"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17
I don't know about anyone else, but I will frequently have dreams at night about people from "back in the day". I'll have dreams where I'm interacting with someone who I knew during my running around years, and when I wake up from those dreams, I always wonder what that was all about- it anything. It usually bothers me, to be honest. The first thing I usually do is just say a prayer for whoever it was. Maybe they just needed someone to intercede for them, so the Holy Spirit was bringing them to mind- even though I haven't seen them in well over ten years now.
When I think about that time in my life...well, I just shake my head at myself, because it was the only time in my life that my light was under a bushel. There aren't even any redeeming moments, where there were opportunities to share the love of God with any of my friends. There were none of those, and those groups of friends had no idea the truth that I was hiding away for a period of time. The thing is, when I think on those days, yes, I feel badly for my actions, but I feel badly more because I didn't do any sharing of truth. When I do think of that time I always ask God to bring good Godly people into their lives now to share God's love with them.
But you know what? It doesn't do any good to beat myself up about that time in my life. Because the fact is, when Jesus won, and I decided to put worldly ways behind me, and I apologized to God for my running around years, He forgave me, and all that went quietly into the past, never to be brought out again. There is an adversary though, who wants me to think on that time. He wants me to see how worthless I was during that time, and how I made no impact on that group of people. The devil wants to remind me that people could be joining him in eternal suffering because I chose to be worldly for a time. If I were to allow myself to really dwell on that, I have no doubt, I could begin to feel worthless myself, think I was crud for that time in my life. The truth, though, is this:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
I AM a new creation. The devil wants to try and make me think otherwise, but God's Truth is that I am a new creation, and what happened in the past is gone. It's vanished, and I am a brand new creation. What happened before doesn't matter, really. What matters now is what I do today. What matters now are the choices I make for tomorrow. What matters is that I don't let the devil fool me into thinking that the mistakes from the past matter today. They don't. And they don't for anyone. You could live 99 years of your life stubborn and cranky with people- like Ebenezer Scrooge, and in the last few days of your life you find Jesus, and learn of His love, and let Him fill your heart with it. And you know what happens then? Those 99 years of yuck are as if they never happened! That's the love and the grace of God.
Oh, there will be temptations. There will always be temptations, or wonderings maybe, is more the word. I wonder, every once in a while, what it would have been like to stay on that worldly road, and be spending my life trying to balance kids and going out the bars and having a good time. Boy, am I so glad that I chose Jesus instead. Balancing kids and Jesus is like putting peanut butter with jelly. They belong together, and our kids seem to take almost as much joy in serving God as we do. They LOVE seeing God do things for other people. So those very rare days when the devil comes a-calling and tries to tell me I'm dirt for the things of the past, all I have to do is look at my kids, and see the love of Jesus pouring out of their eyes and know that I truly am a new creation. I really am, and if you have asked Jesus into your life, you truly are too. Don't let the things of the past weigh you down. When you have those days where you're feeling yuck because of something in your past, pull out this verse. Recite it out loud to yourself, and let it chase away those feelings. Because you are a wonderful new creation in Christ Jesus. God doesn't make garbage, and He wants you to know that He made you the priceless, wonderful creation that you are today.