Jesus, not our failures, defines us.

I know this is the same picture as last week. It’s not a mistake.

This past Sunday I taught about Mary Magdalene. Twelve times Scripture describes her as Mary from the town of Magdala or Magdalene. Only once is her past added to this description in that she had seven demons cast from her.

Neither she nor God focused on or defined her by her past. She was now walking with Jesus, the One who had freed and changed her life.

I used this picture to illustrate this truth. I said the boat was coming out of the storm. It was in the past. And what happened in the past stays in the past as Jesus took care of our all past choices on the cross when He said, “It is finished!”

He defines us, not our failures. Sounds great, right? Yet, I was wrong…about the picture!

After the message, two sailors in the congregation corrected me. Having owned a sailboat myself, all I had to do was take a closer look at the boat. The jib (smaller sail) was in front or to the left of the picture; and, the rudder was in the back or to the right of the picture, meaning the boat is actually sailing into the storm, not away from it!

I became the illustration! After this revelation, I had to tell myself, “I sure blew that one;” and then, “It is finished.”

Know what, though? The story works either way the boat is headed. Whether it’s stormy or calm weather, all that counts is going forward with Jesus today, in the moment.

Life will not always be smooth sailing. Mistakes will be made – whether intentional or not. Yet, Jesus has forgiven those mistakes, so I can walk with Him by faith now.

Stay focused on the truth that your past mistakes are finished, whether it was years, months, days or minutes ago, so you can make faith choices in the moment to walk with Jesus, the forgiver and redeemer of our past.

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