Oscar Wilde once quipped: “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” Looking back at our journey to faith in Christ, we are reminded of the gracious invitation to follow Jesus. At some point in our past, we responded to the love of Jesus and experienced His forgiveness. But we are also mindful of doubt, skepticism and fear that affected our response. Following Jesus was not easy and I would suggest it is still not easy today.

There might be memories of past traumas and hurts, past failures and sins that impact our current experience of grace. Perhaps, we feel inadequate and unworthy to be called a Christian. Perhaps, we find it hard to let go of past criticisms and complaints. Perhaps, we are discouraged by the lack of care and compassion from other Christians in the local church.  Perhaps, we have made some poor choices and given way to temptation. Perhaps, we are afraid our past will catch up and ruin our future.

I believe Jesus looks at us with deep love and real grace. Our past has been redeemed by Jesus and therefore nothing we have experienced is wasted. Jesus assures us of His forgiveness and healing for all that has taken place in our past. But He also challenges us to embrace our future as defined by His calling and purpose. We are no longer strangers or foreigners to the Kingdom of God. We are now beloved members of God’s household, brave citizens of God’s Kingdom, and bold partners in the New Covenant established by Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are called to live and to act as chosen disciples of Jesus. We have a future that is filled with hope and grace.

The Apostle Paul describes his own journey of faith in Jesus: “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NLT) Every disciple can forget the past and forge ahead towards the future defined by Jesus’ call.

How would you describe your personal story of faith? Does your past weigh heavily on your present? What is Jesus saying to you about your future? Where are you headed in your journey of faith? Are you looking back or facing the future?  Every Christian has a past and every disciple has a future in Jesus Christ. Following Jesus today is not easy but it is the only path that leads to total freedom from our past and total fulfillment for our future. We are destined to reign with Christ Jesus in the glorious Kingdom that He will establish at His return. For that reason, we persevere in faith and endure all difficulties by His grace. My dear friends, do not lose heart and do not be afraid.