On your journey to discipleship, it’s important to remember following Jesus is always about the next step. We aren’t concerned with where He’s leading us, we’re simply content to follow. A hallmark of discipleship is never looking back. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, or what you’ve done. The blood, grace, and love of Jesus makes all which has come before irrelevant. We are who He says we are, and He sees only who we are becoming.
As far as God is concerned, the past doesn’t matter. He’s not interested in what you’ve done, only in what you will do for His Kingdom. He holds no grudges. Jesus never looks at what you’ve messed up in the past as an indicator of what you might accomplish in the future.
Having written so much about discipleship and the attributes of a disciple, it struck me I had not said enough about the pre-qualification process for the role. The good news, of course, is you can’t pre-qualify. You’d never make the cut; neither would I. There has never been anyone, nor will there ever be, who would qualify to be a disciple of Jesus. We’ve all made mistakes. Some of us have made huge mistakes. In case you still have doubts, let me be perfectly clear. There is no size or amount of sin able to keep you from being used by Christ.
Nothing in your past will ever disqualify you from being a disciple in the future. I have my fair share of wreckage on the path behind me. I’m not sure whether I’ve amassed more damage or missed opportunities in my life. Together they make quite a catastrophe. Praise God the past doesn’t matter. I should have been disqualified several times over from endeavoring to live the life of a disciple. By God’s grace, He kept calling me, compelling me, to come closer. I shudder to think of my life without Him.
In the eyes of the world, you may have done far worse than I have. Let me say it once more: the past doesn’t matter. You can’t out-sin the forgiveness of God. The biggest mistake you could make would be to disqualify yourself. If you allow Satan to convince you you don’t qualify, then you won’t. Disciples of Jesus don’t listen to the devil. We see him for who he is. We’ve chosen a better way, and it’s open to anyone who will choose it.
The past doesn’t matter, but the future certainly does. What you do with your future is entirely up to you. Nothing can keep you from God if you should choose to pursue Him (Romans 8:38-39). But you must make the effort. You must make the choice. You can’t be a half-way disciple. It’s not something you can try on to see if it fits. Discipleship is an all or nothing proposition. Jesus is either worth everything to you or He’s worth nothing at all. The lukewarm need not apply. Now it’s your turn; will you stay trapped in your past or move forward to the only future worth living?