The Past: Your Source for Thanksgiving in the Present
Paul never fails to reminds us of his past, of his experience before He met the Lord on the way to Damascus. A past that included carrying out orders from his superiors to arrest and imprison Christians. When asked to defend himself before King Agrippa, Paul gave a testimony of how He came to know the Lord. Speaking of his past, he said:
“I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities. Acts 26:9-11
Then he continued to explain how his life changed.
On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. Acts 26:12-15
This experience on this particular journey to Damascus transformed Paul’s life. Paul challenges us, his readers, to remember not just our past, but who we were before the call. By looking at the past we are reminded that we are who we are because of what God did.
Think about the circumstances of your call, brothers and sisters. Not many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were born to a privileged position. But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong.1 Corinthians 1:26-27
God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, so that no one can boast in his presence. He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 1 Corinthians 1:28-30
Once we know who has made us to be what we are, the Apostle tells us where the credit belongs.
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:31
In other words, our past is a reason to thank God for present circumstances.
1. Where you are today is where God has brought you to by His grace. Jot down at least three things that cause you to thank God for your present circumstances.
2. Do not forget how privileged and blessed you are now that you are a child of God. Where would you be today if God had not reached out and saved you from your sins? The truth is this: you are what you are today because of God’s love, grace, and goodness.
3. You and I are products of a supernatural action! Resist the temptation to take the credit for your transformed life. As Paul reminds us boast only in the Lord and nothing else.
Look to your past and compare it with your present
And it will be clear to you that you are truly
A product of a supernatural act that
Made you to be who you are
And for this reason, you
Can now give God
All the Praise
This is why I ask
DOES YOUR PAST CAUSE YOU TO THANK GOD FOR THE PRESENT?
By Pastor Shadrack Ruto