By James Holland, Sr.
Getting Free From Your Past
Let’s talk about our past. This is an area that many fail to realize they can, and must, be loosed from. We have all been there, and no doubt, are still there. Yet, in the spiritual kingdom of God, if we are going to walk in the Spirit and mature in our walk and relationship with Christ, we must be delivered from out past. God cannot forgive what we will not commit to him.
In John 18: 25 & 27, we find the account of Peter warming by the fire, and of course, denying the Lord, not once, not twice, but three times. Yet if we look close at the life of Peter, we will see ourselves. He was so spiritual and yet so carnal, so we see in him the struggles of us all. The truth is, we don’t recover from failure, guilt, and wrong decisions easily. We fall into canyons of despair, trials, and wrong choices, and all the guilt that goes along with them. Peter was following the Lord, yet not closely, so he found himself warming by the wrong fire. When we stray from the fire of the Holy Ghost, we will always wind up at the wrong fire. Thank God Peter was forgiven and freed from his past by the Master. Had he not been, who would have delivered the message on the day of Pentecost? True, no doubt, that even after his deliverance, every time he heard a rooster crow, it sent chills through him.
Satan had driven his spear deep into the spirit of this future Holy Ghost preacher, just as he drives his spear deep into our human spirit when we make mistakes and wrong choices. The oppressor never grants freedom. You better know that even when you come to God, and are born again, that Satan will be sure to place some roosters around in your life, to remind you of your past.
When people do not get free from their past, they always respond to wrong choices with phrases like, “it’s not my fault”, “I am not to blame”, and “everyone has problems”. Remember, God can’t heal what we deny! How can he touch what we cover up? Don’t be afraid to confess wrong to God; he already knows it anyhow.
When we confess, we are agreeing with God that we have done wrong, yet we believe that God will forgive us. We, in the kingdom, need to know the power of forgiveness. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things have become new.” Paul also writes in Romans 8:35, “Who shall separate us from the Love of God, tribulation, distress, persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword?” He continues if verse 38, “nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers nor things present nor things to come” shall be able to separate us from the Love of God. Notice he did not mention the past. Why? Because if we do not allow God to deliver us from our past, our past will hold us in bondage. You need to let the power of God shoot the roosters in your past.
How do we get free from our past? The Bible declares we must be born again (John 3:5, Acts 2:38). We must receive the forgiveness of God, then we must walk in that forgiveness. God’s love is so great for us that there is nothing we can do to destroy His love for us. That doesn’t mean that because God loves us, He will overlook our unrepentant sin or our rebellion toward Him. If we reject His love by our own choice, we will receive His judgment. Yet, we must know God’s love can’t be bought, negotiated, nor earned. Because God does love us, and because His love is constant, we can receive His forgiveness.
Jesus talks about the power of forgiveness in Matthew 6:14-15. The redemptive power of God is released when people forgive each other, and when we receive the forgiveness of God into our lives. When there is such a display of God’s forgiveness released in our lives, principalities and powers are often neutralized without so much as speaking a word against them.
Forgiveness is at the core of all victory. Forgiveness brings new hope, new life, and new joy. It’s like a river flowing once again in the cold, hardened valleys of the once embittered heart. From Calvary, God sheltered us from death in every known dimension, through the power of forgiveness. Then and only then, can we forgive ourselves. Forgiveness is the power of God working in us, removing the hiding places of demonic activity from the dark places of the human soul.
I challenge you to let God deliver you from your past. He is more concerned about what we are going to do today then about what we did yesterday. Get up from where you are right now, and shout, “I am free from my past, through the blood of Jesus!”
We must not underestimate the power of forgiveness. Only when we know the power of God’s forgiveness will we in turn forgive others. This is vital! God has declared in his word that at whatever level we are willing to forgive, it will be at that same level we receive forgiveness. Jesus declared that if we allow unforgiveness toward others and ourselves to live in us, we would be tormented by whatever once had us bound. This is a powerful principle in the word that no one seems to talk about. If we don’t forgive, we will never be released from our past.
Life is too short, eternity is too long, God is too great, and has too many blessings with our name on them, for us not to forgive. If you don’t forgive, then you will be bound. Please don’t become a part of the miserable “has been” crowd. You know them because they are always talking about what God used to do, how dedicated they use to be, or how someone hurt them twenty-five years ago. They live only in their past because that is what they are bound too. To them, God is a has-been. He has evidently retired, Heaven has become a ghost town, and the New Testament Apostolic church is nothing more than a shrine!
In most churches, there needs to be a revival of forgiveness and love first, then we will begin to really walk in spiritual maturity. Don’t spend your spiritual life at the complaint counter. People that don’t forgive can never grow. They will always be shallow, and they will always live in bondage. This is not the will of God for our lives.
Step into the present and let God release His power in your life today. Your past is only your history; today is the time frame that God wants to transact business with us in. Today, the victory we enjoy will determine our future.
Salvation is what God gives us. He raised us from the grave of sin. Today is the day of our salvation. Realize that there are far too many people in the kingdom of God that have been born again that are still not free from their past. They have the Holy Ghost, yet in their own human spirit, there are still tender scars, jangled emotions, and guilt self-imposed and imposed by Satan.
Many are like Lazarus. They have been brought from the darkness of spiritual death, yet they are still bound by their past. In John 11:44, we read the account of Lazarus being raised from the dead, yet don’t forget he had to be loosed even after his resurrection. Many people, in and out of the church, have never resolved bad issues that traumatized them early in life, so silent rage comes into their hearts. God can heal the cause of our pain. When Lazarus was raised, he was still in grave clothes. He could not function until he got free from the grave clothes. People bound by their past cannot operate nor function properly until they are free. If you don’t change those old dead rags, they will pull you back down into the same rut you have been delivered out of.
If God can forgive our sins, He certainly can forgive our past. But can we forgive ourselves? This is where the real battle for most of us is! Learn to leave the past in the grave, and walk in the miracle of salvation.
Let’s look at the three dimensions of deliverance as they are found in II Corinthians 1:10. The first dimension is deliverance from our past. Verse 10 says “who delivered us”. The blood of Jesus and the name of Jesus can and does deliver us from our past, yet it doesn’t stop there. Verse 10 goes on to say “does deliver us”. God is still delivering people today. If we are not free from our past, we certainly can’t expect present day deliverance. Paul goes on to the third dimension of deliverance “in whom we trust that He will still deliver us”. So my friend, this great God of ours will deliver us from our past, our present, and anything we may encounter in the future.
The above article, “Somebody Shoot that Rooster!” is written by James Holland, Sr. The article was excerpted from chapter 2 of Holland’s book The Battle for Spiritual Maturity.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.