What’s Your Story?
What comes to mind when you think about your life history? Are there certain events that stand out? Abuse? Sin struggles? Or maybe you prefer to block it out altogether. What if you started thinking about your story in terms of redemption? What has Jesus redeemed? If you are a follower of Jesus, then you have a story, and your story has power. Unfortunately, many of us have never even thought about or processed our own story let alone viewed it in light of redemption. If we want to continue growing deeper in our faith and to become effective disciples who make disciples, then we need to know our story, process our story, and speak our story.
The greatest obstacle that keeps people from processing and sharing their story is shame. There are two main aspects of our stories that often keep us stuck in shame: (1) our own sinful past, and (2) the impact of sins committed against us. Part one of this blog focuses on our own sinful past.
So many people feel disqualified to share the Gospel or to be leaders in ministry due to things they’ve done in the past. Oh, you sinned?? Join the club! We have ALL sinned and we ALL fall short of the glory of God. And guess what… we all STILL sin. But we’re in the process of sanctification, learning how to sin less and less, and to glorify God more and more. That’s why there’s so much power in your story regardless of what sins you’ve committed in the past. You can share how God has CHANGED you and how he’s STILL changing you!
One example of a changed life is Rahab. While we don’t know all the details of Rahab’s life, we do know she went from being a prostitute to becoming a heroine for the Israelites and then she ultimately became an ancestor to Jesus. She is listed as one of the heroes of the faith (Hebrews 11). Her previous life of prostitution did not keep God from redeeming her and using her to advance His Kingdom. And, more shockingly, God does not hide the fact that Rahab was a prostitute! It wasn’t a source of shame or embarrassment for Him.
Another example is the Apostle Paul, who was not always an apostle. Before his apostleship days, he persecuted the Church and tried to destroy it. After his own encounter with Jesus, he changed the course of his life and went on to spread the Gospel far and wide. Can you imagine if he kept his story to himself and allowed guilt and shame to keep him from doing the work God called him to do? We’d be without most of the New Testament.
Who Owns Your Story?
Both Rahab and Paul allowed God to own their stories and to use them for His glory. There are only two options when it comes to who owns your story: God or Satan. If God owns your story, then you should be walking in freedom, unashamed of your past, knowing that Christ has redeemed you. He sets the captives free. But here’s what it might look like if Satan still owns all or parts of your story:
- Feeling ashamed/embarrassed
- Not using your spiritual gifts because you feel disqualified
- Ignoring God’s calling because you feel unworthy
- Feeling a constant sense of guilt over your past
- Hiding who you really are
- Allowing sins of your past to characterize your current behavior
- Acting like you never struggle
- Being judgmental
- Feeling defensive
Break the Chains
My dear sisters, Satan is the ultimate accuser, but Jesus is our Redeemer (Zechariah 3:1-6). Don’t allow Satan to keep you shackled to the guilt and shame of your past. DON’T LET SATAN SILENCE YOU. Conquer him by the word of your testimony. Know your story, process your story, then SPEAK your story. Oh, and stay tuned for part two.