Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | December 31, 2015

Carrying Excess Baggage into 2016

A Storage Problem

From time to time I find myself reluctant to dispose of things for which I have no immediate need; I rationalize and say to myself there may someday be a need for whatever is in question and I err on the side of caution and decide to store it somewhere for possible future use. It appears I’m not the only one who does this as storage facilities are to be found everywhere.

This, however, is not the sort of baggage I have in mind here; I’m thinking of the mental baggage we accumulate and lug around with us through life for which there seems to be unlimited storage space.

Each year that passes contributes its own share of baggage to our storage facility; some of that baggage is pleasant and cheerful but some of the baggage is dark and sad. The passing of years can dispose of some of the baggage but some of it seems to defy disposal and remains in storage ready to be retrieved; unfortunately the dark and sad baggage seems to fall into this category all too often.

2016 is Almost Here!

Traditionally the new year is seen as an opportunity for a new start; one sees the promise of the new year as a blank sheet of paper upon which it seems possible to write something new; a fresh start as it were.

The making of new year’s resolutions has been a part of this picture as long as I can remember followed by all the jokes about failing to keep those resolutions. I suspect we’ve all been a part of that scene at one time or another.

The challenge is the baggage we keep in storage in our minds; we carry that baggage into the new year with us and let it sabotage our efforts to make a new start.

What if it were possible to deal with the problem of excess baggage, to eliminate it as a source of trouble; would that help make a new start more feasible?

Saul of Tarsus

The early descriptions of Saul of Tarsus reveal a man with a mission; sincere, earnest, but misguided. In Acts 9:1-2 we read:

“Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.”

Can you imagine the sort of baggage that would deposit in the Apostle Paul’s baggage storage facility? It was this kind of baggage that would prompt Paul to later say, “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.” 1 Timothy 1:15

The point is even the Apostle Paul had dark and sad baggage he kept in storage; just like you and me; the Bible makes it clear, we’re all in this together.

What to do, what to do?

Fortunately the Bible has answers for us in that regard; answers that we must accept in the same way we received our salvation, acceptance completely by faith!

First we must confess our sins to God. 1 John 1:9 it is written:

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

As Christians we have the privilege of confessing our sins directly to God the Father; in His matchless grace God forgives us of our sins and purifies us from all unrighteousness. I love that part, when we confess our known sins God also forgives us our unknown sins as well; such grace!

Second, and this is important, we must believe we are forgiven and receive that forgiveness even though we don’t deserve it; just as we received our salvation, by faith alone!

Finally

Again we turn to the Apostle Paul for guidance here; Paul who had accumulated so much dark and sad baggage as Saul of Tarsus. In Philippians 3:12-14 we read:

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

Let each of us join with Paul and press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed us; forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, let us press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

May your 2016 be richly blessed by the grace of God!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: