus! Prayer requests?
Throwing off Guilt, Jumping in Faith, PJ