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Getting Past Your Past

If you grew up in the country, you might cringe when you see a man in skinny jeans instead of Wranglers. If you grew up in the North, you might not know that women who say “Bless their hearts” really aren’t blessing anyone. We are all shaped in some way by the place where we grew up.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, lived for a few years in Egypt but grew up in Nazareth--a small town known for its independent and aloof attitude. Other Jews looked down on Nazareth because they perceived it to be a city of know-it-alls. When Philip told Nathanael that the Messiah was a man from Nazareth, Nathanael’s first reaction was "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46).

Jesus was living in the shadow of his surroundings, but Jesus never let where He was from define who He would become. Instead, Jesus looked to God to give his life definition. Breaking the stereotypes of a Nazarene, Jesus embraced the people others were afraid to interact with. He healed lepers, ate with sinners and gave women roles in ministry.

Jesus didn’t let the place where He grew up define Him, and neither should we. When we accept Jesus as our savior, we are made new! Our past is history and the shadow of our surroundings is lifted. Jesus trades in our hometown and gives us a promise of a home in Heaven with Him. So don’t let the shadow of your circumstance determine your actions. Instead, let the light of God’s promise for your life empower you to defeat your circumstances and impact your surroundings.

Reflection:

What attitudes or opinions does God need to reshape or reframe in you?

How has God used your past to show you His purpose for your future?

The view of Nazareth from Mount Precipice 

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