Yes, you really can Get Over Your Past …and move on.
By Kenneth Copeland
One afternoon several years ago, I was in a hotel room preparing to preach a message. As I was studying, I stopped for a moment to pray in the spirit. When I did, I had a vision.
I saw a 6-inch pipe suspended about 18 inches away from my face and angled up at about 45 degrees. It was like looking up through a telescope. I could see into one end of the pipe, but it was clogged and dark.
Behind this pipe was another pipe, also at a 45-degree angle. The two were end-to-end but not connected. And there was some sort of substance gushing out of the second pipe down toward the one closest to me.
Because of the clog in the first pipe, however, only a trickle of the substance managed to make its way through and come out the end that was facing me. There was just enough of it getting past the clog to squirt me in the face.
When I saw all this, I yelled, “What is this?”
Then I heard the Lord say, That’s My glory being poured out toward your spirit…but that pipe is your spirit and it’s so clogged that there’s only a tiny spew getting through it.
When I asked the Lord what I needed to do to fix it, He said, Purge the pipe.
He then went on to explain that the pipe—my spirit—had become clogged over the years with spiritual filth that comes from unconfessed sin. He gave me specific examples of the kinds of sin He was talking about. As it turned out, it wasn’t the “BIG” sins in life that were stopping up my spirit. I had been diligent to repent of those.
Rather, it was the small, day-to-day sins that were clogging my spirit. Harsh words to my wife, complaints about bad service in restaurants, fussing over traffic—those were the sins I had failed to confess. Those were the sins that were keeping me from receiving the full force of God’s mighty outpouring in my life.
Declogging Your Spirit
As believers we have the assurance that “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
We are also encouraged in 1 John 2:1 that “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” When it comes to any mess-ups we make in life, the blood of Jesus has us covered.
But what about all those haunting “sins from the past”…you know the kind?
You’re Cadillac-ing along in life and everything is going smoothly. Then one night you lay down to go to sleep…and suddenly, a terrible “flash from the past” crosses your mind. You see pictured in your mind’s eye a sin you committed years ago.
Fear is trying to move in on you. The devil is trying to terrorize you with thoughts that what you did years ago might “come out” in the open. Oh, God, what would I do if people found out?
Well I’m here to tell you that there’s a supernatural way to “purge the pipe.” There is a way you can supernaturally forget the sins of your past once you confess them to God and repent. You can forget them once and for all, the way God does when He forgives us.
The challenge for us, however, is that we are made up of three parts. We are a spirit. We have a soul—our mind, will and emotions. And we live in a body.
So not only do we need our spirits purged of all our old hidden, secret sins from the past, but we also need our souls cleansed as well. We need our memories free of those past sins that the devil uses to try and create fear in us.
God has already purged His memory of all the sins we have confessed to Him—those sins have been washed by the blood of the Lamb.
God has given us everything we need to cleanse our spirits—His Name, His Word and His blood. And He has also given us the ability—and responsibility—to cleanse our minds of past sins as well. As new creations in Christ Jesus, we have been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We have been given the mind of the Anointed One, Jesus, and His Anointing.
Once we purge our minds of the memory of old sins, we then open ourselves up to the full force of God’s supernatural outpouring—that powerful substance I saw gushing out of the pipe in my vision. And that’s exactly what the devil does not want to happen.
You Be the Judge
Over the years, a lack of knowledge about spiritual laws and truth has kept countless Christians entrapped in meaningless, religious activity that is directed at trying to purge and cleanse themselves of past sins.
Yet those religious activities never come close to the real root of the problem or offer any true solution.
Ask me how I know.
After years of crying, repenting and rededicating myself…crying, repenting and rededicating myself…I finally gave up and walked away from the Church because I could never get rid of the guilt and condemnation of my sins as a young man.
In the first place, I wasn’t even born again. And no one ever seemed to realize that was a major part of my problem. But even if I had been saved, it still would have been a challenge to be genuinely free from guilt and shame because as a child in church I failed to hear anything except repent and rededicate…repent and rededicate. They had a stack of “rededication” cards on me. All that time I never received Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
What we all needed back then was a revelation of 1 Corinthians 11:31-32, which says, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”
To be totally free from the sins of our past we first need to step boldly into the light and judge ourselves. I say step boldly into the light because 1 John 1:7 tells us, “If we walk in the light, as [God] is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
If we purpose to “walk in the light,” then we will not walk in sin. But when we do miss it and sin, we simply need to confess our sin—call it what it is—repent and receive our cleansing from all unrighteousness, which purges our spirits from that sin. It’s when we commit a sin and say, “I have no sin,” that we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8). We must step out into the light and judge ourselves. To judge ourselves simply means to take an honest look at ourselves and ask, What’s wrong, here? What am I not doing right? By seeking the truth we’re in a position to hear from God about what we did wrong and the adjustments we need to make in a particular area of our lives.
The point I really want to make, however, is that when the Spirit of God convicts you of a sin—and you know it, you know what you did wrong, or what you’re doing wrong—don’t mess around with it. Call it what it is—sin—and get rid of it.
For example, men, if you’re easily tempted with pornography (on television, the Internet or in magazines) and you allow your eyes to linger on something you have no business looking at, don’t try to con God, yourself or anyone else, by saying you have a problem…or a weakness. No, it’s lust. And it’s sin.
And don’t bother trying to blame it on your hormones, either.
Just confess the lust, repent and purge your spirit of it. Don’t give the devil one moment of opportunity to tempt you to keep it “in the dark.” Instead, step out into the light of God’s presence and see it for what it is…and you be the judge.
No More Sin Symptoms
As I said earlier, once we go through the process of judging ourselves and repenting of sin, it’s important that we also purge our conscience of those sins. We can do that under the New Covenant by the blood of Jesus.
In contrast, under the Old Covenant it was not possible for the Hebrew people to cleanse their conscience of sin. Hebrews 10:1-2, explains: “For the law [Old Covenant] having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.”
In the days of the Old Covenant, there was a set time each year when the people would make a special sacrificial offering of animals. It was the time of atonement and the blood of the animals was offered for all the sins of the people. As the Hebrew people gave their offerings they were required to recount in their minds all the sins they had committed that year. They were to remember their wickedness and be consciously sorrowful for it.
That’s why Hebrews 10:3 tells us, “But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.” Under the Old Covenant, the people of God focused on remembering their sins, not forgetting them. The sacrificial animals were killed and their death represented the death of each person—death being the end result of their sins. The life, or blood of the animals was offered as atonement for the lives of the worshippers. Their sins were cleansed, but not the memory of them.
Now when we step over into the New Covenant, we see throughout the Bible how the Savior of mankind, Jesus, was represented as a Lamb. The reason being that out of all the animals, the lamb represents total and complete innocence. It’s also an animal that cannot possibly hurt anyone or anything.
Jesus became that Lamb, that innocent, harmless sacrifice for man’s wickedness. But notice the difference in His blood sacrifice for our sins, as seen in Hebrews 1:1-3:
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Jesus purged our sins. He purged them by His blood, which takes us back to Hebrews 10:2, “…the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.”
We need to get the “thoughts and intent of our heart” to become one with our soul by the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). With our spirits reborn and purged of sin, we need our minds renewed and purged of the memory of past sin. The Name of Jesus and the blood of Jesus have removed the sin—if we’ve been diligent to confess it. All that remains is the memory of it.
Bury the “Old You”
The Apostle Paul, back in his earlier days before he actually got born again, had a widespread reputation for persecuting and even killing Christians.
Still he was the same man who wrote, “Receive us; we have wronged no man…” (2 Corinthians 7:2). How could a one-time ruthless killer say, “I have wronged no man”?
How could he say that with a clear conscience?
To begin with, we know that God directed Paul to stop what he was doing and go off into the desert of Arabia. While it’s not known how many years Paul actually stayed out there, we do know he stayed there until he was totally purged of all the sin—all that persecution against Christians—he had committed in his earlier life.
How did he get rid of all those old memories?
The same way we can today—by meditating on the promises of God. Paul meditated on the blood of Jesus and the Name of Jesus until his spirit was purged, until his mind was purged, until his whole memory process was purged of his past sins.
After all, it was Paul who also wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26:
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
Notice Paul’s account of the instructions Jesus gave to His disciples—and us—concerning the covenant bread and cup: “This do ye…in remembrance of me.”
Remembrance is the key.
Jesus was telling us to replace all the ungodly junk from our past—whether it was 20 years ago or 20 minutes ago—with remembering Him. He was telling us to remember Him and what He did for us…His body broken for us…His blood shed for us.
Once we sit in judgment over ourselves, judging sin in our lives, confessing it and receiving forgiveness and cleansing from it, any image of that sin that comes up from that moment on is only a symptom of that sin. It is not the sin itself.
Again, Paul said, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Add to that, verse 21, which says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in [Jesus].” Then it becomes clear how Paul could boldly and publicly declare, “I have wronged no man.”
Saul, murderous sinner that he was, died on the road to Damascus when he cried out to Jesus, “Lord!” At that moment he became a new creation—in Christ Jesus. He became the righteousness of God—in Christ Jesus. And when anything rose up contrary to this great revelation Paul had received from God, he set his focus on the spotless, sinless, innocent Lamb of God sacrificed for him—Christ Jesus.
Today when something from your “past” raises its ugly head and starts speaking contrary to what the Word of God says about you, run to the communion table. Set the covenant cup and the bread before you…and just remember. Fix your memory on Him and not on yourself.
When you eat the bread and drink of the cup, force yourself to behold the Lamb of God. Force yourself to think on Him.
Hebrews 12:2-3 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
Looking unto Jesus…consider Him.
When the devil starts trying to get you to remember the “old you” and weigh you down with sins from the past, just go to the communion table and fix your mind on Jesus. Put yourself in remembrance of Him and purge your soul of the past.
Supernatural forgetfulness will keep you wide open to the flow of God’s glory.
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