Overcoming Your Past

We all make mistakes. There isn’t one person who reached perfection and lives a life without sin except our Lord Jesus Christ. I remember confessing to the Lord that I made a lifetime of mistakes. So how can any of us judge each other’s sinful state when we have fallen so short ourselves? I have to remind myself that Romans 3:10-12, says, “As it is written, ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one”.

Since we have all missed the mark, there is still hope for our future if we repent and turn from our sins.  But the problem isn’t the Lord, the problem is us. We condemn ourselves because we feel like we deserve the punishment and are to inflict that punishment upon ourselves. We plague ourselves with questions like, “How could God ever use me again?”; “Who am I to help someone or minister goodness and purity?”; and “You don’t know what I have done or where I have been – I should only lay here and die.” However, the Lord never wanted us burdened with guilt, shame, nor condemnation. He wants us to repent, turn from our sin and leave our past behind!

John 10:10 reveals, “ The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” It’s the enemy who works to burden you so you feel unworthy or unqualified to push towards destiny. If he can take you down, then he has nothing to fear. But for someone who has been through hellish events, its you who can handle so much more than most! Therefore, the enemy doesn’t want to see us in the battle against him. He knows that we are dangerous because of our tested endurance.
The Lord came to give life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). What is abundant life? My personal definition of abundant life is having our Lord Jesus Christ as the center of our lives, and we know what we were created for and are operating in that calling. Just because we make mistakes doesn’t mean we are to walk away from the our calling.
I want you to learn about a man named Gehazi. In 2 Kings 5:1 Gehazi was the personal servant to Elisha. He served Elisha and was witness to all the miraculous works that God did through Elisha. It must have been an amazing sight to see. However, even though he saw the power of the Almighty, he was still tempted to go a different direction.

In 2 Kings 5:1-27, there was one particular miracle the Lord did through Elisha. Naaman was the commander of the army of the king of Aram – a highly respected man. But he had one major problem; he had leprosy. Naaman received prompting from a little servant girl to seek out Elisha. Naaman followed through with that prompting and was miraculously healed of leprosy. What a amazing miracle! And Gehazi had the Birdseye view of the entire event!

As you can expect, Naaman was so elated that he offered gifts to Elisha. But Elisha refused. In 2 Kings 5:18, Naaman confesses to Elisha that he worshiped other gods. He repented and asked for forgiveness for his sins. Elisha did not judge him but offered forgiveness and a release form his past ( 2 King 5:19).
Unfortunately, Gehazi decided Naaman needed a harsher punishment than forgiveness. It also appears he was tempted with greed (2 Kings 5:22). These were not just bad decisions, but it appears that Gehazi had a moment that he also turned to a different god, himself. The punishment for idolatry was leprosy.
“Where have you been, Gehazi?’ Elisha asked, ‘Your servant didn’t go anywhere,’ Gehazi answered. But Elisha said to him, ‘Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money, or accept clothes, olive groves, vineyards, flocks, herds, or menservants and maidservants? Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and your descendants forever.’ Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and he was leprous, as white as snow” (2 Kings 5:25-27).
Gehazi judged Naaman for his sins. He was also overtaken by greed and then he lied to cover his sin. These actions resulted in Gehazi and his descendants to carry a contagious disease with an isolated lifestyle.
Can you imagine the feeling that engulfed Gehazi when he was caught and then punished? There must have been a sinking feeling in his gut with a feeling of remorseful regret, sadness, and despair. How many times had he been faced with temptation and refused? But this time he gave in only to suffer serious consequences. Did he have immediate thoughts of his future, his life, his destiny, and his purpose and that of his children? I know I would; and in my life, I have. Would God still use me after my mistakes?

However, Gehazi’s story is not over as you would expect. 2 Kings 8:4 describes a monumental event of a woman who left her land for 7 years and returned asking for restoration. Not only did the woman get restored, but Gehazi was restored as well! “The king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, and said, ‘Tell me about all the great things Elisha has done” (2 Kings 8:4 says).
Stop here! What’s this? Gehazi was speaking to the king face to face? Wasn’t he put outside the camp because of his contagious disease? Were they not concerned that his disease would contaminate the camp? Better yet, he is still called the servant of the man of God! Which means he did not lose his place of authority, influence, or calling. God was still using Gehazi in his calling in spite of his past mistakes!

Gehazi stood before the King on behalf of a woman, and will be remembered forever. He was not cast away, thrown aside, nor forgotten. Gehazi continued to operate in his calling. He didn’t give up even though he had leprosy, and neither should we!
We as Christians are expected to try and give the Lord our very best. The Lord is not surprised by our poor decisions; he knows our hearts. He is constantly working in our lives to cleanse us and mold us into his likeness and image. This is not a curse, but a blessing.

Our gifts and calling are without repentance (Romans 11:29). The Lord is merciful to us. Therefore when we fall, we get up, seek the Lord, repent (turn from the sin) and walk in our calling. This is not a time to give up, but a time to push ahead. What is our testimony? God is merciful, graceful, and kind. Let’s do as Gehazi did. Walk in our calling and leave our past where it belongs; in the past!

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