Why We Should Walk Through Past Pain


When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. — Acts 14:21-23

So Paul and Barnabas hit four cities here. And based on what Luke writes, this means they travel back through Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. And remember, they were not treated very well in these three cities. They were chased out of two of them and stoned in one of them.

But herein lies a great lesson.

Sometimes to go forward, we have to go back. We have to go back through pain, persecution, and problems that we have tried to ignore. And this is hard sometimes. The wounds and scars run deep. But our past is always with us. It's a part of who we are. And we can try to ignore it, deny it, forget it or avoid it, but this does no one any good. And we see in this text that Paul is a tough man. He is willing to do challenging things. He is willing to encounter again those who chased him off and tried to stone him, which certainly left him emotionally and physically wounded forever.

But if he doesn't go back the way he came, then he is not strengthened, and neither are the churches. By simply showing up, his body became a witness of what he was willing to endure for Christ. And this strengthened his message and became a testimony to others of what he hoped they would endure.

Do you see the lesson?

The lesson is this. We have a choice. We can ignore our past. Or we can walk back through it. And when we walk through it in the power of the Spirit and the character of Christ, our past can become a testimony. A testimony to God's strength working through us. So fellas — be strong today. Be tough. Don't give up. And don't be afraid of your past. It does not define you. Only God defines and redefines men.

ASK THIS: Is there a past you need to walk back through? (Share below if you dare!)

DO THIS: Be tough and strong. You are wonderfully and beautifully made.

PRAY THIS: God, I need your Spirit to give me the strength to do the hard thing. To address my past. Help me to see how you use this to redefine me.

PLAY THIS: Beautiful Things.


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Why We Should Walk Through Past Pain

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21 thoughts on “Why We Should Walk Through Past Pain

  1. Jack Dellinger says:

    For about 50 years I carried a crippling memory from the past. I really didn’t realize how much that memory hindered me until the day, I finally gave up and admitted in front of a group of men how much that event had controlled my behavior. What I expected was rejection, because frankly that is how I felt about myself. To my surprise, men surrounded me with love because these were courageous men who had overcome in their own lives or men wanting to have the courage to do what I had just done. That was over six years ago. I only wish I had confronted this memory years earlier.

  2. samcblower says:

    Every time I fly in one of these big jet airliners I am so thankful that the pilot had to keep practicing the landing of the aircraft over and over until he could do it perfectly, and he is only concerned with my physical well-being. It is so very critical for us to continue learning and training , especially in those areas of weakness until we learn to overcome and/or get it right. After all, we are dealing with not only our spiritual wellbeing, but also the eternal lives of others that God brings onto the pathway the lays in front of us. Our trials and struggles are the fruit of our testimony that can best reach a lost world and provide the encouragement for others to also become overcomers.

  3. Leo Draveling says:

    Really enjoyed this lesson, as I was able to look back on past pains and not be bothered by them or feel shame, only because of my faith in God’s grace.

  4. James Gould says:

    I would like to know how many times must we walk thru our past…. Seriously I am going thru it again right now, and would really like it to be the last time. I need spiritual change so I don’t keep repeating the same stupid mistakes

    Thanks Vince for put all this together……. GREAT TOOLS !!!!!

  5. Matthew W says:

    My past is a past of substance abuse, specifically alcoholism. It’s something that I’ve been ashamed of and have had a tough time being honest about and being open with.

  6. Dennis says:

    In our ministry , I share my story repeatedly. It hurts to re-visit my past, but I know that in sharing , others find healing. Pain is weakness leaving the body. God took the ugly and the pain in my life and uses it for His glory praise God!

    • Roger L says:

      Thanks Vince for a great “universally “ true message. As part of the ministry of Celebrate Recovery, this is a message we truly aspire to apply. Our past is part of us, but it does not define us, only God can do that. Thanks for the reminder and the scripture passage to back it up. What a great example of how God’s word applies and works in our lives today!

  7. Cory B says:

    As much as I would like to blame the others, more often than not, it was my slow to listen, quick to speak and quick to anger attitude that ended and ruined several relationships. It has been a repetitive cycle of sin. I’m in a much better place today, but I’m still fearful of that past man showing up eventually.

  8. Rex says:

    Yes – continue to reach out to a comrade who is in need Who I have not always been on the same page with.

  9. Justin says:

    I needed to hear this today. My job was eliminated two days ago and I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on myself, wondering if there’s anything I could’ve done better in order to prevent it from happening. I’m drawing comfort from being reminded that God – not my job – is who defines me…

  10. Eddie Ackerman says:

    in high school, i cheated on my girlfriend through a series of red flags i missed simply because i was making one bad choice after another, then like king david, i lied about it and compounded my sin, then i confessed to her and forgot that her mom screened her email (i was cowardly trying to avoid an in person conversation) and when i finally worked up the courage to talk to her in person, her mom just reamed into me, as she should have. i never repeated this mistake, but did deal with an addiction to pornography for a decade or so after this. once i asked for help from my wife, i was able to overcome this also, a great reminder that living life solo fails WAY MORE OFTEN than not.

    • Lynn says:

      My past has painful memories of sin and bad choices in the flesh. God has taken me by the hand and has led me to be a servant for my church and Him. Thankful for his forgiveness and grace.

  11. Ted says:

    This could not have been more perfect nailing for me the direction I need to return through. I know there will be an awesome testimony in it all. Thanks.

  12. Jonatha Creel says:

    Good morning. Thank you so much for the devotionals.
    The devotionals and challenges have improved my life greatly. Time in God’s word.
    You’re doing a great job Vince. Keep it up.

  13. Mark says:

    WOW what a powerful reminder Vince. My past is littered with painful memories of sin and shameful choices in the flesh. The journey I am on now has led me out of that lifestyle and into a daily walk with Christ. Thanks for reminding me that through God all things are possible and that in HIM, I do have a testimony, a true witness and experience for other men like me who feel trapped and unworthy. Praise God today that HE loves me and has forgiven me of that sinful past!

  14. Carl Snider says:

    Some of my past is very painful but through it God has drawn my wife and myself closer to Him. God gives us strength and courage to get through each and every day. Please pray for my wife that she will feel God’s love, grace, and mercy for her. She is not the person from the past. We are being made new through God.

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