In over 39 years of marriage and almost as many years in full-time ministry, we have learned a few things about temptation and sin: 1) None of us is above falling and failing, 2) Satan will leverage our failure to keep us down, and 3) God wants us to walk in HIS victory, not in our failures.
This has profound implications on a marriage. If a spouse is burdened by their past—whether it is recent or long ago—it affects the dynamics of the marriage. They are living with reduced hope, limited confidence, a more critical spirit, and spiritual distance from God and their spouse.
We’ve walked the journey of sin, pain, and shame. We understand—and we can write with confidence that there IS hope, there IS victory, and there IS restoration for you through Jesus Christ! Here are four things to remember when your past isn’t pure:
1) Receive Grace
We can so easily hold things against ourselves that God forgave the moment we confessed. When we continue to hold our sins against us, we are indirectly saying, “The blood of Jesus can’t cleanse me from this and make me pure.” Do you truly believe that? Of course not! So receive the grace that God extends to you.
But how do we do that? By reminding ourselves, “I am forgiven. I am washed clean. The shed blood of Jesus makes me white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18; 1 John 1:9). Thank God for His forgiveness for whatever is in your past that’s been difficult for you.
2) Reject Shame
Shame is not of God, but from the enemy. Shame speaks to what you did, God’s Word speaks to who you are. You are dearly loved. You are forgiven. You are God’s child. You are redeemed. You are restored. You are reconciled. You are purified. You are free from condemnation. You are holy. You are chosen. You are anointed. You are blessed.
When shame comes upon you, immediately rejected it. Immediately breathe a prayer out loud saying, “In the name, power and blood of Jesus, I reject that shame. I have been forgiven and I now walk in who I am.
3) Regain Confidence
Move forward in the confidence of who you are and what God has done for you. You may not feel confident, but you have confidence in God and the truth of His word. So live it and eventually the feelings of confidence will follow. Recently, Brad wrote the following poem about this:
By Brad Mitchell
I know your pain, I see your sadness,
You feel distant, I am sure.
But all’s not lost, you’re not stuck in blackness,
There is hope, I am the cure.
Remember it takes time to heal,
Just walk in Whose you are.
It doesn’t come by how you feel,
For My truth will carry you far.
For when you chose to do that sin,
And the others through your strife,
I knew that they were coming,
So My Son gave up His life.
Shame may blow in from Satan’s roar,
His attacks he starts to spew.
But let My voice remind you more:
“You’re forgiven, I’m with you.”
4) Renew Focus
Now look ahead. Don’t look back. Focus on your future as a forgiven man or woman. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. And let the freshness and freedom you have in Christ spill over as you build your marriage!