A few months ago, I decided to go shopping for a new pair of jeans. All my old pairs were worn out, so it was time to upgrade. I don’t really enjoy shopping, and my goal was to get in and out of this shopping experience as quickly as possible. I grabbed the first pair of jeans I saw in my size, and decided at the last second to try them on before spending the money.
I found a small, makeshift changing room in the middle of the store and walked in to try on the jeans. After getting my first leg into the pair, I noticed that they were a little tight, but – in my hurry – I decided to keep going, hoping the jeans would fit so I could get out of there. As I got my second leg about half way down the next pant-leg, my foot got caught. Before I could do anything about it, I fell uncontrollably into the side of the tiny dressing room, nearly knocking it completely over.
After the walls and the lights stopped shaking and I was able to get slowly back on my feet, thoughts began racing through my mind about all the people who must have heard and seen what just happened. Just as I was able to convince myself that “surely no one noticed” (which was impossible), a lady knocked on the door and asked if everything was going okay? Completely embarrassed, I opened the door to the dressing room door, and a small crowd of concerned onlookers had gathered to see the crazy person behind the shaking walls. In a terrible attempt to try and down play what had happened I decided to go ahead and buy these jeans that didn’t really fit. To make things worse, at the cash register I found out that they were now going to become the most expensive jeans I had ever owned! What began, as a quick shopping run became a moment in my life I wish I could do over!
As soon as I got home, I told my wife the story of all that had happened, and – through her laughter – told her that no matter how bad these jeans fit I was never going to exchange them because I was too embarrassed to show myself in that store again! Needless to say, I am now stuck with these jeans that I can’t exchange; I waited too long to return them because I was afraid to go back into the store. They are the most expensive jeans I own and I can’t even wear them. Every time I see them they just remind me of one of the most cringe-worthy moments of my life!
How many times can we look back on our lives and find moments, big and small, that we wish we could forget? Moments we wish we could exchange? Bad decisions that seem to never go away? Plans we hurried through too quickly that ended in a crash? These moments can stay with us a long time. They can cause us to live in fear and regret, and keep us from a better future.
The good news for us is that Jesus came to make it possible for us to exchange our past mistakes, shames, and hang-ups for a future of infinite worth. The lies of the world for the truth of God. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new is here!” When we exchange our old past for a new life with Christ, we get a brand new start. Jesus made it possible for our past to completely die, and for our future to be made new.
When we exchange our plans, decisions, choices, and hurts for the truth of who God has created us to be, we become free to live out a future that is without shame and regret. We no longer have to live with the fear that our past can bring. And those moments in our past that we think will never leave us can become important reminders that our future looks totally different!
What moments do you need to exchange for a new future? What plans and decisions do you need to give to Jesus to be free from shame and regret?
I may not have the opportunity to exchange the worst pair of jeans I have ever owned, but I always have the opportunity to allow Christ to redeem my past sins and live out a God-centered life and future with Jesus Christ!
Today is a great day to say “yes” to Jesus, exchanging your past for a brand new future.