In the days before she knew Christ, she was broken. She felt abandoned by her father. She never felt good enough for her step father. She had a great mom, who was overworked and under appreciated. She attended schools where she was the perpetual “new girl” because they moved a lot. And, even when she settled in, she was always different than the rest of the kids. She would withdraw herself into the background, hoping to go unnoticed.
By the time she would graduate high school, she would find her self settled into rebellious ways. She wanted to stand out, and if she couldn’t be recognized for her accomplishments and her good deeds…. she would take another approach. The way she dressed, talked, walked all would tell another tale. A story of a confident, wild child. An illusion of someone who didn’t care. A mask that hid her insecurity and her depression. She would find her self bar hopping and bed hopping. Looking for acceptance, love and appreciation any place she could find it.
Do you know her, this girl? I bet you do.
She was that girl from high school, who went off to college and went “crazy”. She was that girl who shocked everyone when she got pregnant in the 11th grade. She was the girl who dropped out of school to become a stripper. She was the friend you thought you knew everything about, until she attempted suicide. She was your sister, who suddenly got wrapped up in drugs and ran away. She’s the girl that so many people will often ask “what ever happened to that girl….”.
You may know her. You may be her.
Then, by the grace of God, she met Jesus. It may have been in rehab or even that stint she did in the local prison. It might have been on that cold floor, with her tear stained battered face. It may have been through that person who approached her on the street corner & told her there was another life for her than this. The neighbor or roommate, who steadily went to church and simply extended an invite. It could have happened at the funeral, when she was burying her best friend who died of a drug overdose. He could have found her lying on her bed, needle dangling from her arm… and he whispered “I am not done with you yet” and breathed new life into her.
She met Jesus. Her life, your life, changed.
With the deepest of sincerity, she appreciates and acknowledges what God has done in her life. She is a new woman. Married. Children. House. Dog. Cat. Fish. She shares her testimony with the youth, the women, and possibly even during a service every now and again.
People look to her with awe. They see the scars and wounds that have healed, ever present reminders of what she went through & where Jesus has brought her from.
And in her thankfulness, she strives to pay God back for his mercy and compassion and grace. She volunteers for every committee. Her tithing is above and beyond. She leads the church study, leads a recovery group, disciples troubled kids in the church, she goes on missions trips, she dresses modestly, passes out hygiene kits to the homeless and witnesses to those who are lingering on the street corners. She funnels Christ into everything she does, trying to prove to Him that she was worth saving.
All the while, she holds onto that past, which motivates her to keep doing good, trying to use all of these good deeds to erase the sins of her past.
To you who read this, nodding your head with understanding….
You can not buy your salvation, or ever pay God back for your salvation. It was a gift. For you. Not to shackle you to the memories of your past, but to set you free into a future of great hope and joy.
Satan wants you to hold onto your past. He wants you to believe that some sins can’t be forgiven or at least forgiven easily. He wants you to believe you have to earn your salvation; because he knows that when you make a mistake you will feel like a failure. Whenever we hold on so tightly to our past, we are sinning. We are showing God a lack of trust in His word and a lack of faith in His promises.
You are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You have been washed clean. (1 John 1:7)
You have been adopted in to His family. (Ephesians 1:5)
You are loved. (Romans 5:8)
In John 8:1-11 a woman stood accused. Jesus said to the crowd that if any of them were free of sin, they could cast the first stone. No stones were thrown, the crowd dispersed. Jesus said to her “Go, and sin no more”. That was it. He didn’t leave her with a debt that needed to be paid.
Because Jesus himself will pay her debt, paid your debt… my debt.
In Isaiah 43:25 we read that our sins are blotted out. Blotted out is different from erased. Erased would imply that it was gone, entirely, disappeared. Blotted out means that the transgression was marked through, illegible. This meant an acknowledgment that the sin existed, but it is no longer counted against you. We should never come to a place where we believe we are NOT sinners. We all are. The Word tells us that ALL will fall short of the glory of God. But, we know that through the blood of Jesus Christ… those sins are blotted out. They are no longer held against us. There is nothing we need to pay back. The debt is paid. It was paid on the cross…. once and for ALL.
It’s time to let go of the past that shackles you and embrace real freedom. Stop allowing Satan to steel your freedom through the lies of doubt. Take down the wall you are building between yourself and God, when you hold on to those sins you think are unforgivable. Stop wasting time and energy trying to buy your salvation or pay God back for your debt. Find confidence in the fact that the debt is paid, you are free…. and in that freedom God will take you to places you could never imagine.