Has it ever happened to you? You arrive from your flight, make your way to the baggage claim area, and wait for the conveyor belt to deliver your luggage. As you wait and wait everyone else leaves and you are left standing alone, not holding your bags. Somewhere and somehow they lost your luggage.
As upsetting as this scenario may be, in a spiritual way it is good for us to lose our baggage. All of us have accumulated an immense weight of sin and guilt in our lives. We carry that weight of condemnation with us everywhere we go. Our over-the-limit sins weigh us down and separate us from our loving Heavenly Father. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Paul, overcome with the accumulated weight of his sins, described himself as the chief of sinners. I think every one of us need to come to understand that we are the worst sinner we know.
However, God has made a way so we do not have to carry those heavy bags of sin. Jesus Christ died on the cross and paid the penalty that we owed. He died so that we do not have to bear the weight of those sins any longer. All we need to do is repent of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ. When we leave our heavily overstuffed baggage of sin at the cross, God loses them in the sea of forgetfulness. He removes them as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more. Rom. 8:1 gives us some glorious news: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…”
Once in a while even those who have trusted Christ as Savior will see the luggage of condemnation showing up on our doorsteps. We will be tempted to load it on our backs as our pride tells us that Jesus sacrifice couldn’t possibly be enough to secure the Father’s love for us. Let us lose the luggage of condemnation and kneel in worship to the One who bore our sins.
Walking across a field one day, I happened to see a huge rock on a fence post. A little further on I noticed a few more. I naturally wondered why they were there. The best reason I could come up with is that the farmer saw the rock and didn’t want to damage his equipment so he just placed the rocks on the fence post perhaps intending to retrieve them in the future. I stand ready to be corrected if anyone knows the real reason. However the rock on the fence post does remind me of some people in our world today. They have a fear of commitment. They can’t make up their mind about things, so they go through life sitting on the fence. This fear of commitment is seen in marriage and results in many divorces. It is seen in the workplace and the university with such a high degree of turnovers. We also see it in churches where people may attend sporadically yet do not commit to join the church or get involved in its ministries. Many of God’s people are living as a rock on a fence post.
Elijah faced the children of Israel who had a similar fear of commitment. On Mount Carmel, his contest with the prophets of Baal resulted in fire coming down from heaven and proving the reality of the true God of Heaven. He issued this challenge In 1 Kings 18:21: “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word”. When the fire fell the Israelites finally got off the fence and followed the true God.
Perhaps you are sitting on the fence of making a lifetime commitment to Jesus Christ. Maybe you have not made that decision to be a fully devoted follower of Christ. Maybe you haven’t decided to worship Him fervently, live for him selflessly, or serve Him exclusively. Don’t you think it is high time to make up your mind? Don’t live the rest of your life like a rock on a fence post?
Eating a high fat diet makes one at risk for heart problems. Consuming an overabundance of carbs and sugar makes one at risk for diabetes. Too much salt and you are at risk for high blood pressure. Doctors are always warning us about maintaining a healthy diet so we will not be at risk for harmful health problems that may be preventable. However many of us continue to eat what we want and think that it will never happen to me. Somehow we develop a superman complex.
Some Christians, including Christian leaders consider themselves beyond the reach of certain sins. They think they are men or women of steel and foolishly state: “it will never happen to me”. Pursuing an adulterous affair, embezzling or misusing funds, or even walking away from the Lord may be the farthest thing from our thinking. However, every one of us need to realize that we are all at risk to the power of sin. Even the great apostle Paul confessed: “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1Cor. 9:27). He was willing to admit his vulnerability to sin and take extraordinary measures to guard against it. Robert Robinson captures this truth in a stanza of his famous hymn, Come Thou Fount: “O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let thy goodness, like a fetter bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above”.
Those of us who know the Lord need to keep a close watch on our spiritual diet. We should not engage in risky behaviors that may damage our spiritual health. We must maintain a humble awareness of our vulnerability. And we need to continue a close fellowship with our precious Lord. In what areas are you at risk for spiritual failure? Ask God to help you strengthen those areas against sin.
I am so thankful for my Garmin GPS. All I have to do is type in an address and it gives me turn by turn directions to get to my destination. It will tell me what lane to be in and the name of the street I am supposed turn at and even the distance I must travel in order to get to the next change in direction. If for some reason I miss a turn, it will give me new directions to get back on track. One more feature that is included is a little checkered flag that marks out my final destination. My Garmin has kept me from getting lost so many times when I am traveling in unfamiliar territory.
Getting to the checkered flag is our goal in the Christian life. The final destination for God’s people is arriving at the Father’s House. If we place our faith in Jesus Christ God’s Son we are assured a safe arrival in heaven. But until we get to that checkered flag we need to navigate in a world with confusing roads, dangerous curves and even a few dead ends. God not only assures us of a safe arrival in heaven He also helps us with the trip. 2 Thess. 3:5 tells us: “Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ”. Proverbs 3:5,6 encourages us with these words: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths”. God has not left us down here without proper navigation tools. We have the Word of God and the Spirit of God to help us steer our lives through the maze of decisions and choices we must make on a daily basis.
I wonder if we are trusting His wisdom, and acknowledging His rights to control our lives. If we turn over the steering wheel to our gracious Lord, we will not only arrive at the checkered flag, but we will also have the most wonderful God-directed trip you can imagine.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation