Your Past Does Not Define Your Future

Friday, February 26, 2010
The deck was stacked against this guy named Jephthah (you can read his story in Judges 11).

His mom was a prostitute.

His half brothers chased him off the family land and out of the family business in shame because of who his mom was.

Homeless and titleless he fled to a lousy place called Tob, which is Hebrew for "Gastonia".

(Just kidding. Mostly).

His only friends were a band of small time criminals and miscreants referred to as "worthless rebels".

He was transparently power-hungry at times, a bit of a mercenary. In his later career he was responsible for the death of his daughter, the result of a vow he made that was at best ill-advised. His judgment was not always great, to say the least.

How does a guy like this succeed? Someone call in a social worker. Better yet, roll out a penitentiary cot and prepare another plastic tray of prison-issue mystery meat. This guy is going nowhere fast.

But the Bible describes Jephthah as a leader, a courageous soldier, a "great warrior".


How did he overcome a past like that to go down in the annals of Israel as a renowned military and political leader?

One simple reason.

At his greatest moment of truth, an impending battle against the ferocious Ammonites, Jephthah got serious with God and offered himself up to be used by God. And "the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah" (Judges 11:29).

It does not matter what happened in your past, no matter how rocky or disreputable it was.

No matter if it was your fault, or someone else's.

No matter how deep your shame, how disqualified you feel.

No matter what others might think of you.

If you make yourself available to God in radical trust he can take your broken life and make it a thing of power and beauty and significance.

If you invite his Spirit to come upon you and to fill you, through the power of Jesus Christ.

Try it. Trust me.

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