So how do you make your past “the past?” How do you avoid being paralyzed by regret? How do you stop grieving over what’s gone and get on with your life?
Look at what God tells Israel in Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
God tells Israel that hope and welfare are in their future – and I would argue that this is God’s wish for your life as well. So if that doesn’t line up with your theology – then….
Change your theology. Because I think many people believe that God has one perfect plan for their life and as long as they stay on that plan they will enjoy God’s best. But if at any point they “mess up” badly enough, by sinning or by not seeking His guidance, or by making a foolish decision, then they are out of God’s plan, and they can never again enjoy His full blessing and that they’re basically on their own.
Like the Israelites- God had a plan “A” for their life to live free in the promised land, but they messed up and made wrong choices and now the plan “B” is to live under Roman rule. Do you feel like you should be walking with God on a ‘different road,’ but because you turned left instead of right now you’re lost and God is just working with a plan B?
Here’s my theological summary of what the Bible has to say about that: “Baloney!” That’s not how it works. God knows us. He knows everything about us, our past, present, and future. And so he isn’t surprised by anything we do. He knows that we are going to mess up, and ….He knows when and how.
God would hardly be God if His plan for our life required your absolute perfect obedience and wisdom. Listen - God’s plan for our lives, His one and only plan for our lives, includes our sins and our mistakes and our wrong turns and our foolish choices.
We – can’t – ruin – God’s – plan.
Does Jude tell his readers… ‘You can’t break free from the past and your doomed to repeat it?’ No, quote the opposite. He says….
17-22 But you, dear friends, remember the words spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the end time scoffers will come living according to their own ungodly desires.” These people create divisions. Since they don’t have the Spirit, they are worldly.
But you, dear friends: build each other up on the foundation of your most holy faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, keep each other in the love of God, wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will give you eternal life. Have mercy on those who doubt. Save some by snatching them from the fire. Fearing God, have mercy on some, hating even the clothing contaminated by their sinful urges.
Jude says – you want to change your future? Then, remember the teachings of Jesus and the disciples, steer clear of people who create division and build a foundation on faith.
The ladies in my house watch these house re-design shows all of the time. And it always starts out as a pretty remodel – “oh we’re just going to re-do your kitchen cabinets and give you a new floor…” But what happens?
During the demolition they always find rotting walls, rusted pipes, old wiring and an unstable foundation – and the designer has to go back to the family and say, “I know you wanted a pretty kitchen, but before we can do that – we have to repair the damage.”
But some people are content to live in a home with a broken foundation. They think “well, this is the house I bought, so I guess it’s just the house I’m stuck with. Serves me right for buying a cheap house.”
But Jude says it doesn’t have to be like that. Remember, Jude says, we have to “contend”
That means – no giving up no accepting the status quo.
So what do we do?
Well for one, we can Start over with a foundation built on faith.
Tell me something who is the architect of your life, you or God?
Because if you think it’s you – then you’ll never break free from the past and you will be doomed to repeat it.
But if you know it’s God – then we have to trust that he holds the blueprints…
Daniel 4:35 says God “…does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand…
Isaiah 46:9-10 “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
God’s the architect; and believe it or not, but you are exactly where God wants you, in spite of all the junk in your past.
All of your past sins and mistakes that you thought were detours, and exit ramps from God’s plan – SURPRISE! Those were actually all part of His plan. You are, right now, and always have been, precisely in the center of God’s plan for your life.
There was never a possibility that it would be otherwise.
You know Jude pulled open the closet door to a few skeletons, but let me ask you – What was the greatest sin in human history? What was the worst thing that any one person or group of people ever – ever did? What was the ultimate betrayal?
How about murdering the Son of God?
How about putting to death the most righteous and Holy man ever to walk this Earth?
And yet, as supremely evil and wicked as that act was, the Bible tells us that it did not thwart God’s plan. In fact, it was a part of God’s plan. It was written in the Bible hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born.
Isaiah 53:10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief…
Peter’s sermon at Pentecost – Acts 2:23 This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
Think about that, if the greatest sin in all of human history was part of God’s perfect plan, then your sins are included in that plan too.
Your past has not thwarted God’s plan for your life.
Does that mean we’re any less accountable for our sin? Of course not – we’re not off the hook – We’re still guilty. We still need to receive God’s forgiveness for sin through faith in Christ.
But what it does mean is that even our greatest sins are not powerful enough to derail God’s plan for our life.
The story of your life has not been ruined, not by your sin or anyone else’s. God’s good plan for your life is not buried under the mistakes of your past. God has a plan for your life, a good plan, a wise plan, a loving plan, a sovereign plan, and that plan is still in effect.
You haven’t missed it.
God is working out that plan in your life right now, to give you welfare, to give you hope – today.
Will you believe that? And will you renew your commitment this morning to seeking God, and to following Him, and to serving Him with your whole heart; free of the past, no longer weighed down by regret? Do you believe that your foundation is worth repairing so that you can begin again to live in faith and to abide in Christ? Then….
24-25 To the one who is able to protect you from falling, and to present you blameless and rejoicing before his glorious presence, to the only God our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, belong glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, now and forever. Amen.