Getting rid of the past is not that easy. Each of us is influenced by our past. Experiences that we have made influence our behavior. We develop thought patterns and habits, both positive and negative. If the past catches up with us again and again, it can also be an enormous burden because it prevents us from living in the present and thinking our future. But how can we be free?
We read several times in the Bible that Jesus wants to free us and give us new life.
“But that means that whoever lives with Christ becomes a new person. He is no longer the same because his old life is over. A new life has begun! ”2 Corinthians 5:17
“Do not think of the past and do not pay attention to the previous! Because look, I want to create a new one, now it grows up, don’t you recognize it? I make a path in the desert and water flows in the wasteland. “Isaiah 43: 18-19
But how can that be, how can Jesus make us a new person from one moment to the next, erase the past?
I thought about it and reflected on how Jesus acted in my life. When I met Jesus, believed him and decided to live with him, I was freed from anxiety overnight and I can say that fear no longer affects my life today. In other areas of my life, I am in a process of change and learning, where I gradually let go of old thought structures that are not doing me good and let my thoughts be renewed by God.
“Let yourself change in your thinking and realign yourself internally. Put on new life as you put on new clothes ”Ephesians 4: 23–24
The renewal of our thoughts does not happen overnight, it is a lifelong process. I keep noticing that I fall back into old thought patterns that I have built up over the years. Step by step together with Jesus, I can collapse these walls of thought and choose God’s thoughts every day, express his good thoughts about my life.
With the decision for Christ I get a new identity. I am a child of God and his holy spirit dwells in me. I am spiritually a new person, washed clean before God. The Bible speaks of rebirth.
“Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you: If someone is not born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3: 3
“Praise be to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who after His great mercy reborn us to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”
“For everything that is born of God overcomes the world; and our faith is the victory that has overcome the world. ”1 John 5: 4
Because you are born again not from transitory, but from imperishable seed, namely from the living Word of God that remains there. 1. Peter 1,23
What is born of the flesh is flesh; and what is born of the spirit is spirit. John 3.6
So with Christ we are a new person and yet there is also our old person, our past and character, our old nature, who wants to influence our thoughts.
I like the verse in the letter to the Ephesians, which says that we should put on new life like new clothes. When we buy new clothes and hang them in our closet, we must decide what to wear every day. We can choose: Do we take an old dress or the new one? How difficult we often find it to dispose of our old clothes. And so it is also up to us to become aware of our new identity every day, to choose the new life that Christ has given us and to let go of the old one. The new life is a gift that we can accept.
When we choose new life, Jesus gives us a different perspective and strategies for how we can deal with our past. It changes our perspective. He can let work to our best everything that has happened to us in life, including the negative things , and in retrospect we recognize how bad experiences have made us grow and mature and what we have learned from them.
We know, however, that for those who love God, all things serve the best ”Romans 8:28
In this way we can reconcile ourselves with a difficult past, forgive ourselves and others and use the present to fill us with God’s thoughts and love, to look at his truths and promises and to entrust our future to his care.