March 13, 2023

Parts of Our Past

Devotion for the Week...

I’ve always found it interesting that the apostle Paul never tried to hide his past. He had been a Pharisee, a member of a group that prided themselves on how well they followed God’s laws, and yet they were one of the groups Jesus criticized, going so far as to call them hypocrites and whitewashed tombs. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Paul was, by his own admission, ‘zealous’ in his efforts to track down anyone who believed in Him so they could be imprisoned or even killed. 
Instead of trying to cover it up, though, or to spin it so it sounded better, Paul fully owned the fact that he had once been far from God. He wasn’t proud of his past, but it did give him the opportunity to show the depth of God’s grace. In 1 Timothy 1:15-16 he wrote, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”
Essentially, Paul was saying, ‘If God can forgive me, He can forgive anyone.’
While we’re likely not out hunting down people so we can send them to prison for their beliefs, we all have parts of our past we’re not proud of and that we’d rather no one ever hears about. But what if those parts of our past are actually the parts God could use to show others they aren’t too bad for Him to forgive? 
What if God could  use our past to  show others they  aren’t too bad for  Him to forgive |
If we started sharing the stories that show how far we once were from God, then we, like Paul, could display God’s immense patience to those who haven’t yet believed in Him.

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