“Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
Have you ever felt like your past was chasing you down? It can feel like in the background of your mind there’s this voice reminding you of what you’ve done, who you once were or the things you’re ashamed of. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus makes all things new and God can take the sting out of your past memories! Although you may remember them, the power they had to shame you gets removed.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced that voice one too many times.
One of the things I’ve had to do in order to shake it’s nagging actually sounds a little too simple...I just kept moving forward. It seems that shame’s goal is to paralyze us, get us overly introspective, and forget what Jesus has done for us. Moving forward puts the paralyzing back on shame.
It reminds me of recently watching the movie “Captain Marvel.” Without spoiling it too much (if you haven’t seen it yet), the lead character’s power is limited and hindered because of lies about her past. The enemy tried to get her to believe an alternate history about her past but once she realized who she was, she broke free and defeated him! Not only that, she was also able to function in the fullness of the power that resided in her!
I sat back and realized how prophetic the movie was! It was like God was saying, “Discover who you are, break free, and step into your full potential!”
I want to say to you today, “Move forward even though the enemies seem to be chasing you! God will take care of them!”
In light of that, here’s 3 ways God has defeated the shame of your past!
1. The Red Sea
After a long time of being in slavery in Egypt, God sends Moses to deliver Israel. They leave in boldness, but not long after, they notice the Egyptians chasing after them and they become very afraid. (You can read the account in Exodus 14).
Anyone relate to that?
You may not have been afraid, but you may have felt confused or conflicted, maybe even tempted when your past came creeping up on you.
Our past will try to come running after us in order to capture us and get us to serve it again. But there’s a way out!
God ended up telling Israel to move forward! Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do when your past is coming after you is to move forward!
They come up to the Red Sea and God splits it in half! They walk through on dry ground!
Not only is that one of the most wildest miracles in all history, it’s a picture of covenant.
In that culture, they would split animals in half and the people making covenant would walk through the two pieces.
Also, it’s a picture of the red blood of Jesus shed at the cross! The covenant, the promise of forgiveness of sins in the blood of Jesus! (Matt. 26:28)
What the enemy was too dumb to realize was that the covenant that was made for you was also made against him! The Egyptians tried to go through the Red Sea but God closed the waters on them and they all drowned.
As Israel kept moving forward, God dealt with their enemies!
God not only swallowed up their enemies in the Red Sea, God has swallowed up your sins, your shame, your guilt, your past in the blood of Jesus!
Somebody should shout right there!
2. The Rooster
God wants to take the sting out of your past memories.
Let me illustrate.
Jesus, responding to Peter’s overzealous outburst, told him that “before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” (Matt. 26:34)
Jesus’ words came true not long after, and Peter wept bitterly.
But imagine this - every morning you hear a rooster crow.
The rooster crow, at least for Peter, was a sign to him of his denial of Jesus!
It’s like everyday he’s reminded of his failure...like every waking moment!
Have you ever felt like that? One random thing will pop up in your head and then a string of memories leads you into shame.
I did a little research and I found out that roosters don’t crow at the break of dawn, they start crowing a couple hours before dawn. They’re announcing that dawn is coming.
Why is that significant?
The rooster crow could be looked at as a sign of our sin, or it could be looked at as a prophecy of a new day coming!
That new day came when Jesus met with Peter and gave him an opportunity to affirm his love for Him three times. Jesus re-commissioned Peter.
In other words, Jesus still believed in him.
That’s what you need to hear after you’ve failed. Jesus still believes in you.
Kris Vallotton says, “You were saved when you believed in Jesus, but you were transformed when you realized He believed in you.”
I imagine Peter was still hearing that rooster crow the rest of his life. It was no longer a reminder of his sin, it was a reminder of the mercy and kindness of Jesus.
God can take the sting out of shameful memories.
3. The Resurrection
I love the fact that when the women came to the empty tomb that two angels appeared and said:
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!” (Luke 24:5-6)
Jesus cannot be found in a grave!
Neither can you!
You’re alive in Him! You were raised with Him.
The question could be posed to us like this:
> Why are you trying to find who you are in the grave?
> Why are you going back to your past to define who you are?
> Why are you looking at who you used to be instead of who you are in Christ?
When Jesus died, He buried your old self in the grave. Our old nature has passed away.
You are not who you once were! You have a new nature.
Our identity is in the Risen Christ.
I’ll close with this.
In each of these 3 occurrences, they all started with night and ended with morning.
> The enemies were drowned in the Red Sea as morning appeared. (Ex. 14:27)
> The rooster crowed and prophesied the breaking of a new dawn. (Matt. 26:74)
> Although Jesus died in darkness, the women came to the empty tomb early in the morning. (Luke 24:1)
I declare over you today:
“...Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
Jesus is your breaking of a new day! He is your Bright and Morning Star! (Rev. 22:16)
How has God helped you to overcome shame?