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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Luggage (08/15/05)

TITLE: Excess Baggage
By
08/19/05


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Most of us can recall many of the various sitcom episodes where the actors try to stuff as much as they can into a single piece of luggage or where the male-female ratio of “necessities” are about 7 to 1, requiring great skill on the part of the one who has to load up the vehicle and still have room for the passengers.

Excess baggage can be a real impediment to one’s progress in the post-salvation spiritual life. Excess baggage can involve both past accomplishments and failures if we allow either one to become a justification or an excuse for the lack of present productivity in our spiritual life.

Isaiah wrote, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past (Isa.43: 18 NIV).” Paul wrote, “…But one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead (Phil. 3: 13 NIV)”.

Neither Isaiah nor Paul, writing under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, was saying that the past does not count. All of the events, good and bad, are a part of who and what we were, are, and will be in the future.

The spiritual point that these writers were making is that excess baggage, that being anything we drag along that God does not intend for us to bear, is what we need to rid ourselves of as it serves no purpose other than to slow us down on the road to spiritual maturity.

It is only then, that we can “know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8: 32 NIV)” from all such forms of satanic bondage, yet retain the wisdom from all of these experiences that have contributed to us being what we are today.

The “truth” of John 8: 32 NIV is the eternal security of the soul. Until a believer comes to the point in his/her spiritual life that he/she knows that the issue of salvation has been addressed once and for all, he/she is destined to life of fear and intimidation from Satan and will inevitably enter into or return to some form of a “works” campaign in order to retain what cannot be lost.

Spiritual insecurity is a part of the load that Satan will try to stuff into our baggage that the Lord never intended for us to bear. As long we allow this to remain, we will also find the need to make room for all the works, guilt trips, and religion that comes along with our lack of faith in the completed work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

While the consequences of certain sins do not always go away, forgiveness for the sin is complete and final and soon as the sin is confessed (1John 1: 9). God has forgiven you, but don’t expect that to be the case with all people. There will always be those who will be there to remind you of all that you have done wrong. Contrary to the word of God (Prov.24: 17), many people “live for day” for the opportunity to do so! The emotional weight that such things can generate is a part of the excess baggage that God does not intend for us to bear.

Proverbs 6: 16-20 teaches that the sins of the mind are worse than the overt sins of the flesh. The ridicule by those who commit the sin of either judging or refusing to forgive may be a part of the consequences of sin that one may have to bear, but God will judge and deal with those persons in His way and in His timing. They will answer to God for needlessly bringing up sin(s) of others that He has already forgiven.

Remember the grace that God extended to you when He waited for you to confess and forsake your sin(s) is waiting for them to do the same. Allow the past to teach you, but don’t allow the past to become excess baggage.

In the spiritual life, every day becomes another opportunity to examine and discard all excess baggage and to get on with the rest of the post-salvation life that God has called you to. Don’t allow Satan, or those who would speak for him, to weigh you down with excessive baggage.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R) Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights reserved.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/26/05
Good teaching, effective use of Scripture.
Deborah Porter 09/01/05
Doug, as always, your writing is excellent teaching and I am delighted to say that your entry made it into what was a relatively small list of semi-finalists for the Luggage Challenge. You deserve a pat on the back (although I know you are likely to brush it aside), as this was probably our largest week for entries - so to make it into the semi-finals was really an achievement. Well done! With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)