Philemon 1:10-14 (MSG) While here in jail, I’ve fathered a child, so to speak. And here he is, hand-carrying this letter—Onesimus! He was useless to you before; now he’s useful to both of us. I’m sending him back to you, but it feels like I’m cutting off my right arm in doing so. I wanted in the worst way to keep him here as your stand-in to help out while I’m in jail for the Message. But I didn’t want to do anything behind your back, make you do a good deed that you hadn’t willingly agreed to.
A new life in the Lord doesn’t excuse past responsibilities or erase the ongoing consequences of past sins. When the apostle Paul was in prison he led a runaway slave named Onesimus to Christ. But then Paul sent him back to his master-even though Onesimus faced a possible death penalty for his offense! Paul sent a letter back with the fugitive saying that if Onesimus had caused any harm or stolen anything that Paul would pay for it.
Paul understood that even though Onesimus was now in a new relationship with the Lord, and forgiven of his sins, he needed to address the wrongs of his past. In fact, we all have to address the wrongs of our past at some point in our lives. Are dealing with the wrongs of your past, and moving forward in life in a responsible manner. Please understand, before you can move ahead, you must face the unfinished business of your past. This may include facing up to some misdeeds, harmful schemes, or quick-fix solutions to difficult problems that just didn’t work. While you can be certain that God will meet you where you are, the Lord calls you to take responsibility for whatever sins may have brought you to whatever circumstances you are presently in. How are you doing with your past? It’s time to move forward!
Point to ponder- Once you accept ownership of your past, God will help you move ahead. But the Lord handles it His way, not yours. However, you will be able to move forward in your life without reservation.
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Pastor James Baker, Jr.
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