Our Past and Our Present Life
This moment now is not the past, but even though this moment now is not the past, it is very much connected with the past. Who I am did not come into existence all of a sudden, or out of nowhere. Our present life is shaped by what we did in the past and the decisions we made in the past. Because of those decisions we made, we are here right now. We decided what to study, where to study, what career to choose and what to do with our lives. We made a whole bunch of decisions and all of these decisions have shaped who we are right now. As you look back though, our past was not all pretty and perfect. There are a lot of regrets, pain and guilt. As we remember our past, sometimes we feel pain because there are a lot of regrets that we have, a lot of mistakes that we made along the way. Both positive and negative things from our past have shaped who we are now, so we have both positives and negatives within us. Then the question comes to me, “is our life completely governed and determined by our past? Are we no more than the product of our past?” I don’t believe so. It is true that our past has had a profound effect on our present life, but there is something else that also has a profound effect on our present life. That is our hope for the future, our dream for the future. Our vision for the future has a profound effect on our present life, so it’s not just our past decisions that have a profound effect on our present life. Our vision for the future has a profound effect on who we are right now, at this moment.
A New Life
When our hope for the future is stronger than our regrets from our past, then new life is possible. When our vision for the future is stronger than our pain from the past, then a new life can begin. The ghost of our past cannot completely take hold of us. Our present life becomes not simply a result of our past. Our present life becomes not just the repetition of what we have done in the past. Our present life becomes not just licking the wounds of our past. With a vision for the future, we can start a new life. Isaiah said, “for I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.” Your past will not haunt you anymore, it will not be remembered. When the new heavens and new earth come, the former things will be gone. The ghost of our past will evaporate. Our past mistakes, our wrongdoings, our guilt, and our regrets will be gone. God wants to give us a new life. Not the repetition, meaningless repetition of our past, but totally a new life. I believe that that is possible. Do not judge each other by the person you have seen in the past. See in each person the potential of how this person can change. When you say “Oh, I know that person”, don’t just look at their past, but look at the potential of their future. Don’t focus on people’s past. Focus on people’s future. For yourself, don’t focus on your past, focus on your future. Saint Paul said, “so if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.” Everything old has passed away, see everything has become new.
God Creates New Things Within Us
When the former things do not go away, the new cannot come. When we are in Christ, we become new. God will create new things within us. God will renew us. Living a new life, that is the hope of resurrection. That’s what we celebrate today. Living a new life, that is the hope of resurrection. The old dies and the new comes alive. You become renewed, not just only once, you become renewed daily. Every morning you wake up, you start new. A new day, new life. There are handsome, beautiful students who are going to be confirmed today. Now in you, God will not stop creating new things. The moment you are in Christ, God will start creating new things in your life that is exciting. New things that you have never experienced, new things that you never knew, God will start creating those things within you. That’s why we have joy, we discover new things that are happening within you.
Isaiah said, “be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating within you. God always creates new things within us, that’s amazing. God always creates new things within us that give us tremendous joy and excitement and we can look forward to the next day and what God will create for us. New things are not what we already know. New things are not something that we already experienced. Whenever you discover these new things that you never knew or experienced, you will be filled with joy. That’s what real life is like, that joy gives us life. That is what living is all about. If you’re not happy or not joyful, why live? But when you find new things in your life, you’re filled with joy. You look forward to living.
People of Resurrection
You have to forget what is behind you. You have to look at what is ahead of you. Our life should not be governed by what is behind. Our life should be governed by what is ahead. Saint Paul said this, “beloved, I do not consider that I have made in my own, but this one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on towards the goal, for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” That was Paul’s life. He did not focus on what lay behind, he always focused on what was ahead. He filled his prison life with this passion and desire to press onward, to pursue what was ahead. These two lifestyles are so radically different. Ask yourself, “what governs your life? What controls your life? What determines your prison life? Is that the past or the future?”
Let us throw away our stubborn habits in the past, they don’t help us. Your stubborn habits, throw them away. Let us leave our sorrows in the past, in God’s hands. Our sin that we’re still struggling with, let us come before God. God will forgive your sins. Your resentment and anger, come before God, God will soothe your heart. Let us pray to God to create new things in us. Let us not just merely continue as we have lived. You are not the slave of your past. Let us not just merely continue what we have been doing all this time, let us have courage. Though fear will hold you back, have the courage to see forward. We can be changed and we can be agents of change. Powerlessness is more dangerous than power. Mary Jo Leddy said “powerlessness is more dangerous than the power”, don’t just sit on it powerlessly. Through the spirit of resurrection, let us be filled with power to bring about change. Let us stand up and walk. Let us stand up and run. Let us stand up and move forward. That is the spirit of resurrection. Be people of resurrection.