Disciple Now Reflections

My husband and I just finished up a Disciple Now weekend with the youth of our church. For those of you unfamiliar with DNOW (and I was until I married a youth pastor), it is a weekend conference for youth put on by the local church (or at least in our case it was). Usually you bring in speakers and then break up into small groups at homes hosted by church family. So I spent the entire weekend with three amazing high school girls from our youth group!

(On a side note, I used to be able to stay up until all hours of the night and then function the next day. This is no longer true of my body. There were moments of total delirium on Saturday evening, and this lasted well into yesterday afternoon when I took a very long nap. It’s official. I am 100% a grown-up.)

The theme for the weekend was Resolved and we had two Southern graduates as our main speakers. They did a phenomenal job. They preached from Philippians 3, and one of the things asked of us over the weekend was to “remember God’s work for you in Christ.” This got me thinking. What if remembering God’s work for you brings back memories too painful to think about? Surely this is true for some people. I am sure it was for Paul. He killed Christians. I am sure it was for Peter. He denied the Savior. How do you remember the work without flooding your mind with memories you would rather just bury?

It is often said that you can’t change the past. This is true. We can’t change what has already happened. Often, and I know this is true in my own life, the pain of certain memories cause us to wallow in unbiblical guilt rather than worship the One who took that guilt away. We can remember the past, in all degrees of heinousness, and call it what it is—awful. But if we are in Christ that past has no control over us any longer. If we are in Christ, God does not hold us condemned for those previous sins.

It is good to remember what Christ has done for us. It is a glorious thing that the King of Kings died to reconcile us to God. And we should never forget what we were saved from. But it should not lead us to despair. It should lead us to worship. In Philippians 4:8, Paul tells us to think about the things that are true, among other things. It is true that we were once sinful, rebellious, and condemned people. But it is an even greater truth that because of Christ’s work on our behalf, and his righteousness given to us, those adjectives no longer describe us. This is what we should remember every day of our life.

“When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see him there
Who made and end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free!
For God the just is satisfied
To look on him and pardon me!”