You by Design, Part 2

Going Back to Go Forward
September 17, 2023 | By Paul Crouthamel

One thing is true of every follower of Jesus, regardless of how you discovered Jesus or when you started following him: We all have a past. Your past is a significant factor that helps explain the person you have become and the person you are becoming. It has an invaluable role in forming your new identity in Christ.


We’re Here For You
Jeremy Riddle

The Passion
Hillsong Worship

Firm Foundation (He Won’t)
Cody Carnes

Bigger Than I Thought


Our past doesn’t define us, it shapes us.

Acts 26:4-5
The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee…

Acts 26:9-11
I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.

Living Out Our New Identity
1. Acknowledge our past.

1 Timothy 1:12-16
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

Living Out Our New Identity
2. Allow Jesus to reshape our past experiences and retell our story through His redeeming grace.

How it Helps
1. It helps us avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Pete Scazzaro, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
“Those who cannot learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”

How it Helps
2. It frees us from hiding.

How it Helps
3. It allows Jesus to reshape your present and your future.

Acts 26:19-20
So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.

Romans 12:1-2
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.