We’re all influenced by our past in one way or another: How we were raised, our parent’s weaknesses and strengths, the culture we were raised in, our past memories, the belief systems we were taught, etc. Of course some of those influences were positive and will remain so in the future. On the other hand, others were destructive and have already sabotaged relationships, finances, lifestyles and especially our walk with God!
Understanding this fundamental truth equips us to begin breaking out of the boundaries set by these past influences, because these things keep us from experiencing the kind of success for which God created us.
The Bible has a lot to say about these things. It teaches us in Exodus 34:7 that the iniquities of our fathers are carried down from generation to generation, even up to the fourth generation. Have you ever said, “I never want to be like my father or mother” because of their destructive habit patterns? But then you wound up doing or saying the same things? Do you realize you probably think, cook, keep house, work, act, believe and relate to others the same way your parents did?
Two things from my childhood stand out to show me the need to go back… in order for me to go forward.
- Because my father, his father and his 3 brothers operated a 24-hour, 7 days a week family business, our family life was completely enmeshed with our work life. Everything in our lives was intertwined with operating the business. Holidays, birthdays and everyday life was incorporated with work. There was no separation. I learned early in life that family and work were one and the same.
I became a workaholic, and that didn’t change even after I was born again. I desired to keep every family member involved in the work of the ministry because it seemed natural that family life and work life were tied together. It was implanted in me as a child, along with many other faulty beliefs. It became my DNA, affecting me after I accepted Jesus as Lord.
- My mother was a great woman, but she was an absolute perfectionist, which instilled a performance mentality in me. She showed me great love when I performed in ways that pleased her, but withheld love when I didn’t perform correctly. (She thought she was helping me by controlling me to please her.)
Because of this I became not only a workaholic, but one who worked hard for approval and acceptance. I was one driven, performance-oriented person! You can imagine the trouble that caused in every area of my life, including my family and my marriage.
When I gave my life to Jesus I still lived under the same influences and with the same problems as I had before I became a Believer. Unfortunately, I was taught early in my Christian walk that if I wanted to move forward I should never look back.
I bet you have a similar story. We need to break that religious tradition by having the courage to look back and honestly examine our family and cultural upbringing. Our emotional healing and future success as children of God depend on it.
We have to go back before we go forward and here’s how:
- Get out of denial and break the religious myth that after we’re saved, we don’t have to deal with our past. 2 Corinthians 5:17 is talking about our spirit, not our soul.
- Don’t deny your feelings. Listen to them because they reveal where and who you are on the inside.
- Break ties to your family culture. Remember, you’re in God’s family now, so adopt His culture. Jesus said if you don’t love Him more than your mother and father, you aren’t one of His.
- As the Holy Spirit reveals past things, crucify them by repenting and denying them access to your life again.
- Finally, embrace your new family’s culture and beliefs. YOU CAN’T GO FORWARD UNTIL YOU FIRST GO BACK!
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