When I consider my sinful past, I review a dead man’s life.1
It’s sifting through the ashes of a burned body, really. I see the molecules rise up and re-form. This isn’t like the mighty army in Ezekiel’s Valley of Dry Bones.2 Rather, the smoke that appears is from past fears, demons and oppressions that threaten to haunt me when I forget who I am:
Delivered. Redeemed. Sanctified. An adopted child of God.3
How can I be threatened by this pile of ash? Even if it were to rise up into a specter of death, the wind would blow it away.
My declaration is, in truth it has to be that the past is of no effect. My past didn’t get me to where I am today. It’s God’s breath on that dead past that brought it to life.4 His redemption of my past makes me who I am today. Only that.
I am who God says I am, and that is much, much more than the sum of my parts.
When I veer from the Lord’s narrow path 5 it’s not an expression of identity. It’s my momentary captivity to a lie, to the enemy’s misdirection. Sometimes, the devil’s siren song lures me toward the rocks of self-destruction. I dashed my fragile craft there so often for so many years.
But after salvation, those dangerous shoals are only momentary. I always launch again, navigating for far deeper waters, where God the Father leads me.
Sailors don’t use a map to navigate; they use a chart. A map shows the lie of the land, as it were: only the surface. A chart takes a deeper look, below the surface. And, it adds in experience from lives lived there.
As I sail in God’s deeper waters, I have confidence they are not uncharted. Through every storm, along every rocky shore, Christ has gone before, and sailed out again. And many saints have followed, leaving a trail for me.
Their banners fly high in the breeze.
1. Romans 8:10-11 – “And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit that lives in you.”
2. Ezekiel 37:7-10
3. 1 John 3:1 – “Consider how much love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.”
4. Genesis 2:7 – “Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man because a living being.”
5. Matthew 7:13-14 – “Enter at the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who are going through it, because small is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
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