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He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)

If you have ever been arrested and charged in a criminal case, or suspected of a crime that you did or didn’t commit, or have struggled with some addiction or another you know how your past can haunt you.

Maybe you are a believer who has gone through divorce. Perhaps, as a young person you made some horrible mistake. You may have failed a couple times on business ventures that you were sure would be successful and, instead of making money, you lost money and not only your own, but your investors, the people that trusted you with their money.

The enemy loves to bring up your past. He loves to remind you of your failures and your sins. He uses your past to cause doubt or worry. He uses your past to keep you from looking to the future because he knows that as long as he can get you to dwell on the past he can rob you of fulfilling your dreams or using the gifts God has given you.

The Big Lie he uses to threaten your future is that ‘YOUR PAST DISQUALIFIES YOU FROM BEING ALL GOD HAD PLANNED FOR YOU. Remember, he loves to quote scripture. So he may remind you that ‘All things work together for good to those who love God’ (a slight rephrasing of Romans 8:28). Then he’ll go on to remind you that your disobedience proves you don’t love God. Therefore no good can come from your life. Focusing on our past handcuffs our ability to have vision for the future.

What the enemy doesn’t want you to do is to look at the type of people God used for mighty things in the Bible. Adam and Eve lied. Abraham slept with his wife’s servant. David was a murderer, an adulterer, a conniver and, as a parent he failed to instill discipline in his children. All throughout the Bible God has used people with questionable pasts to fulfill his Kingdom work.

God’s ways are completely opposite of our ways. We look for people with NO SCARS and make them leaders; God looks for people WITH SCARS and makes them leaders. When God formed you in the womb of your mother he saw your entire life. He knew your victories. He knew your failures. He knew if you’d be divorced, an addict, an abusive or absentee parent or a child molester. Still, he created you and loved you enough to offer you forgiveness, hope for the future and eternal life with him.

2 Corinthians 1:4 teaches us that the very things you struggle with are things God can use or comfort and encourage others. The best counselors in rehabilitation centers are those who have gone through addictions. The best grief counselors are those that have lost loved ones. The best people to help someone who has suffered the devastation of abortion are those who have had an abortion themselves.

What is your loss? What mistakes have you made? What have you learned from those mistakes? How can you use them to help others in the same situation? As Christ followers we have the answers to the problems people are going through. Don’t let your past keep you from giving others a future.

Truth Statement: The struggles of your past empower you to encourage those who are struggling.

PRAYER: Father God, it amazes me to think that you knew all my mistakes before they happened. What’s even more amazing is that you want to use me in spite of myself! Forgive me for my past. Empower me to use the lessons of my past to encourage others. Keep me from believing the lies of the enemy. In Jesus name, Amen.

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