I remember as a young boy going hunting with my dad. I remember everything about it. I remember the smell of Georgia fall at 4:30am as we climbed into our vehicle all bundled-up for the hunt. I remember driving in the morning darkness and the roads being empty, except for us and a handful of other hunters on their way to their deer stands. I remember the smell of a Hardee’s biscuit and the refreshing taste of OJ. I remember the cracking of the branches as we quietly walked to our stands. I remember the barbed wire fences we had to cross in order to get there. Of all I heard, smelled, and saw on those early morning hunts, at this very moment I’m remembering the barbed wire fences.
We almost always had to cross them in order to get to our deer stands. Sometimes they were lying on the ground, no longer able to serve their original purposes: to keep certain people or animals out and to keep certain people or animals in. And some fences were still up, serving their original purposes. I remember having to either step over them or climb over them carefully. Either way, we crossed them. We had to keep moving. We couldn’t just stop and stare at the fence and say, “Well, I guess we should just wait here until it falls down or someone takes the fence down. Better yet, maybe we should just turn back.” That would have been ridiculous. Plus, no one shoots a deer when you go those routes. The trip would’ve been pointless and we would’ve returned home disappointed. We had to move past the fence and on to the stand. And let me tell you something, sometimes climbing those fences took courage. Barbs are sharp! I can remember more than one occasion where we tried to carefully climb the barbed wire fence and we got stuck pretty good anyway. Sometimes we’d get lucky and it would just rip our clothes a little or scratch our rifle. Either way, that’s right, we had to move past the fence to serve the purpose for which we were committed.
Similarly, our pasts (past mistakes, past failures, past pains) are like those barbed wire fences. They can keep us out of our calling for God or they can lead us in our calling for God. You must move past your past in order to begin serving the purposes God has for you. If you have a past, whatever mistake, failure, or pain you have, that seems to keep roadblocking you from being more to your church, your neighborhood, your family, your spouse, or to your Lord and Savior, then you have decided to stand behind the intimidating barbed wire fence.
I want to encourage you today to leave your past behind and step over or climb over that difficult fence and move into God’s true purpose for your life. You won’t fulfill it until you take the courage and faithfully take the first step to God’s deer stand. Listen, I know the fence hurts to engage, it’s sharp and prickly. It will probably cut you a little or even rip your clothes. But you have to do this. Face your past, repent of your mistakes once again, and decide that you will no longer believe what you believe about yourself, but are now committed to what God believes about you. Ask God to empower you to move past your past as you begin to intentionally be consciously focused on what God has for you next. Move past your past today.
“Father, thank You for my past. Thank You for my failures and hurts. Thank You that I have survived them all. Thank You that You value me enough to have led me to this message from Your heart. I repent of my past failures and mistakes and I ask You to give me the strength to climb the painful fence of my past and propel me into the future You have for me. Forgive me, empower me, and protect me as I move past my past. I thank You in advance for this victory You will bring me. Amen.”