California is a unique place, and the people who live there (I believe) love to tell you where they are from. They are fully aware that there is no other place like California. California is a destination for millions of vacationers and dreamers, with bright lights and big cities in their eyes. However, those from there wear it as badge of honor, even if they have to move somewhere else. I know people who have lived in Texas for 30 years, but still identify themselves as from California. It is just amazing to me.
It’s good to know where you come from, emotionally and spiritually also. It’s even better not to forget it. Now, I don’t mean in a way of longing and wanting to return, but to always keep that place in your memory for two reasons:
- There are people who are still there, who need you to identify with them. You were brought out of that place, but you know and remember what it’s like to be there. You should have patience and compassion on those who are still there. Your testimony provides hope to those who hear it, longing to be where you are. Love them enough not to abandon them in that place.
- You don’t want to end up drifting back there yourself. Knowing where you have come from should be the greatest motivation NOT to return. You intimately know the signs and if you aren’t careful, you can ignore them, returning to the dangerous comforts of THAT place. Love yourself enough to be aware of your emotional and spiritual surroundings, so you won’t end up back there yourself.
In The Gospel According to John (chapter 4), Jesus came across a woman, who lived in Samaria. In that place, everyone knew her dirty (not so) little secrets. Because of her history, she was the subject of whispers, and the focus of stares. Her situation was so severe that she would purposefully avoid any interactions with others there. It was under these circumstances that she runs into Jesus. He was the first person to confront her past, without condemning her for it. His unconditional love, and undeniable power rescued her from her emotional prison, giving her freedom that she had never experienced before.
It would have been reasonable for her to have just dropped everything, and followed Jesus to a new life elsewhere. In fact, if I were her, that’s probably what I would have done. But she was different. She knew where she had come from. She also knew there was power in her testimony. So instead of filling up with shame and running away, she went back THERE! She was open and honest about what happened, and because of it, a revival broke out in the city!
If there are places in your past, that you are glad you were delivered from, wear it as a badge of honor. Whether you’re out on bail, fresh out of jail, or from a state that’s untouchable like Elliot Ness, let people know, where you’ve come from! Don’t glorify the place, but glorify the grace. The grace that saved you, because it is the same grace that keeps you and saves others. Don’t be ashamed of the fact that you were there. Own it. Let others find hope in your story.
© 2016 Derek J. Murphy Enterprises, and I AM KINGDOM Publishing, All Rights Reserved.
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“California Love” Written by Tupac Shakur, Andre Young, Woodrow Cunningham, Norman Durham, Mikel Hooks, Ronald Hudson, Christopher Stainton, Larry Troutman, Roger Troutman, and J-Flexx. Produced by Dr. Dre. Performed by 2-Pac, featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman. Released 1995.