You and I are going on a journey. Which way are you going? Are you going my way? Are you walking down the narrow path with me? What’s in your luggage? Everyone brings something. Did you pack your irritation, your self-loathing, your frustration? What about your hurt, your disappointment, or your disillusions? Frailties? Failures? Foolishness? Unforgiveness? Malice, anger, lust, lies, perverse thoughts, or actions? What about pride?
Everywhere we go, we take them with us. There are so many things we don’t just have a knapsack, we have a big rolling suitcase, with a matching case on top of that, plus a backpack strapped on it. Maybe, even we have a steamer trunk full. The bags bulge and rip open. Things inside begin to spill out. Out of the heart, the mouth speaks. See Matthew 15:19. If we are traveling on a narrow path, it will be difficult, even impossible, to carry it all. How about we take it somewhere, dump it all, and fill our backpack with lighter things.
You say, “But I don’t want to be exposed. I want to keep these in the suitcase where no one can find out my shortcomings, see me for who I really am, and judge me. I’ve had my name engraved on all my luggage, for Pete’s sake!”
Right. And we reflect all that we have inside us. Ouch! But it’s true. If we don’t take our issues out of the suitcase, they’ll never be dealt with, and we’ll never get the healing we need. I’m certainly not saying we need to shout them out for the world to hear or put them on display, but there is someone with whom you can speak to about them.
Frankly, if you don’t want anyone to know about them, you don’t have to tell anyone. But, someone already knows all your secrets, and He is ready to take them off your shoulders. It’s a pretty big collection of cases, an awful lot of awful stuff to carry about.
Let’s journey together to the place where we can be rid of all this unwanted, weighty baggage.
“Wait. Who knows all my secrets?”
The Father. But, to have any kind of relationship with the Father, you must seek out the Son. He is the only one who can take all those ugly things in our suitcases and deal with them so we can face the Father. Why? Because the Father is perfect, just, pure, right, holy, the righteous judge, He doesn’t allow the things in the first paragraph to be in His presence. And there’s no pulling the wool over His eyes. He searches us and knows us, He knows when we sit and when we rise, He perceives our thoughts from afar, He is familiar with all our ways. Before a word is on our tongues, He knows it. (See Psalm 139) But the Son is able to redeem us from our wretched state, relieving us of our disgusting baggage.
See, there were these two people, Adam and Eve. God created them and put them in this beautiful garden. They were perfect–made in the image of God to reflect His glory and character. They walked and talked with God every day. The garden was lush and in it was everything they needed. But, there was one tree in this paradise they weren’t allowed to eat from or even touch. It’s the only thing God didn’t permit them to have. This tree would open their eyes to wickedness, something they knew nothing about. It would bring them pain, something they had never felt. It would cause them to die, something they had never seen happen. So, God forbade them. Who knows how long they lived there without eating it–a few days or maybe millions of years. But one day, they did the very thing God told them not to do–they ate it. Eve and then Adam disobeyed. There, they fell short of God’s glory. And since then, we all have fallen short of His glory. God’s image and character became distorted in their eyes, motives, and actions.
With this first sin, man, for the first time, hid from God and feared him. There, death was released into the world–not just physical death but spiritual death as well. These two that never experience aging or disease would now grow old, get sick, and die. They also would not be able to experience God in the same way because their choice separated them from Him. God slaughtered an animal and made them garments. (Genesis 3:21) Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. (See Hebrews 9:22) God made the first sacrifice for man’s sin.
God subsequently ordained a sacrificial system. A perfect lamb sacrificed to Him would cover man’s wrongdoing. With this sacrifice, transgression would be forgiven. God’s wrath would not consume them until the next sin was committed. Another sacrifice would be needed, another spotless lamb without defect. There was no end to the perfect lambs to be slaughtered. But, when the right time in history came, God sent another lamb. The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. (See John 1:29) He could and did die, once, for all.
This Lamb, the Son of God, lived a perfect life. He never did anything wrong against God or against anyone else. His thoughts were pure, His motives right. When He sacrificed Himself on the cross for the sins of the world, He took on every sin. The Bible says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (See 2 Corinthians 5:21) He took on every disease, every hurt, every evil act and thought, of every person from Adam to each person born after that, including you and me. God made the last sacrifice for man. A sacrifice worthy to once and for all, atone for all the sin of mankind. We can now surrender all of our lives’ filthiness over to Jesus, for He died for it.
How? God knew the only option was to send His Son to do what no other person was able to do. Jesus was perfect, and God needed a perfect sacrifice. He had the answer to our condition. We were separated from His presence and Jesus dying in our place was the answer to bring us back to right standing with God.
This said, now all is right in the world, right? No. God did all the work, but sin is still prevalent. Jesus paid the price, but we must believe in faith that Jesus died for us. God even gives us faith to believe. We must agree with God that we have sinned and fallen short of His glory. We must repent–turn away from these evil things that keep us from a right relationship with God. We must confess that Jesus is God’s Son. Believe in His name and believe that the shedding of His blood is the only way to the Father. It seems like we have to ‘do’ a lot. No. We couldn’t earn it by trying to do good or be right. No one could ever be good enough, except for Jesus. But, Jesus has done it all for us. God even gives us a heart of flesh to replace our heart of stone and give us a new spirit. (See Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26) Our part is to believe in faith and surrender control to Him as Lord and Master of our lives.
You say you don’t want a master? Everyone has a master. We are all slaves of the devil and slaves to sin if we wish to be or not. But once we understand that, we can choose the master of life or the master of death. The thief (the devil) comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but Jesus comes to give life, abundant life. (See John 10:10) Oh, that we would choose life. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Once you choose the Son, the Father is accessible.
Some people didn’t grow up with a father figure. Some had one around, but he didn’t make himself available, or perhaps he was abusive. Others had a great dad who trained them well, played with them, disciplined them, and listened to them. I challenge you to think of the best father figure, all great character traits you would want in a father. Go ahead, take a pen, and write all those great traits down. Now, hands down, this Father is better. Let me tell you just a little bit about a Father who shines above all the rest.
Our Father is kind, loving, gracious, merciful, and slow to anger. He is always faithful, protective, and patient. He delights in you, has written your name in the palm of His hand, composes songs for you, and dances over you in joy. He collects your tears. He leads you, guides you, and directs your path. When there is a temptation, He gives you a way out. He corrects you in love. He shelters you, heals your diseases, forgives your sins–remembering them no more. He has numbered the hairs on your head, and his thoughts concerning you outnumber the sand on the seashore. His plan is perfect for your life. He has your best interest at heart. He created you for a purpose. He gives you talents, and he gives you spiritual gifts for that purpose. He chose you. He adopted you. He can give you His peace, comfort, strength, and joy. He wants a relationship with you. He wants to take you on the journey, and His Son, Jesus, says He’ll take your suitcase of unwanted baggage, your yoke of slavery and give you His yoke, which is easy and His burden, which is light. He will give you rest for your heart and soul, and He’ll renew your troubled mind. He’ll take you off the broad path that leads to death and guide you on the narrow road to life. Will you choose Jesus today? Come on this journey with me. This path is narrow, but we can help and encourage each other as we follow Him.