“He Slayed the Dragon at the Cross,” Galatians 3:1-3; 13-14
There really are monsters under the bed, except they aren’t haunting entities from another world; well not exactly. They live in the hauntings of dreams and nightmares. They live in our memories, I think in two ways.
(1) There are familial memories. What I’ve come to describe as pet dragons in the basement. They are spiritual sicknesses that families not only pass on from one generation to another, but often nurture and keep as pets in the basement. The men in my family’s alcoholism. A critical spirit in another family. Racism. The wounds of racism. Abuse. Past hurts. Spiritual sicknesses caused by various enslavements in this world. We keep them chained in the basement and usually think they are our pets. We think we have them mastered when we are the ones being mastered by them. These are hard memories to deal with because they are wispy, smoky, and indistinct. We cannot solve these problems for everybody in our families but we can get into the basements of our own minds and slay them because Christ made a way at the Cross. There is existential freedom in Christ! Thoughts matter!
(2) There are our Memories from our own experience. This is less wispy and it will be our focus today. The ways in which we interpret our past experiences – the ways we frame them in our thoughts – will determine the extent to which past events control, shape, or unjustly influence us.
Our memories can be a wealth of praiseworthy testimony or a pile of rubbish, where our struggle is remembered but God’s deliverance is forgotten. We must be prayerful, careful, and wise how we interpret our past. Memories are not the past. They are the combination of real events and our interpretation of them. It is our thoughts, not past events, that shape our future. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – II Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
CIT/CIS: Christ has slain the dragons of past sin, hurts, and enslavement to the memories of them. There is real freedom at the Cross!
God was in your past. Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against
me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people.” This is
Joseph talking to his brothers who had tried to kill him and then sold him off
into slavery. If anybody ever had reason to be scarred by the pain of the past,
to a frame a memory purely negatively, it was him.
This is not to trivialize trial but to sensationalize Sovereignty!
2. Your past does not control your future. II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” The ultimate promise of Scripture is that one day Christ shall return and this dispensation or epoch of human history shall be consummated when Christ reigns in fullness. Here is a great truth: that fullness of Christ reign has already begun in us. We have access to fullness of freedom in Christ because the perfection to come is already glimpsed in us. His future controls our future, not our past!
3. Your memories result from our interpretation of our past. Psalm 78:11, “They forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them.” The real battle is for the mind. If our enemy can rob us of the joy of remembering the faithfulness of God he can subdue us. Better to subdue Him. Hold the memories of God’s faithfulness close. Don’t ever forget what God has brought you through! Frame memories in His faithfulness!
Marks of a Redeemed Memory
1. Deepening Repentance. Romans 6:21, “But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed?” Reshape who we will become. We are no longer controlled by the past. Repentance is a great gift. The call to repentance isn’t a call to shame. It’s a declaration that God isn’t finished with you; that sin doesn’t own us!
Thomas Watson: “Godly sorrow goes deep, like a vein which bleeds inwardly. The heart bleeds for sin: “they were pricked in their heart” (Act 2:37). As the heart bears a chief part in sinning, so it must in sorrowing.”
Cupcake unchained at the door of home!
Heightened Gratitude. I Timothy 1:15-17, “The saying is trustworthy and
deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save
sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” Through gratitude we can reshape our mind, retrain ourselves to think
God’s thoughts about us!
3. Broader Effectiveness in Helping Others. II Corinthians 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted.” This is an often forgotten principle: we grow most when we get low enough to serve others!
Heartbreak Ridge. Act like Marines / Be Marines! If have received Christ by faith we are already free! We have to drop the unlocked chains of the past and live like it! Inherited and created pet dragons were slain at the Cross!
[Recap] Christ has slain the dragons of past sin, hurts, and enslavement to the memories of them. There is real freedom at the Cross! Amen.
 Outline Adapted From: Robert Jones, Bad Memories – Getting Past Your Past, (P&R Publishing, 1959).