Are You A Junkyard Dog Chained To Your Past?
God made him who has no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
A junk yard dealer was losing more through theft than he was selling, so he bought a dog—a mean one, too, who not only barked but bit as well. To restrain the dog, the old man put a chain on him. When someone would climb over the fence and head for the old auto parts, the dog would charge the intruder and run with teeth bared as far as his chain would reach. By the time he got to the end of the chain, the intruder had done a fast reverse and headed over the wall. In time the dog knew how far the chain reached and instinctively would stop short of the end, thus saving his head from a vicious jerk.
In time, however, the chain rusted out, yet the junkyard dog would run the prescribed number of steps and throw on his brakes, not realizing the chain no longer constrained him and the he was free to roam where he chose.
A lot of us, perhaps you included, are like the junkyard dog. You’ve had habits that restrained you and held you shackled, but then you became a Christian and God broke those habits, yet you have trouble realizing you are free and that you are no longer under the bondage of your sinful past.
It may be memories that shackle you, or the feeling that you aren’t good enough, or that you have a past. Paul told us that if a person is in Christ, he is a new person. The old passes, the new life in Christ is your passport to freedom.
I’ve never heard of a man in prison staying there when the jailer unlocked the door and went home, yet I suppose that might well happen. Some folks, like Dr. Manette in Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, are chained to their past, just as Dicken’s character was, feeling more secure at his cobbler’s bench (as he had done in the Bastille) than roaming the streets of Paris.
Yet as Dr. Manette overcame the trauma of eighteen years in prison, he conquered his past and became a kind and loving father who put his daughter’s happiness above everything else.
To break the chains of your past, you need to discover several truths:
- Your feelings are not a barometer of your spiritual health. Remember the old junkyard dog felt like he had to stop as he did for years when the chain restrained him. The promises of God’s Word that you are forgiven, that you are a new person, that the past is wiped out are facts, regardless of how you feel. Educate your feelings by making the promises of God’s Word in your Bible, by proclaiming, “Hey, they have my name on them! I’m free!” What God has set free, no man or devil has the right to put in bondage.
- When God forgives you, He wipes the slate clean as though you had never stumbled. Those who have seen Mel Gibson’s powerful film, “The Passion of the Christ,” know what happened when Christ died, but in a few phrases, Paul says what happened. Here it is: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). In other words, He paid the price of failure, which means you go free! The chains are gone!
- Restoration and healing are all part of what Jesus came to do. He’s in the business of bringing liberty, not bondage. When Jesus’ friend Lazarus came out of the grave, Jesus said, “Loose him and let him go!” Emotional healing is all part of the package, so when you hesitate to leave the junkyard of the past, the chains are broken.
Resource reading: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21.