Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Luggage (08/15/05)
TITLE: Spiritual Luggage
By Patrick Harman
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I ponder, why are we (myself included) so easily swayed to pick up this extra baggage along the way. Especially, considering that God made the basic message of salvation and living for Him so clear. It is so simple that even a child can understand it.
Yet here is a bag labeled “Things I must do to earn the Lord’s love”. And, we enthusiastically grab it and go our way. Soon, we are bogged down with formulas and practices, hoping that Jesus is taking notice of our “devotion” to Him – hoping that He will bless us, because of our efforts. Yet, deep inside we know that He loves us with an everlasting love. That His eyes are upon us at all times. And that there is nothing we can do to earn His love.
Later we see some luggage that calls out to us, “Come, join our group. We are separate and special in God’s eyes. See, our theology is better than everyone else’s.” Oh, how we like the sound of that. After all, my church certainly doesn’t have it all together. Now, I can be with the “in-crowd”. Now, I can proselytize my new theology with authority. After all, we are God’s chosen! And if they don’t accept it (that is, if they do not accept me), then I have good reason to break fellowship with them. How it grieves me, when I see Christians, especially baby Christians, pulled away by false doctrine and cultish people.
On down the road, there is a large, heavy bag that speaks out, “serve, serve, serve. You must be busy about the Father’s work!”. Well, how busy. “Oh, very busy. In fact you must be busy all day on Sunday, then Tuesday and Thursday prayer, midweek on Wednesday, and of course home groups on Friday. And, by the way, don’t forget about practice on Saturday mornings.” But, why? The excess baggage responds, “How can you question that? This is how you show God how much you love Him, and care for His people.” It doesn’t take long before you burn out and leave your church and that luggage behind.
You like your new church, until you spot something familiar. Some of the people there are carrying around the same bags as you had! And there are more bags off in the corner. How could that be? I was sure I had left them behind.
All the time, the Lord is waiting to pull you in His arms and love you tenderly. Not for what you have done, not for what you believe or what group you are in, and certainly because of how busy you are. All He wants is a willing and contrite heart. He desires, and even needs your time and attention, so He can pour out Himself upon us. He is looking for a pure heart. Out of these flow the streams of life. You will not have to earn life, you will become life to all those around you. Praise Him for His everlasting love!
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