A couple of months ago I was praying my way through the 23rd Psalm, and you know how this happens, a certain verse came off the page and begged for a deeper look. Here’s the verse:
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (v.26).
I pondered the idea of ‘mercy following me’ and considered it a fresh blessing from heaven!
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 139:5 ~ You both precede and follow me, You place Your hand of blessing upon my head.
The Lord of mercy follows us, covering our (repented of) missteps and mistakes with His grace. He picks up the broken pieces of our lives and makes a beautiful collage of redemption. Every sin repented of, every misstep acknowledged at the Cross, is covered in Covenant blood. It’s wiped out.
So when you or I strain our neck to look backwards at our past mistakes, Jesus is there. And if we don’t see Him there, we are not seeing clearly. We are seeing a distorted picture. A fake one, actually. Because in the light of God’s mercy, our past has been altered! Our past has been changed!
It is forgiven. In Christ, I’m forgiven and so are you.
God takes every horrible situation and makes something out of it. He shapes circumstances and people and redeems every lost thing. He goes before us and clears the way. He walks behind us and paves the disjointed paths of our past with a fresh covering of mercy.
Often when the enemy gets us to consider our past, he does so by singling us out and amplifying our mistakes in the absence of grace and mercy. For the Believer, this is a totally distorted picture. For the Believer, this picture is a lie.
Everyone has a past. Everyone has said, done, and thought things they’d rather forget. We’ve hurt others. We’ve been hurt by others. We’ve sinned in ways too many to count. But the point is: ALL have sinned and fallen way short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
Don’t let the enemy single you out!
Goliath tried to do that to young David. But David had the presence of mind to disregard those ‘singling out’ comments and shouted out, “Who is this Philistine that defies the armies of the living God?” In other words he was saying, “When you defy me, you defy the armies of the Living God! You will not pick me apart or single me out!”
Our strategy for standing strong against the enemy is to be strong in the Lord. We must not look at our pasts alone, with the devil, and a large HD TV (amplifying every mistake and misstep). Everything about that scenario is wrong.
If we must look back, may we do so in the presence of love and grace and mercy, with God at our side, and amidst an army of Believers who have likewise sinned, but have been forgiven and redeemed.
One redeemed sinner sends a thousand to flight, and two? Ten thousand!
There’s power in numbers and the mercy of God has our back! Praise be to God who always leads us in His triumph! As we dwell in the presence of the Lord from day to day, it becomes easier and easier to acquaint ourselves with His mercy, grace, and love. We are surrounded by His provision and forgiveness, which is not so hard to grasp when we walk closely beside Him.
Do not fixate on what lies behind you! Look forward to what God has set before you. Fix your eyes on Jesus and run the race marked out before you with focus, faith, discipline, and love. Miracle breakthroughs are on the horizon.