"All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God's anger, just like everyone else."
The last few verses have all been talking about our past. What we were like before Christ. They have been talking about our history. Now I don't know about you, but I love history. I love to study it, learn about it, visit historical sights, dress up in time period appropriate clothing...if it has something to do with history, I probably enjoy doing it. So this verse starts off talking about our history, how we used to live. It shares that we used to live by following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. In other words, we were full out devoted to sin. It doesn't matter if you think that you really weren't that bad of a person before you knew Christ, because without Christ, your life was consumed fully by your sinful nature. It was fully consumed by pride and self-centeredness. We were just like everyone else. God was angry at our sin.
But what I love about history, is that you can take the past and learn from it. It teaches you. When you came to Christ, you didn't amputate your history. Your history will always be your history. But the amazing thing about history is that it's useful (I know, I know, some of you students would argue with me on that point). History explains why things happen. You want to know why the Middle East is in such an uproar and Israel is in the middle of it all? Look at history. You want to understand why the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred? Check out history.
Your personal history is useful too. It's a constant reminder that you don't want to go back to the way you were before Christ. But it's also a constant reminder of how far God has brought you. God never wastes your history. You may think that it's full of brokenness, sin, and disappointments, but God will use it. He will use it in your own life. He will use it in the lives of the people around you. He will use it. Because while you can't outrun your history, you are not defined by it. You are not who you where. You were bought with a high price. You are worth something. You are chosen by the Creator of the Universe and he knows your name! You have immense value and nothing you have done in your past can change that, but maybe your past (and present) could help change someone's future by bringing them a little closer to Jesus.
We all need reminders of who God is and where his mercy has brought us. Because his mercy has changed us. I want to leave you with the words to one of my favorite songs by Point of Grace. It's called Heal The Wound. Here are the lyrics:
I used to wish that I could rewrite history I used to dream that each mistake could be erased Then I could just pretend I never knew me back then I used to pray that You would take this shame away Hide all the evidence of who I've been But it's the memory of The place You brought me from That keeps me on my knees And even though I'm free Heal the wound but leave the scar A reminder of how merciful You are I am broken, torn apart Take the pieces of this heart And heal the wound but leave the scar I have not lived a life that boasts of anything I don't take pride in what I bring But I'll build an altar with The rubble that You've found me in And every stone will sing Of what You can redeem Heal the wound but leave the scar A reminder of how merciful You are I am broken, torn apart Take the pieces of this heart And heal the wound but leave the scar Don't let me forget Everything You've done for me Don't let me forget The beauty in the suffering Heal the wound but leave the scar A reminder of how merciful You are I am broken, torn apart Take the pieces of this heart And heal the wound but leave the scar